Children’s Grief Books
Recommended Books About Grief and Loss for Children and Teens
Pre-school to early grade
Jasper’s Day by Marjorie B Parker- A touching story about a terminally ill dog and the family who loves him. When the dog’s suffering becomes too much, the family makes a difficult decision and plans Jasper’s final day. This is a great story for children who have lost a pet or are facing a loss.
I’ll always love you by Hans Wilhelm – This is a story about a dog named Elfie, the best dog in the world according to the little boy who loved him. One day Elfie doesn’t wake up and the family grieves her death. It illustrates the journey through grief after losing a pet and the importance of showing our love.
Badger’s parting gifts by Susan Varley- Remembering and reminiscing are essential to the grieving process. This is a straightforward story about the death of Badger, the old and wise friend of the other woodland critters. Badger’s death leaves his friends with a crushing grief, until they start to remember and share Badger’s gifts.
Lifetimes by Bryan Mellonie -This book comes highly recommended for children of all ages. This book is a beautiful way to explain the life cycle to young children. It explores the beginning (birth) and end (death) of all living things and the life lived in between. The pictures are beautiful and this book is really appropriate for any age group.
Can you hear me smiling? by Aariane R Jackson –After her sister’s death, nine-year-old Aariane is haunted by the mean things she said in a quarrel (“I don’t like you. You’re not my real sister, anyway”), and her grief is mixed with jealousy about the attention Londee received during her illness. The mix of guilt and resentment with love, sorrow, and overwhelming loneliness is universal and will open up discussion with many children who are facing loss. The story is framed by a preface from the girls’ mother and an afterword in which grief counselors speak to adults about how to confront a child’s anguish and help him or her feel less alone.
Poppy’s chair by Karen Hesse – A little girl comes to terms with her fears after the death of her grandfather. She is afraid to touch his things and sit in his chair. The book touches on an important element of children’s grief: fear of the unknown. Her Grammy helps her cope with fears and sadness.
I wish I could hold your hand by Dr. Pat Palmer -This is a generic book about missing loved ones. It’s a good book for children who are grieving a death, divorce, or recent move.