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In 2013 in the UK, one in every 137 babies was either stillborn or died in the first 4 weeks of life

Here in N. Ireland, over 3 babies a week are stillborn or die in the first 4 weeks of life.

We support all bereaved parents who have lost their babies, before, during or shortly after birth.

Reading List


There is a wide range of books that have been written about the death of a baby. We have tried to list as many as we can on the following pages in the hope there will be something to suit everyone's needs. We have listed books published by Sands and a wide selection that are available to order on Amazon. Most good book shops should also stock them or be able to order them for you.

Any books recommended by Sands NI members are highlighted as recommended.

If you have read a book, even if it is a novel, that you have found helpful and we have not listed it here, please forward details of the book to support at sandsni dot org and we will be happy to add it to the list.

Sands publications

Sands produces several books which are listed below.

To place an order, please download an order form (pfd) or contact Sands Head Office.

Sands Head Office
28 Portland Place
Tel: 020 7436 7940
Fax:020 7436 3715
Email:support at uk-sands dot org

A Candle for Lisa
By Debbie Ruskin
Lisa Ruskin was born prematurely with serious heart defects. As her mother Debbie recovered consciousness from the emergency Caesarean Section, she was pressed to give consent to switch off Lisa’s life support machine. She later learned that Lisa’s organs had been retained by the hospital. In this sad but ultimately up-lifting book, Debbie tells of her fight to discover the truth about what happened to herself and Lisa, and of her own struggle to overcome her grief. By sharing her moving story with other parents and health professionals, Debbie hopes some good will come from Lisa’s tragic death.

A Star for Bobby
By Helen Keenor
This is a book which talks directly to young children, using language and illustrations they can understand, about the death of a brother or sister, explaining why sometimes these things happen and how this may be making them feel. When Helen Keenor’s baby son, Toby, died shortly after birth, she wanted to explain to her 2 year old daughter Harriet what had happened in a way a little girl could understand. Having searched for a book that would help, Helen, a primary school teacher, decided to write and illustrate a book herself. A Star for Bobby tells the story of a family of birds. One of the newly hatched birds, Bobby, is sick and soon dies. Bobby is buried and his brother and sister, on going to bed that evening, look up at the night sky to see a star shining especially brightly, Bobby’s star. The story lets children know that it isn’t their fault their brother or sister died and that it is all right to feel sad and to say that they are.

Fathers Feel Too
By Andrew Don
When Andrew Don’s baby Lara Jean died at five months in the womb, the hospital consultant sent his wife a condolence letter which didn’t mention him. Andrew felt like a non-person. He writes “Lara Jean was my baby too. I’d read the books and seen the movie. I was prepared for fully-fledged fatherhood and had signed up for the full deal.” But Andrew felt his intense grief was not taken seriously, that he was expected to take it in his stride. Seven years on he turned his experience into a book telling the stories of 10 men who have lost babies either during pregnancy, at birth or during the first year of life. “I wanted to do something specially for men, many of whom still think society requires them to have a stiff upper lip and hold it all together for their partner. Women are encouraged to ‘let it all out’. Men, less so. I wanted to tell them, it’s okay to cry, it’s fine to head-butt the wall, you’re allowed to give yourself space to crumble - yes, men are allowed to feel too.” In this book Andrew’s story and the stories of nine other fathers together describe the raw grief of bereavement, and also how several years on, they have found a way to live again.

Living with Leo
By Mario Di Clemente
Leonardo Di Clemente was born on 27th January 2003 and died the following day. Leo’s father, Mario, has written movingly of his experience of prospective fatherhood and the distress of bereavement. Twelve letters written over a year, from a father to his son, tell the story of Mario’s life with Leo: of the excitement and anticipation, the grief and loss, and perhaps most important of all, the emergence of strength and hope. The letters are intensely personal and yet universal too, and will strike a chord with any parent who has endured the devastating death of a baby.

