64 Children’s Books About Death and Grief

64 Things 64 Things : Litsa Williams


When grief hits a family, children often become the focus – how to talk to them about death, how to recognize if they are grieving ‘normally’, how to create open communication and dialogue. etc.  When we ask adults what they need in their grief often their first response is what they need for their children.  We have number of articles on WYG offering this type of support.  We have posts on the impact of age on understanding, on grief journals and workbooks for kids, on the risks of using euphemisms, on art activities for grieving kids, on art activities for grieving kids and adults, on talking to kids about suicide, an activity book for kids after a suicide, on holiday activities for kids, and more holiday activities for kids.  We also have an article reminding you why it is important to take care of yourself in order to better care for the children in your life.   But one thing that we don’t have is a list of kids books about death and grief, despite the fact that we get asked about this fairly often.

We have talked about journal, activity and workbooks for kids, but sometimes a story is the best way to open a dialogue.  Often reading a story can help kids know they are not alone and normalize what they are experiencing.  It can offer a safe way to open a dialogue with children about death and grief, in groups, as a family, or one-on-one.  So today, here it is!  We have a list of 64 children’s books about grief.  As with all of our ’64 things’ lists, we know this is not an exhaustive list.  Please add your favorites in the comments.  The books are primarily for the 10 and under crowd but, rest assured, a list of 64 Young Adult novels about grief is on the horizon.

1. Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children (kids 5+)

2.The Invisible String (kids 3+)

3. Everett Anderson’s Goodbye (Reading Rainbow)  (kids 5-8)

4. The Tenth Good Thing About Barney (kids 6-9)

5. I’ll Always Love You (kids 3-7)

6. When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death (Dino Life Guides for Families) (kids 4-8)

7. I Miss You: A First Look at Death (First Look at Books) (kids 4+)

8. The Saddest Time (kids 6-9)

9. Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss  (kids 8+)tear soup

10. The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages (kids 4+)

11. Gentle Willow: A Story for Children About Dying (kids 4+)

12. Where Are You? A Child’s Book About Loss (kids 4-8)

13. Samantha Jane’s Missing Smile: A Story About Coping With the Loss of a Parent (kids 5+)

14. The Scar (kids5-9)

15. A Terrible Thing Happened (kids 4+)

16. The Elephant in the Room: A Childrens Book for Grief and Loss (kids 4+)

17. The Boy Who Didn’t Want to Be Sad (kids 4+)  elephant in the room

18. I Wish I Could Hold Your Hand…: A Child’s Guide to Grief and Loss (Little Imp Books) (kids 9+)

19. Water Bugs and Dragonflies: Explaining Death to Young Children (kids 4+)

20. When Your Grandparent Dies: A Child’s Guide to Good Grief (Elf-Help Books for Kids) (kids 5+)

21. Someone I Love Died (kids 4-8)

22. What Happened When Grandma Died? (kids 4+)

23. Always and Forever (kids 4+)

24. Badger’s Parting Gifts (kids 4-8)

25. Ghost Wings (kids 5+)

26. Finding Grandpa Everywhere: A Young Child Discovers Memories of a Grandparent (kids 7+)

27. The Grandpa Tree (kids 3+)nana upstairs

28. Sad Isn’t Bad: A Good-Grief Guidebook for Kids Dealing with Loss (Elf-Help Books for Kids) (kids 6+)

29. Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs (Picture Puffins) (kids 4-8)

30. Daddy, Up and Down: Sisters Grieve the Loss of Their Daddy (kids 4-8)

31. Saying Goodbye to Daddy (kids 4+)

32. The Angel with the Golden Glow: A Family’s Journey Through Loss and Healing (kids 4+)

33. Where’s Jess: For Children Who Have a Brother or Sister Die (kids 3-6)

34. A Taste of Blackberries (kids 8-12)

35. Bridge to Terabithia (kids 8-12)

36. My Grandson Lew (kids 4-6)

37. Aarvy Aardvark Finds Hope: A Read Aloud Story for People of All Ages About Loving and Losing, Friendship and Hope (as the title says, people of all ages!)

38. The Empty Place: A Child’s Guide Through Grief (Let’s Talk) (kids 5-10)

39. Dancing on the Moon (kids 3+)  sammy in the sky

40. Lost and Found: Remembering a Sister (kids 6+)

41. Stacy Had a Little Sister (A Concept Book) (kids 4+)

42. Ragtail Remembers: A Story That Helps Children Understand Feelings of Grief (kids 4+)

43. Goodbye Mousie (kids 4-8)

44. Remembering Crystal (kids 3+)

45. Rudi’s Pond (kids 5-8)

46. The Memory String (kids 4-8)

47. Sammy in the Sky (kids 4-8)

48. Where Do People Go When They Die? (kids 3-8)

49. Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories (kids 3-8)

