What does dead mean?


A Book for Young Children to Help Explain Death and Dying 

by Jenni Thomas OBE & Caroline Jay; illustrated by Unity-Joy Dale

What Does Dead Mean? is a beautifully illustrated book that guides children gently through the ‘big’ questions they often ask about death and dying

  • ‘Why did mum have to die?‘
  • 'Where do dead people go?' 
  • ‘Will my dead brother get better again?’ 

Questions are answered simply, truthfully and clearly to help adults explain to children what happens when someone dies. The book, encourages children to explore the concept of death by talking about it, drawing or painting what they think or feel about the questions and answers.

Suitable for children aged 4+, this is an ideal book for parents and carers to read with their children, as well as teachers, therapists and counsellors working with young children.


Jenni Thomas OBE, is widely recognised in the UK as a leading authority in grief support and education. She founded the Child Bereavement Charity, and is Patron of the Angus Lawson Memorial Trust and Rosie’s Rainbow Fund. Jenni has over 40 years’ hands on professional counseling experience supporting grieving families and children. 

Caroline Jay founded and runs the Seeds of Hope Children’s Garden, a national charity which aims to promote the use of nature in helping children manage loss. For twelve years she ran a SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society) group, supporting families who have lost babies.


"At last, a book that really answers the questions or fears a child may have about death. I would recommend this to any parent who, like me, wonders how they will support their child through the death of a loved family member, friend, or even pet. I will have it waiting on our shelf and hope that schools will snap it up as a fantastic ‘information’ book for teachers to use and children to access in the school library."  Gabby Hails-Smith, parent

"Children’s questions are a window to their souls and a mirror to their inner thoughts and feelings. This important book allows caring adults to acknowledge and explore these questions with children in a sensitive and informed way. I highly recommend What Does Dead Mean? for anyone who aspires to create a meaningful dialogue with children about death." Linda Goldman, author of Children Also Grieve and Life and Loss: A Guide to Helping Bereaved Children.

NHSRosie's Rainbow Angus Lawson Memorial Trust Bucks New University