The Goodbye Book
by Todd Parr

Saying goodbye is hard, especially when you’re a child. This simple story from Todd Parr, helps children understand and process their feelings of grief when they are separated from someone they love.

Fish has lost his best friend and he knows that he won’t see him again. An unseen narrator talks to him gently about how this might make him feel.

He learns that sadness and anger are totally normal emotional responses and he may also want to quietly hide himself away. Eating and sleeping may seem impossible and he may even try to pretend that nothing has happened at all. But eventually the cloud will lift and he will  cherish all the special times he had with his friend. He’ll inevitably still have up and down days but he will be able to move forward and life will start to feel good again.

Throughout, the narrator encourages Fish to talk to others about he is feeling and reassures him that someone will always be there to support him.

So many books about grief use emotive language and a muted palette to convery a sense of sadness, but this one is completely different. Although we can see that Fish is sad, the pages are brighty coloured and the text is uplifting. There are even tiny moments of humour in the illustrations as we see Fish lying on a bed, painting a picture or sitting at a table laden with food. These elements, combined with the simple age appropriate language, make it perfect for preschoolers.

Although ideal for talking about bereavement, the story doesn’t actually mention death so it could be used to comfort a child experiencing any form of long term separation.

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