Why Did You Die? Activities to Help Children Cope with Grief and Loss

Author(s): Erica Leeuwenburgh and Ellen Goldring


Death of a loved one is one of the most stressful events in adult life. For children, whose understanding of death is limited and who may not have the skills to cope with extreme emotion, death can be overwhelming.

Why Did You Die? offers exercises that help children understand death better; cope with sadness, anger, and fear; and develop self-care skills. Using an art therapy approach this book gives kids creative avenues to express their feelings and to heal from their loss. It starts with an informative section for parents or other adults about how grief in children differs from grief in adults. Then, it's the children's turn. The sensitive activities in Why Did You Die? demystify death, show them how to effectively express their feelings of grief, and recover from the loss. Different activities help the child express difficult feelings, separate myths from facts, and understand the finality of death. This direct yet non-threatening, secular approach will help children learn, grow & thrive. This book is appropriate for kids between the ages of six and twelve.


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Ellen Goldring, LPC, is a board-certified and registered art therapist and certified child life specialist. She is currently a supervisor of Child Life/Creative Arts Therapy Services at Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, NJ. She offers therapy for the children of adults with life-threatening illnesses and for medically ill patients and siblings, and has developed children's bereavement programming.

Erica Leeuwenburgh, LPC, is a licensed professional counselor, board-certified art therapist, and child life specialist. In 1987 she established a pediatric psychosocial program for children with the Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, NJ. This Child Life/Creative Arts Therapy program provides comprehensive psychosocial support services for infants, children, and adolescents with art, music, dance/movement, and drama therapists and child life specialists. Her clinical work focuses predominantly on hospitalized, chronically ill, or bereaved children and their parents, and children whose parents are critically ill. She is an assistant visiting professor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY where she has taught for more than 10 years. She lectures nationally and has published several articles.

General Fields

  • : 9781572246041
  • : New Harbinger Publications
  • : New Harbinger Publications
  • : June 2008
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Erica Leeuwenburgh and Ellen Goldring
  • : Paperback
  • : 2nd Revised edition
  • : 155.937083
  • : 130
  • : VS
  • : illustrations