Miscarriage: Women’s Experiences and Needs
By Christine Moulder
This sympathetic and helpful book explores the many different ways in which women physically experience miscarriage and emotionally react to it. Every aspect of miscarriage is covered, including difficult issues that are often avoided. The book also provides good practical guidelines for professionals, based on what women themselves say they find helpful

When a Baby Dies, The experience of late miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death
By Nancy Kohner and Alix Henley
This sensitive informative book offers a lifeline to bereaved parents and their families and is essential reading for every professional who comes into contact with parents after the death of their baby. Using letters from and interviews with bereaved parents, the authors have written a book which offers understanding of what it means for a baby to die and the grief that follows. When A Baby Dies also contains valuable information on causes of death, hospital practices, sources of support and the care parents need in future pregnancies.

Understanding Pregnancy Loss: Perspective and Issues in Care
By Christine Moulder

Primarily aimed at healthcare professionals, this book is based on original research. It provides an insight into women’s experiences of their care following a stillbirth, miscarriage or termination of pregnancy as well as the views and experiences of the significant professionals who provided that care.

For more information on all Sands Publications, please visit the Sands Online Shop at and click on Sands Shop

Books for children

Remembering My Brother (Children's & Educational)
by Ginny Perkins (Author), Leon Morris (Photographer)

Lucy's Baby Brother
by Althea Hayton (Author), J. Farrell (Illustrator)
The story of Lucy's baby brother who dies, aged one day old.

All Shining in the Spring: The Story of a Baby Who Died
by Siobhan Parkinson (Author), Donald Teskey (Illustrator)
Written by the author to help her own son cope with the death of their new baby at birth, All Shining in the Spring is a childcentred, simply written book. It is intended to give a child a clear and sympathetic understanding of the death of a baby, be it a family member or not, and to deal with the feelings and questions which such a death raises.

Sad Isn't Bad: A Good-grief Guidebook for Kids Dealing with Loss (Elf-Help Books for Kids)
by Michaelene Mundy (Author), Robert W. Alley (Illustrator)

Help Me Say Goodbye: Activities for Helping Kids Cope When a Special Person Dies
by Janis Silverman (Author)
An art therapy and activity book to help children cope with the death of a special person. Includes exercises to address the questions and fears children may have.

Helping Children Cope with the Loss of a Loved One: A Guide for Grown Ups
by William C. Kroen (Author), Pamela Espeland (Editor)
Describes what children understand about death and how they grieve, and shares practical advice on answering their questions and helping them work through the grieving process.

My Book About Our Baby That Died
by Lynda Weiss (Author), Bob Graham (Illustrator)

Beginnings and Endings with Lifetimes in Between: Beautiful Way to Explain Life and Death to Children (Liftimes)
by Bryan Mellonie (Author), Robert Ingpen (Author)
A book which aims to help parents and teachers explore the subjects of life and death with young children.

What on Earth Do You Do When Someone Dies?
by Trevor Romain (Author), Elizabeth Verdick (Author)
Describes the overwhelming emotions involved in dealing with the death of a loved one and discusses how to cope with such a situation.

Gentle Willow: A Story for Children About Dying
by Joyce C. Mills (Author), Cary Pillo (Illustrator)
Written for children who may not survive their illness or for the children who know them, this tale helps address feelings of disbelief, anger, and sadness, along with love and compassion. Amanda and Little Tree discover that their friend Gentle Willow isn't feeling very well.

I Miss You: First Look at Death (First Look at Books)
by Pat Thomas (Author)

Saying Goodbye to a Brother or Sister (Saying Goodbye to)
by Nicola Edwards (Author)
This series helps support children undergoing the difficult and upsetting stages of bereavement through understanding the natural process of emotions that result from the loss of a loved one. Each volume features a reference section containing helpful lists of addresses and organisations.

Michael Rosen's Sad Book
by Michael Rosen (Author), Quentin Blake (Illustrator)

Muddles, Puddles and Sunshine: Your Activity Book to Help When Someone Has Died
by Winston's Wish (Author), Kate Sheppard (Illustrator)
Offering practical and sensitive support for bereaved children, this book suggests a helpful series of activities and exercises accompanied by the friendly characters of Bee and Bear. It aims to help children make sense of their experience by reflecting on different aspects of their grief.

