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#RCN100 Celebrating 100 years of the Royal College of Nursing

Waterbugs and dragonflies

Doris Stickney

Doreen Crawford, Consultant editor, Nursing Children and Young People, RCNi

Reason you chose this book

This story has enhanced my practice. I have used it with the permission of the parents as a way of explaining death to young children (from various faiths) who found it calming and reassuring. I have also used it with finger puppets and a colourful gauze dragonfly during grief work with siblings.


This is a beautifully written book and is quite spiritual. The book uses an analogy of life cycle and change. In this case a dragonfly larva (the waterbug) has a short life under water, in one form and then is altered as the larva pupates to emerge as a dragonfly. The short story addresses quite difficult issues simply; the language used lends itself to vocal animation and to the situation. The story can be told quietly or with energy. The book evokes visual imagery for example the central character bursts into a world of bright sunshine. Inspirational!

July's page turners

Read all of July's book reviews.