Parenting / 2 January, 2024 / Christina Walter

16 Children’s Books To Help Talk About Death, Grief & Bereavement

The hardest topic to broach with your children is without a doubt, the end of a life and how to deal with the feelings of loss and grief that occur when losing a loved one. We’ve come up with a collection of the best children’s books about death, grief and bereavement to help you talk openly and gently about death with your child.

Children’s Books About Death, Grief and Bereavement:

 

 

Love Never Dies, Lorna Gibson

A powerfully comforting book on grief and loss, Love Never Dies by Lorna Gibson is the perfect book for opening difficult conversations with young children about loss and bereavement.

Grief Encounter, 2Wish Upon a Star and many independent mental health workers have used this book as one of their key resources following a bereavement.

Let’s Talk About When Someone Dies, Molly Potter

When someone dies, we can feel a whole host of different emotions and explaining them to a child isn’t so easy. This book uses clear, easy-to-understand language to answer complex questions about death and how a child might feel when someone dies. It covers all manner of tricky subjects with sensitivity and honesty, from what death is to why people die.

Each double-page spread takes a child through how they might feel, what they might think and how they might behave. With engaging illustrations, gentle guidance and simple advice for parents and carers, Let’s Talk About When Someone Dies fulfils an important but difficult need for starting conversations with children about death and bereavement, in an accessible and supportive way.

Let’s Talk books help you start meaningful conversations with your child. Written by an expert and covering topics like feelings, relationships, diversity and mental health, these comforting picture books support healthy discussion right from the start.

 

 

Badger’s Parting Gifts, Susan Varley

Badger is so old that he knows he must soon die, so he does his best to prepare his friends. When he finally passes away, they are grief-stricken, but one by one they remember the special things he taught them during his life. By sharing their memories, they realise that although Badger is no longer with them physically, he lives on through his friends.

Celebrating the 35th anniversary of this quintessential and multi award-winning picture book about losing a loved one. Features a helpful reading guide from Child Bereavement UK that provides tips for reading Badger’s Parting Gifts with children and helping them better understand grief.

I Have An Angel – When You Lose A Loved One But Gain An Angel, Laura Feldman

Female Angel edition

A heartwarming story, told through the perspective of a little bear, about staying connected to a cherished loved one or beloved pet who has passed away.

The young bear finds peace believing that their loved one is now an angel (a beautiful blue bird) who watches over them. The bird represents their loved one whether they were young or old, a sibling they never got to meet or even a beloved family pet.

This beautifully illustrated and comforting book reminds young children that even if they can’t be with the ones they hold dear that their love will never be lost.

 

No Matter What, Debi Gliori

I’ll always love you no matter what…

‘No matter what?’ Small asks. But what if he turns into a bug, or a crocodile, or even a grizzly bear? Small has all sorts of questions about love, and his mummy must reassure him that her love will never, ever run out – no matter what.

A heartfelt story about the unconditional love each parent feels for their child, beautifully told and exquisitely illustrated by Kate Greenaway-nominated Debi Gliori and repackaged for a new generation to enjoy.

 

 

The Memory Tree, Britta Teckentrup

Fox has lived a long and happy life in the forest, but now he is tired. He lies down in his favourite clearing, and falls asleep for ever. Before long, Fox’s friends begin to gather in the clearing. One by one, they tell stories of the special moments that they shared with Fox. And so, as they share their memories, a tree begins to grow, becoming bigger and stronger with each memory, sheltering and protecting all the animals in the forest, just as Fox did when he was alive.

The Invisible String, Patrice Karst

Parents, educators, therapists, and social workers alike have declared The Invisible String the perfect tool for coping with all kinds of separation anxiety, loss, and grief. In this relatable and reassuring contemporary classic, a mother tells her two children that they’re all connected by an invisible string. “That’s impossible!” the children insist, but still they want to know more: “What kind of string?” The answer is the simple truth that binds us all: An Invisible String made of love. Even though you can’t see it with your eyes, you can feel it deep in your heart, and know that you are always connected to the ones you love. Does everybody have an Invisible String? How far does it reach? Does it ever go away? This heartwarming picture book for all ages explores questions about the intangible yet unbreakable connections between us, and opens up deeper conversations about love.

 

Water Bugs and Dragonflies Explaining Death to Children, Doris Stickney

The Pilgrim Press is pleased to re-introduce the Looking Up series of 24-page, 5.5″ by 5.5″ booklets. The four best-selling titles are ideal for times that call for contemplation or prayer, whether for times of difficulty and worry or for times of joy and happiness. More in-depth than a greeting card, each booklet will help you find the right words…a caring thought…a comforting reflection to communicate compassion in extraordinary ways.

