Katie the Ladybug: Explaining Emotions of Grief to a Child

by Jesse Roberts
(Boiling Springs, NC, United States of America)

Losing both of my parents at a young age (my mother when I was 4 and my father when I was 16) has given me a passion for helping bereaved children. I currently serve as a Grief and Bereavement Counselor for Hospice in Rutherford County, N.C., and recently published a children's book that I wrote as a part of the requirements for a Senior Exit Project I did in high school. I noticed from personal experience, a lack of resources on the topic - especially for young children, and decided to attempt to change that.

The book serves as a creative way to explain the emotions of grief to a child. Find below a link to the book, in addition to the summary located on the back of the book. "Katie the Ladybug: Explaining Emotions of Grief to a Child" has been endorsed by Dr. Kenneth Doka, Senior Consultant to the Hospice Foundation of America, and by Psychologist and Grief and Bereavement Researcher, Dr. Jackson Rainer.


"Katie the Ladybug: Explaining Emotions of Grief to a Child" is intended for young children who may have difficulty understanding the concepts of loss, grief, and the emotions that accompany these experiences. With the help of Katie and her family, adults can creatively explain these complex ideas to a child - ideas that may otherwise be more difficult to explain.

In the story, each of Katie's brothers and sisters experiences a different emotion as a result of her death. Children sometimes struggle to understand emotions because the tend to think only in concrete terms while struggling to think abstractly. With this in mind, each character has a different color scheme and facial expression that parallels with his or her emotion. For instance, Molly is sad because of Katie's death; therefore, she has blue dots, she is crying, and her facial expression illustrates her sadness. When explaining the concept of sadness to a child, you may explain that when we lose someone special, we may be sad, which is ok.

Katie's family will take you and your child through a journey of seven different emotions that may be experienced as a result of loss. At the back of this book you will find questions that will stimulate meaningful conversation about what has been read with your little one. If you recognize the need for further help in these difficult conversations, please contact your local Hospice organization or a counseling center near you! We hope Katie the Ladybug will serve as a helpful tool for you as you offer support to a child who needs you.

Link to Katie the Ladybug: Explaining Emotions of Grief to a Child -


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