Books for adults

Miscarriage: What Every Woman Needs to Know
by Hesley Regan
It looks at causes of miscarriage and offers advice on future pregnancies.
recommended by Sophia Cross (Crossgar)

Safe in the Arms of God: Truth from Heaven about the Death of a Child
by John McArthur
recommended by Kerry Kerr (Craigavon)

Some Party in Heaven: Through Trauma and Tragedy to Ultimate Triumph
by Noel Davidson
recommended by Kerri Kerr (Craigavon)

A Silent Sorrow: Pregnancy Loss - Guidance and Support for You and Your Family
by Ingrid Kohn, Perry-Lynn Moffett and Isabelle A Wilkens
recommended by Cathy and Colin Pidgeon (Dundonald)
We both found this book useful in helping us understand our grief. It's comprehensive and is sensitively written.

Trying Again: A Guide to Pregnancy After Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Loss
by Ann Douglas and John r. Sussman
It initially explains causes of miscarriages and stillbirth and then moves on to look at preparing for another pregnancy and then takes you through each stage of pregnancy from finding out to birth and then after. It is full of people's experiences and what emotions you might feel at different stages.
Recommended by Sophia Cross (Crossgar)

Through My Eyes
by Gordon Smith
Gorgon Smith works as a medium in order to bring healing to people who are devastated and immobilised by grief. Helping the bereaved to realise that their loved one's existence has not ended at the point of death, is what drives this extraordinary man.
Recommended by Cathy O'Hagan (Belfast)

Worst Loss: How Families Heal from the Death of a Child
by Barbara D Rosof (Author)

Pregnancy After a Loss: A Guide to Pregnancy After a Miscarriage, Stillbirth or Infant Death
by Carol Cirulli Lanham
A guide to getting pregnant after a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death explores the practical and emotional issues surrounding this issue.

Life Touches Life: A Mother's Story of Stillbirth and Healing
by Christiane Northrup (Foreword), Lorraine Ash (Author)

The Lone Twin: Understanding Twin Bereavement and Loss
by Joan Woodward

Facing the Ultimate Loss: Coping with the Death of a Child
by Robert J. Marx and Susan Wengerhoff Davidson

Grieving the Child I Never Knew: A Devotional Companion for Comfort in the Loss of Your Unborn or Newly Born Child
by Kathe Wunnenberg

A Grief Unveiled: One Father's Journey Through the Loss of a Child
by Gregory Floyd

What Forever Means After a Death of a Child: Transformed by the Death of a Child (The Series in Trauma & Loss)
by Kay Talbot

How to Survive the Loss of a Child
by Catherine M. Sanders
A guide to bereavement following the death of a child. Explains the five stages of grief--shock, awareness of loss, conservation/withdrawal, healing, and renewal--and offers parents advice on rebuilding their lives.

Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby
by Deborah L. Davis

An Empty Cradle, a Full Heart: Reflections for Mothers and Fathers After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Infant Death by Christine O'Keeffe Lafser

Silent Birth
by Sharon N. Covington
'Silent Birth' is intended for couples who have lost a baby at birth or whose child is born with a terminal birth defect. Sharon Covington is a clinical social worker and psychotherapist and lectures widely on the needs of such bereaved families.

Always Precious in Our Memory: Reflections After Miscarriage, Stillbirth or Neonatal Death (Grief Resources)
by Kristen J. Ingram

Unspeakable Losses: Healing from Miscarriage, Abortion, and Other Pregnancy Loss
by Kim Kluger-Bell

Loss and Bereavement in Childbearing
by Rosemary Mander

Stillbirth: Causes, Care and Strategies for Prevention, An Issue of Clinics in Perinatology: 33 (The Clinics: Internal Medicine)
by Jason Gardosi and Frederik Froen

When Your Baby Dies: Through Miscarriage or Stillbirth (Hope & Healing)
by Louis A. Gamino, Ann Taylor Cooney, HUNTLEY, and KLUG
The loss of a baby is one of the most acute losses a person can experience. In this helpful book, Louis A. Gamino and Ann Taylor Cooney address both miscarriage and stillbirth and the grief implications of each. They offer comfort to mothers, fathers, and families who must find ways to recognise their bond with the child who died and then move forward with their lives.

One Small Blessing
This is one mother's heart-rending and tragic account of dealing with loss and learning to live again.