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What Happened to Daddy's Body?

What Happened to Daddy's Body?

Elke Barber | Alex Barber


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Book Details


My daddy died when I was (one...two...) three years old. Today we are out in the garden. It always makes me think about my daddy because he LOVED his garden. Sometimes, I wonder what happened to my daddy's body...

This picture book aims to help children aged 3+ to understand what happens to the body after someone has died. Through telling the true story of what happened to his daddy's body, we follow Alex as he learns about cremation, burial and spreading ashes. Full of questions written in Alex's own words, and with the gentle, sensitive and honest answers of his mother, this story will reassure any young child who might be confused about death and what happens afterwards. It also reiterates the message that when you have experienced the loss of a loved one, it is okay to be sad, but it is okay to be happy, too.

The simple explanations and quite lovely illustrations are highly reflective of the emotions that Alex must learn to deal with and this story, as well as its predecessor, will prove of real use to grieving families. Superb!
Healthy Books
Elke has once again captured what is needed for aiding bereaved children's understanding. Sensitive, caring and developmentally appropriate, this book is a fantastic resource for explaining what happens to a person's body after death. I'm sure it will help countless children and their caregivers with some of the most difficult questions.
Donna Hastings, Senior Bereavement Support Worker, Richmond's Hope Bereavement Project

Elke Barber's life changed in April 2009 when her husband Martin suffered a fatal heart attack. Aged only 34, she found herself a young widow and a single mum to two kids under four. A self-employed graphic designer and long-time lover of children's books, she decided to share their story to help others in similar situations. Using the conversations she had with her then three-year old son, together they wrote Is Daddy Coming Back in a Minute? and What Happened to Daddy's Body? - both published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. She is now happily remarried, a mum and step mum to seven children, soulmate to John and a public speaker who is passionate about improving the bereavement support for young children. If you want to find out more about Elke and her family, please visit

Alex Barber is now ten years old. He was only three when his daddy died. He misses him every day, and will never stop missing him. He loves Doctor Who and his favourite hobby is football. He helped his mum Elke write Is Daddy Coming Back in a Minute? and What Happened to Daddy's Body? by asking the many direct and difficult questions only a young child can ask. He calls his mum's new husband 'Dad' (not 'Daddy'!), and says he is lucky because he has two dads, only one of them can't be here.

This book will be a great resource for anyone wanting to answer a child's questions after a death, but who is having difficulty finding age-appropriate words. Elke writes from personal experience of talking with her own children and the openness of her approach comes through very clearly.
Helen Mackinnon, Director of SeeSaw, Grief Support for Children and Young People in Oxfordshire
Told sensitively, responding to Alex's questions from the personal experience of his daddy dying, this beautifully illustrated book explains cremation and burial clearly in age-appropriate language. It will help adults explain to young children what happens to the body after someone dies. I highly recommend it to individuals and professionals.
Dawn Hewitt, CEO, CHUMS Child Bereavement, Trauma and Emotional Wellbeing Service
There is a saying that if a child is old enough to ask a question, they are old enough to be given an answer. We need to protect our children with the truth in sensitive and caring ways. This book does exactly that, through thoughtful and expressive illustrations, augmenting a dialogue based on real conversations. Exploring and sharing this book again and again with your child will become part of your journey of healthy grieving.
Steve Sweeney, Director of Bereavement Support Sector Scotland, Child Bereavement UK