50. Her Mother’s Face (kids 4-8)

51. Remembering Mama (kids 4+) her mother

52. Old Pig (Picture Puffin) (kids 3-8)

53. Pearl’s Marigolds for Grandpa (kids 3-7)

54. Saying Goodbye to Lulu (kids 3-6)

55. The Mountains of Tibet (kids 7+)

56. Rabbityness (kids 3-7)

57. I Wish I Could Hold Your Hand…: A Child’s Guide to Grief and Loss (Little Imp Books) (kids 9+)

58. Can You Hear Me Smiling?: A Child Grieves a Sister (kids 8+)

59. The Copper Tree (kids 5-8)

60. Everybody Feels Sad (kids 4+)

61. Grief is Like a Snowflake (kids 4+)

62. My Baby Big Sister: A Book for Children Born Subsequent to a Pregnancy Loss (kids 4-8)

63. Ladder to the Moon (kids 4-8)

64. Missing Mommy: A Book About Bereavement (kids 3-8).

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40 Comments on "64 Children’s Books About Death and Grief"

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  1. Rea  March 5, 2015 at 11:21 pm Reply

    The Little Prince (kids ~8+)

  2. Marty Tousley (@GriefHealing)  March 6, 2015 at 11:01 pm Reply

    I’ve added a link to your list at the base of my own post on a similar topic, Litsa: “Using Children’s Books to Help With Grief,” https://bit.ly/w4PFMh

    • Teana Tache  November 16, 2016 at 2:59 pm Reply

      Thank you for this amazing list of books to assist children through the grieving process. If it is ok, I too would like to add a link to your list. http://www.foureverafter.com

  3. Teresa TL Bruce  March 7, 2015 at 1:22 pm Reply

    Thanks for providing this list of grief-related books for children. Kids’ grief is sometimes overlooked. I remember how much it meant to my daughters when my mother’s hospice nurse gave them a book of their own after their grandma died. Reading it (over and over) wasn’t easy for me, but it was healing for them.

    (I’ve added a link to this post on my resources page: https://tealashes.com/other-helpful-resources/)

  4. Marvin Petsel CT  June 4, 2015 at 6:30 pm Reply

    Thanks for putting this list on the web. I am sure it will be very helpful to many. I would like my wife’s book considered as well. It is called “Remembering Grandma’s Hugs.”
    It can be found at http://www.embers4growth.com

  5. Colleen Bonadonna  January 11, 2016 at 12:28 pm Reply

    Good Grief, a Child’s Grieving Process by Chad Bonadonna (my son) is targeted to elementary children. All proceeds go to KidzNGrief, a bereavement program in Virginia. Where he particpated after the death of his father and now is a facilitator.

  6. Manette  February 4, 2016 at 10:26 am Reply

    Oh man, Bridge to Terabithia! I first read that book in elementary school for a class (before my friend died) and it had no effect on me. I reread it in high school, after the death of my friend and I was an emotional wreck. I started crying even before the “big bad” happens (don’t want to spoil in case anyone hasn’t read it yet). Now I cry every time I read it. It’s amazing what a new context can do to a person.

  7. Juztice  April 3, 2016 at 8:04 pm Reply

    Her Mother’s Face ~ Roddy Doyle
    I purchased this last week for my 9 year old niece who lost her mammy (my sister) four weeks ago.
    It was only £2.99 and the best money I have ever spent. It’s age appropriate, beautifully written with Roddy Doyle’s wit shining through too and the illustrations are fab.

  8. Kacy  April 11, 2016 at 4:49 pm Reply

    I haven’t had a chance to read a lot of these books only a few but I absolutely loved The Invisible String, it really did help my best friend to explain to her daughter about the lost of her friend and how they are always connected and loved. Please keep your list of books going dealing with this issue. Here is a list of some really good ones on death as well https://www.bestchildrensbooksreviews.com/5-best-childrens-books-about-death-that-kids-will-understand/

  9. Christy Weeks  August 3, 2016 at 11:00 pm Reply

    WHY are there so few books for teens?? We are opening a Grief Center in our community and resources for this age (12 and up) is hard to find. I’m referring for reading material for them NOT about them. There are an abundance of books to choose from for young children.

    • Eleanor  August 3, 2016 at 11:44 pm Reply

      Hey Christy,

      You’re right, there are far fewer books written for teenagers about grief than there are children’s books. The younger teen years are really the gap in my mind, as older teenagers grieve in many of the same ways that adults do. We do have a post that discusses a few books for teens that you can read here. There are far fewer on this list (six). My go-to recommendation is always the Chill and Spill journal from Art with Heart for any teen who might be open to journaling/art-journaling. I’ll also point out that there are quite a few young adult novels that tackle topics like the death of a family member or friend.

