I devoted my diploma thesis to the research on children’s perception of death and bereavement, and on the importance of children’s literature as one of the possible approaches for children to learn about death and grief. I have also tried to show that children’s literature can be of great help when loss actually occurs in the family.
The definition of grief, the general characteristics of bereavement, and the changes it brings are defined in the theoretical section. The process of children’s bereavement is explained in greater detail – from how they acknowledge death to the differences between the mourning of children and adults. I have also emphasized the importance of honesty when talking to children about death, and the importance of providing help when death occurs in the family, especially if there are difficulties in the mourning process. In the end, I also define a fairytale and its importance for children. Fairytales can be a great method for parents, or any professional who works with children, to use when trying to help a child to understand death, dying and grief.
The empirical section includes the research about existing children’s literature on death and bereavement, published in Slovenia after 1990, and consists of 5 hypotheses, which I have tried to prove. I have established that in Slovenia there is a relatively low number of children’s literature on this topic with regard to the diversity of contents. Especially if we would like to satisfy all the different needs of different children in different situations of distress. Nevertheless, the diploma thesis tries to provide a review of existing children’s books and literature on death/bereavement in Slovenia, which can be of help when planning to provide help or teach children about both – not only for the child’s parents but also for the professionals working with them.