Books That Can Help Children Grieve

To those that lost loved ones on this day, September 11 … eleven years ago … my heart and thoughts go out to you.  May you continue to find support and love through your lifelong process of grief.

Grief and loss is one of the hardest subjects to talk about with kids.  One reason is that many times the adults in the child’s life are also grieving too.  Another reason is that death is difficult ANYONE to understand … let alone a child.

 Here are some of my favorite books to help a child who is grieving …

  • The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein (classic, simple story of the cycle of life)
  • The Hurt, by Teddi Doleski (discusses the importance of sharing your feelings)
  • Someone Special Died, by Joan Singleton Prestine (simple explanations, great for kids)
  • When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death, by Laura Kransy Brown (my favorite book to help children understand death)
  • When Someone VERY Special DIES, by Marge Heegaard (a workbook designed to help kids cope with grief)
  • Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs, by Tomie dePaola (the author shares his own experiences about being blessed to experience knowing different generations of his family and the grief of losing them)
  • A Terrible Thing Happened, by Margaret M. Holmes (a story for children who have witnessed violence and trauma)
  • Brave Bart, by Caroline H. Sheppard (a story about a cat who has been traumatized and seeks help to cope with his feelings)
  • We Had an Angel Instead, by Pat Schwiebert (instead of a family having anew baby, they experience loss and grief)


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Laura Hutchison

Laura Hutchison (aka PlayDrMom) is a chubby kid turned competitive figure skater tween turned high school pom pon girl turned MSU Spartan turned grad student turned Mrs. HutcH turned Dr. turned Mom. She adores living in the Mitten, is addicted to Diet Coke, and firmly believes that ice cream is a main food group.

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  1. Shea

    This book helped me when my mother died (I was 6):

  2. Laura

    Thanks for sharing. I will definitely be adding it to my bookshelf!

  3. Peggy Sweeney

    Thank you for sharing this great titles! I will be adding them to my already extensive Good Grief Books.
    Peggy Sweeney, Editor
    Journeys Through Grief newsletters

  4. Bethany @ No Twiddle Twaddle

    Thank you for this list and for your kind comment about my post on grief. I will be adding this list to my post.

  5. Laura

    Thanks so much for the comment, Peggy! And also for saying that you’ll add the books to your wonderful lists of grief books. I just pinned the list!

  6. Malia {Playdough to Plato}

    It’s not fun thinking about a day when our children will need help with grief, but I’m thankful that I can tuck this list away just in case. Pinning it.

    I always found that books were a therapeutic way of helping my students think through tough topics. Mem Fox’s “Tough Boris” is another great picture book to add to the list. It’s a wonderful reminder that it’s ok to cry when we lose someone we love.

  7. Malia {Playdough to Plato}

    P.S. Featuring your link in my kids’ co-op post this week:

  8. mary clinton

    thanks – brain tumor – brain cancer – mom of talented special beautiful world changing 6 yr old maddyblue – not a death sentence but stroke on left side leaves right hand and right leg in wheel chair. thankfully god let me keep the rest of my mind/brain. need to be prepared and i appreciate the lead to many wonderful books. pls watch daughter in action on you tube. her idea not mine…

  9. Trisha @ Inspiration Laboratories

    I will definitely keep this list in mind. Thank you for sharing it at the Sunday Showcase.

  10. Kristy

    All your suggestions are awesome! I plan to check a bunch of these out for my practice. Thanks so much for this! I will also be sending parents to your page. Btw, one book I also love about grief is Tear Soup. You might want to look at that one, too.

  11. Kristy

    Also check out Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children. That one has great illustrations and is good for very young kids who don’t understand what death means.

  12. Kristy

    Oh, and I almost forgot about Saying Goodbye! That one is a coloring book and asks children to draw pictures in it, which I love. Sorry for all the recommendations here 🙂 I’ve worked with a lot of grieving children. Anyway, keep up the great work! I love your site!

  13. Laura

    Thanks for all the great recommendations, Kristy! I’ll definitely check them out!

  14. Fiona

    Looking on Amazon – ‘the next place’ seems highly recommended

  15. Heather

    I really like My Grieving Journey Book by Donna and Eve Shavett.

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