      Beyond that I would recommend opening your resource list up to include online resources. Websites and blogs may appeal to teens for obvious reasons and there are a few sites geared specifically towards teenagers. You should check out these sites in particular Hello Grief; Slap’d; Too Damn Young; The Dougy Center

      Good luck!
      Eleanor

  10. Sonja  August 7, 2016 at 1:35 am Reply

    There’s a beautifully illustrated book out called “Ida Always” by Carol Levis. It’s a real life story about Ida and Gus, two polar bears in Central Park. Ida got sick and died and we see how Gus dealt with her illness and death. It’s sensitively written and the illustrations are gorgeous. I bought a copy for each of my grandchildren towards the end of my husband’s (their “Opa”) life recently. After he died, my granddaughter (7) called me one night on Face Time and said, “Oma, I’m going to read you a story” and proceeded to read “Ida Always” to me. “We have good memories of Opa, just like Gus did with Ida,” she said! I’m going to get my own copy of the book too!

    • Rea Ginsberg  August 7, 2016 at 1:09 pm Reply

      Sounds like a very good book, Sonja!! I will look for it. If the children themselves like it so much, it must be worth having! Thanks! — And very best to you as you make your way thru grieving, back to a new and higher level of life balance.

  11. Jennifer Kozich  January 23, 2018 at 3:59 pm Reply

    Please check out Grandma’s Wings, a book which discusses the topic of a child grieving for a grand parent that they never got the chance to meet. A very heartwarming story. Grandmaswings.com

  12. Peggy Pollock  February 26, 2018 at 10:37 am Reply

    I’m looking for one I read to my girls years ago. Very plain cover and can’t remember the title or author. It was about a seashore animal that left it’s shell behind and moved to a new one, but it related it to people leaving their “shell” behind but the real them still living on. I would love to find this book again. Thanks!

  13. Angie bradley  April 3, 2018 at 7:44 pm Reply

    “I wonder what you do on your first day in heaven” by phoebe welsh is a great open ended, simple book about “a child” the gets sick and dies and simply asks questions about what heaven is like. And beautifully illustrated!

  14. Heidi Wolf  April 12, 2018 at 6:17 pm Reply

    adding another “Stay- a girl, a Dog and a Bucket List” the death of the young girls best friend is implied at the end, but its a beautifully written and illustrated book!

  15. Sara  May 4, 2018 at 10:16 am Reply

    I am looking for a book for a 10 year old on the death of both parents. Does anyone have suggestions?
    Most books are about the death one only one parent.

  16. Tayler Rinehart  July 24, 2018 at 1:07 pm Reply

    A true story of love and loss … Sometimes there is nothing more that can be done for our loved ones battling illness. In this beautiful book, Goodbye Horse, horse and companion discover the true meaning of their relationship, the strength to fight the battle, and the heartbreak and pain of letting go.

  17. Chas Vanden  November 16, 2018 at 8:22 pm Reply

    As a parent of two daughters who have lost their father and also as a funeral director, I have researched and read endless grief books for children. “A New Leash on Life: A remedy for healing after loss” by Donna Kutzner is by far the best I have read, (and my children have come leaps and bounds after reading it). It is a story that also has small workbook parts children can complete. Again, highly recommended!!

    • Mirella  November 22, 2018 at 8:51 am Reply

      Hi, I looked up this book and could not find it. Will you please let me know where you purchased it. Thank you!

  18. Meera Sriram  January 18, 2019 at 2:44 pm Reply

    Hi,
    This is a GREAT post and list! I’m a children’a author and my upcoming picture book titled, “The Yellow Suitcase” attempts to flesh out the universal experience of loss, love, and home. You can read more about it here: https://www.amazon.com/Yellow-Suitcase-Meera-Sriram/dp/0999658417 or on my website. I would be very appreciative if you could add it to your list and give one more book to explore for caregivers, educators, and children. Thank you!

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  20. Christina Kann  May 7, 2019 at 10:00 am Reply

    Another good option is “The Great Big Ark in the Sky” by Liz Ballard Hamm & Andrew Ballard https://amzn.to/2VQGj2A

  21. Lisa Iannucci  May 15, 2019 at 1:31 pm Reply

    My Favorite Star!!! Kids 2-10. It targets passing if all ages and even pets too!

  22. Morgan  August 24, 2019 at 8:31 pm Reply

    Does anyone know the book where one twin dies in a car accident. She’s driving with her grandpa and a big 18-wheeler hits them and kills her. The other twin is really sad and they sit in the waiting room forever and then the doctor comes out and is like “I’m sorry”. I remember a lot of details about it but don’t remember the name. It really helped me with the loss of my brother when I was younger and I would like to find it again.

  23. Tom brady  October 4, 2019 at 4:35 am Reply

    I found your post very helpful. Please keep your list of books going dealing with this issue. Here is a list of some really good ones on death as well .

  24. walmart near me  December 2, 2019 at 11:31 pm Reply

    Willow brings grief and grief Green grass in the cold moon Frost is frozen like ice Knowing when the new rain will gradually stop.

  25. Donna Deardorff  February 13, 2020 at 7:45 am Reply

    My grandson died and left behind a very smart son he is now going to be 5.

  26. geometry dash  February 24, 2020 at 11:58 pm Reply

    The things I know about you are very good. So please be concerned about my problem. You will see great things going on.

  27. Techumble  March 12, 2020 at 2:42 pm Reply

    Can we find these books for free?

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