Updated: Jun 21, 2021
It’s no secret that children’s books are incredible tools to introduce tough topics, start complex conversations, and help children navigate their emotions. As part of our ongoing efforts to help caregivers address children’s social-emotional needs in this unpredictable time, our team recently released a digital book entitled Mia and Her Fish.
In this story, Mia is faced with the death of her pet fish. Though explaining death is a very difficult task, Mia’s mom acknowledges Mia’s feelings, supports her agency in choosing the coping strategies that work for her, and helps Mia work through her grief.
Mia and Her Fish concludes with a tips section for caregivers to better support children’s understanding of death, help children process big feelings physically, emotionally and cognitively, and consider a range of activities to help children mourn and remember their loved ones. We keep in mind that all cultures have their own traditions and rituals when it comes to mourning and remembrance. For families, finding ways to incorporate culture into a child’s experience of mourning can deepen a child’s sense of pride in their heritage, an important protective factor in navigating loss. For educators, understanding, respecting, and connecting with families’ practices and beliefs around death is key to providing meaningful support.
A ParentCorps teacher in Corpus Christi, Texas, shared her experience bringing Mia and Her Fish into the classroom:
"[My co-teacher and I] thought the students were really engaged and enjoyed the way the conversation flowed even though it was a tough/sad concept," she said. "I noticed that the students were talking about the concept and the book with each other for the rest of the day. They even started a conversation with our lunch monitor about death/loss. [My co-teacher] and I were able to reflect on the lesson together this morning and both brought up how we were nervous… but ended up being pleasantly surprised and how smoothly it went!”
You can access Mia and her Fish in our library, along with the entire ParentCorps digital book collection.