Death is not a mere possibility but a certainty for all of us. Yet, today's society unrealistically portrays childhood as a time of unremittant joy and freedom. Unfortunately, the reality of life may suddenly bring children face to face with tragic circumstances such as the death of their pet, the terminal illness of their parent, their own struggle with life-threatening disease, the accidental death of their sibling, or the suicide of a friend. The gravity of any of these situations takes children beyond the innocence of childhood and plunges them into a world that is frightening and full of uncertainty. Unfortunately, our perceptions and attitudes toward death do not equip children with the tools to help them cope adequately with such overwhelming experiences.
Beyond the Innocence of Childhood is a collection of forty chapters which are divided into three separate volumes. The overall purpose of this series is to answer the question: How do we as educators, clinicians, other professionals, and parents help children and adolescents deal with threat to their lives, dying, death, and bereavement?
In this three volume set the editors have brought together a number of well-known educators, researchers, and practitioners who share their knowledge and expertise concerning the care and well-being of children and adolescents.
"No longer can anyone say that the topic of children's bereavement has been neglected. This three-volume work contains contributions from fifty different authors with diverse professional affiliations in the United States, Canada, and other countries. The comprehensive coverage, in forty chapters, represents a balanced focus on theory and on practical applications of theory to help bereaved and dying children and adolescents. The authors' sensitivity and compassion regarding the special needs of such children is truly commendable. Their respect for children and adolescents permeates each chapter, with the result that the reader repeatedly finds new ways to view death from the perspective of a developmental growth process and as a spiritual challenge. … The editors of these three volumes, David Adams and Eleanor Deveau, have made a contribution in correcting the imbalance of attention in the professional literature to the grief of children and adolescents. I applaud their intent and I will use selected chapters from each of the three volumes in teaching a Master's level course in Death and Dying. …I find much to recommend in these three volumes. …There is something for everyone here depending on the background and experience of different readers. … The stimulating presentations in these three volumes challenge the myth of the innocence of childhood and offer thoughtful guidance to all whose lives involve helping bereaved and dying children and adolescents."
—Nancy Boyd WEBB, DSW, Omega: The Journal of Death and Dying, Volume 40, Number 2
"In today's rapidly changing and complicated world, many children are brought face-to-face (sometimes precipitously) with the threats, ambiguities, and uncertainties associated with death, life-threatening illness, and bereavement. Increasingly parents and other adults need to rely on community specialists and others outside the family to guide them and their children as they struggle to cope with the stresses brought by these painful life circumstances. Adams and Deveau have brought together a wealth of information about the major death-related problems faced by children and adolescents today and the strategies adults can use to help young people respond favorably to the changes in their lives. These volumes are a valuable resource for anyone who works with children or adolescents."
—Jeanne Quint Benoliel, Professor Emeritus, School of Nursing, University of Washington, Seattle, WA