Book cover

Jillian Roberts' newest book helps parents talk to their children about death. (Submitted by Orca Book Publishers)

A child psychologist is helping parents tackle the difficult issue of talking to their kids about death with the help of a new book.

Jillian Roberts, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Victoria who owns a farm in Malpeque, released her new book What Happens When a Loved One Dies? in April. She said the book initially sold out in six weeks.

"It took a lot of thought and careful wording," she told CBC Radio's Island Morning.

"I thought about all the different children I had seen in my career who had dealt with the loss of a parent or a sibling or a friend or a pet, even, and I thought about the things that I said and the questions they asked and what was most helpful."

Helping kids process difficult topics

Robert said kids are exposed to "too much information" about death and violence on the internet, which means they can sometimes "make light of" or not take death as seriously as they should.

Jillian Roberts and son Jack Roberts

Author Jillian Roberts [pictured with her son Jack] says there is too much information about death online that can influence how the subject affects youth. (Jillian Roberts)

Another challenge facing parents, she said, is answering questions about violent events in the news.

"I think just the climate of the world with gun shootings and terrorism, there's a great deal of interest in helping children process those difficult topics."

Roberts said parents need a source of information to help guide them in talking to their kids about death.

Roberts is also the author of Where Do Babies Come From: Our First Talk About Birth. She plans upcoming books on diversity and equality as well as divorce.  

With files from Island Morning