Don’t tell the children – new book hopes to reach adults too

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Former NAFD President John Adams has teamed up with children’s books author Clare Shaw to produce a new book to encourage wider discussion of death, dying and bereavement called Don’t tell the children.

A fourth generation funeral director at Perry & Phillips Funeral Directors in Bridgnorth, John Adams is an NAFD tutor, an advisor to Child Bereavement UK, and the host of popular podcast Death: A Changing Industry, which has a growing audience on YouTube and the popular podcast platforms.

He has also campaigned tirelessly over the last few years to see school children taught about death, dying and bereavement, drawing very much on his own experience of losing his mother at the age of 12.

Author and publisher Clare Shaw, who publishes books to help children with grief, loss and bereavement and recently raised £11,000 in order to place books in schools across the UK, explains how the collaboration came about:

“John approached me last October with an idea for a book. He wanted to work on something that truly complements his passion to get death, dying and bereavement onto the national curriculum, something to encourage people to talk more openly about death. I was on board immediately!

“Although the book started as a way to help children, it soon became apparent that, in order to do that, we had to get the adults talking too. As well as offering the emotional tools needed when someone dies, it also gives practical advice to help immediately following a death and in arranging a funeral. Something that many people have to learn very quickly when it happens to them. If we can get people thinking about this prior to experiencing it, it would make things a lot easier when the inevitable happens.

“During one of our conversations, John mentioned a couple of questions he’d been asked by people arranging a funeral for the first time. This sparked an idea to add a Q&A section to the book to cover all the things that people might want to know but don’t know how to ask, things that people may deem to be silly questions, or even things they may not have thought of that could prove useful. For example, ‘Can I bring a pet to a funeral?’.

“On the whole, the book offers practical advice on dealing with grief, both for adults and children, what to do when someone dies, encouragement to discuss your wishes with family and guidance for professionals working with children. This book is for everyone.”

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