 

Something Lost Something Found, Natalia Paruzel-Gibson

Ella feels like she is stuck in a pile of gloomy mud. She misses her mom so much. So, Ella embarks on a quest to find happiness again; wishing upon a star, trying to cook it up in a magic potion, and searching for it in all the places her grieving young heart leads her. And bit by bit…Ella begins to find solace in memories of her Mom. Something Lost Something Found is a story for young readers about the profound bonds we share with our loved ones, the importance of childhood memories, and the innate yearning to endure even the most indescribable grief. This tale’s empathy and wisdom shine through every wistful, charming scene.

The Memory Box, Joanna Rowland

From the perspective of a young child, author Joanna Rowland artfully describes what it’s like to remember and grieve a loved one who has died. The child in the story wonders if she will forget the person who has gone. Other days I wonder if I’ll ever stop feeling sad you are gone.

The main character creates a memory box to keep mementos and written memories of her loved one to help with the grieving process. Throughout the narrative, the child’s feelings are acknowledged, allowed, and assured that feelings are normal and healthy to express. Heartfelt and comforting, The Memory Box helps children, parents, educators, therapists, and social workers talk about this very difficult topic together.

The unique point of view allows each reader to imagine the loss of someone they’ve loved — a friend, family member, or even a pet. A guide in the back includes information to help children manage grief and offers suggestions on how to create a memory box.

 

 

The Heart and the Bottle, Oliver Jeffers

Award-winning picture book star Oliver Jeffers explores themes of love and loss in this life-affirming and uplifting tale.

Once there was a girl whose life was filled with wonder at the world around her…
Then one day something happened that made the girl take her heart and put it in a safe place. However, after that it seemed that the world was emptier than before. But would she know how to get her heart back?

In this deeply moving story, Oliver Jeffers deals with the weighty themes of love and loss with an extraordinary lightness of touch and shows us, ultimately, that there is always hope.

 

Up In Heaven, Emma Chichester Clark

Elderly Daisy can’t keep up with Arthur any more, and then one day she wakes up to find herself in heaven! How marvellous – now she no longer feels tired or ill, and she can run as fast as she used to! But she worries about Arthur because he is so miserable, and so she sends him dreams to show him where she is, and how happy she is now. One of the questions children regularly ask is: ‘Do dogs go to heaven?’ This unusual book provides the dog’s answer, with the sure lightness of touch and deft storytelling that we have come to expect from this author: it may well move you to tears.

Are You Sad, Little Bear?, Rachel Rivett

Grandmother Bear has gone for ever, and Little Bear is feeling sad. His mother wisely suggests that perhaps asking his woodland companions what saying goodbye means to them will help him understand his loss. Little Bear’s day of exploring and asking questions brings him comfort and hope. For the swallows, saying goodbye means flying to warmer lands; for the leaves of the trees it is a chance to be free, leaving the tree at her most beautiful; for the moon it is to return to be with the Sun; and for the Sun it is to rise in another sky and just because Little Bear can’t see him doesn’t mean he isn’t there. This charmingly illustrated picture book will help young children in times of bereavement, loss or change, gently exploring the reasons for saying goodbye and giving reassurance that goodbye doesn’t mean the end of things.

Goodbye Mog, Judith Kerr

Say goodbye to MOG in this incredibly moving and stunningly illustrated story from Judith Kerr, creator of The Tiger Who Came to Tea and the MOG series.

Mog was tired. She was dead tired… Mog thought, ‘I want to sleep for ever.’ And so she did. But a little bit of her stayed awake to see what would happen next.

Join the Thomas family as they say goodbye to their dear pet Mog, and get a new kitten. It could all be a disaster, but Mog is still there to help…

A touching tribute to a character beloved for generations of children, Goodbye Mog is the perfect story for a gentle introduction to the subjects of grief and bereavement, with the one and only MOG herself.

Mog the Forgetful Cat was first published over fifty years ago, and Mog has been delighting children all over the world with her adventures ever since. These books are the perfect gifts for boys, girls and families everywhere.

 

What’s Heaven?

This treasure of a book, for people of all faiths, is a starting point for parents who must talk about the difficult topic of death with their children.

What should parents say when a loved one dies? Heaven is a difficult subject that always comes up at tough times, and Maria Shriver has written a very special book precisely for these stressful moments. What’s Heaven? is the story of Kate, a little girl whose great-grandma has just died. She seeks answers, and her mother helps her learn about Heaven. The many questions in this book are real, coming from Shriver’s own children, nieces, and nephews when her grandmother Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy passed away. With 900,000 copies of the book now in print, the loving, confident, and ultimately uplifting answers Shriver provides are helping readers’ families come together, feel closer to one another, and experience peace during the times when they need it most.

 

Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You, Nancy Tillman

. . I wanted you more than you’ll ever know, so I sent love to follow wherever you go. . . . Love is the greatest gift we have to give our children. It’s the one thing they can carry with them each and every day. If love could take shape it might look something like these heartfelt words and images from the inimitable Nancy Tillman. Here is a book to share with your loved ones, no matter how near or far, young or old, they are.

Read Next

Parenting Through Grief: Tips On How To Cope

Activities, Journals And Books To Support Children’s Mental Health And Wellbeing

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