Articles and Blogs

Katy B. Turner, “Small.”  A twelve-year-old reacts to her father’s death.

Tony Gambino, “My Philomena,” Slate, Feb. 25, 2014.  A man’s search for his birth mother, and his identity.

Jesse Wegman, “Dumbledore in the NICU,” The New York Times, May 9, 2014.  Moving words from a grandmother to the grandchild she will never meet.

Novels, Memoirs, and Poetry

James Agee, A Death in the Family. Beautiful, heartbreaking story of a sudden death.

Aharon Appelfeld, The Story of a Life.  Memoir by the Israeli writer, who as a child escaped from the Nazi occupiers of his native Ukraine.

Elizabeth Bowen, The House in Paris.  Two children encounter mysteries of the past when they meet in an old Paris house.

Albert Camus, The First Man.  Autobiographical novel of a fatherless boy growing up in Algeria.

Richard Ford, Canada.  Haunting story of a teenage boy whose future is in the hands of strangers when his parents are arrested.

James Hanley, Against the Stream. On his father’s death, a young boy is sent to the family of his mother, who had abandoned them both.

Louise Katz, Isobar.  Elegant, poignant poems on the loss of a mother.

Mary McCarthy, Memories of a Catholic Girlhood. Wrenching and illuminating autobiography of the writer, who lost both parents at the age of six in the influenza epidemic of 1918.

William Maxwell, They Came Like Swallows.  Exquisite novel of the impact of a mother’s death on a family.

Amos Oz, A Tale of Love and Darkness.  The coming-of-age of a nation, and of a boy and future writer whose troubled mother takes her own life.

Andrew Solomon, A Stone Boat.  Novel about a son and his mother, and about connection, loss, and identity.

Leo Tolstoy, “Childhood,” in Childhood, Boyhood, Youth.  Autobiographical first novel about a boy who discovers the world as he loses his beloved mother.


John Bowlby, Loss: Sadness and Depression.  The mourning of children is a major section of this third volume in landmark trilogy on attachment.

Kenneth J. Doka, Disenfranchised Grief: Recognizing Hidden SorrowEdited volume on instances where loss is not acknowledged, and the mourner does not feel a right to grieve.

Hope Edelman, Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss.  How losing a mother at an early age can affect a woman’s life.

Betty Jean Lifton, Journey of the Adopted Self: A Quest for Wholeness.  The search for identity and a sense of self.

Sherwin B. Nuland, How We Die: Reflections on Life’s Final Chapter.  A physician explores what happens at the end of life. 

Eileen Simpson, Orphans: Real and Imaginary.  The author traces her own life from the age of six and images of orphanhood in history and literature.


Broken Wings.  Children act out their grief in the aftermath of tragedy.

The Descendants.  A father and his two daughters react, as their wife and mother lies in a hospital, in a coma.

My Life as a Dog.  The world of a boy as his mother dies, and he is sent away.

Philomena.  A woman’s search for the son she was forced to give up as a teenager.

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