18th November 2021

To celebrate the launch of the seventh Children’s Grief Awareness Week (CGAW), Founder and Lifetime President of leading UK bereavement charity, Grief Encounter, has released ‘Grief Book’, an award-winning activity book for bereaved children and young people.

This year’s CGAW theme focusses on #saythewords, giving bereaved children the opportunity to give their grief a public voice. As part of the week, campaigners are calling for a renewed focus on the children who have lost a parent or carer during Covid-19, warning their plight has dwindled in the public consciousness as the pandemic desensitises us to loss and grief.

At least 10,000 children have been bereaved of a primary caregiver across the UK due to the pandemic according to research published in the Lancet in July 2021. And over 50,000 children have had a parent, guardian or carer die from other causes over the last 20 months.

Often referred to as ‘the forgotten mourners’, Dr Shelley Gilbert MBE hopes that Grief Book will help children and young people find a way to communicate their grief, and support them on their bereavement journey.

Grief Book, aimed primarily at 5-13 year olds, accompanies children and young people on the journey of grief following the death of someone special. The interactive workbook begins with coping mechanisms for the initial traumatic days and weeks following bereavement, and then explores the next stages in grief, to the journey of recovery. “Not only offering a space to interactively explore memories, emotions and challenges, Grief Book also creates a safe ‘container’ to store these thoughts and feelings so children can revisit them as they move forward carrying their loss with them.” Says Dr Gilbert.

“My aim for this interactive workbook is to encourage open conversations between adults and children about death, and help normalise and explore the difficult feelings young people may experience following bereavement, such as anger and guilt. There is also, within the multitude of activities and exercises within the book, the opportunity for children to find out more about their loved ones, facilitating the continuing of bonds into the future – which is such an important part of the grief process.”

Grief Book is designed to give a structured response to the grief journey, creating time to talk and think together but also to be set aside at other times, to allow children to get on with their everyday lives. In line with the launch of the book, CGAW’s theme of #saythewords is also focussed on allowing children the space to vocalise their feelings and encourage open conversations.

Children’s Grief Awareness Week is an initiative founded by Grief Encounter, in association with the Children’s Bereavement Network and partnering charities, designed to raise awareness of bereaved children and young people in the UK as a vulnerable group in society; and how providing those affected with free, professional support can make the world of difference to their future.


For more information and to request spokesperson comment, please contact our Press Officer:
07944 398 474

Find out more about Grief Encounter

Find out more about children’s Grief Awareness Week

Join schools across the UK and organise a Go Purple Day during Children’s Grief Awareness Week – 18th-25th November 2021.

Notes to Editors

Children’s Grief Awareness Week UK will be held from the 18th – 25th November 2021.

Children’s Grief Awareness Day @childgriefday was initiated in the US in 2008 by the Highmark Caring Place and has been taken up by organisations across the US and across the world.

Use our special hashtag #ChildrensGriefAwarenessWeek and #saythewords to talk to us, and to get conversations started on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Feel free to also use our CGAW logo and link to to show your support.

About the National Children’s Bureau
The National Children’s Bureau is a leading children’s charity working to build a better childhood for every child. We champion children’s right to be safe, secure and supported, by using evidence and our expert knowledge to influence government policy, and help practitioners to do the best job possible, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people.
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