Children's Books Dealing With Death and Grieving

Dominique W. Brooks
mother and child reading

There are children's books dealing with death and grieving that are appropriate for youngsters of all ages. These types of books may be used when talking to a child about the death of a loved one or a pet.

Books About General Death and Grieving

Books About the Death of a Parent

Books About the Death of a Grandparent

  • Farewell, Grandpa Elephant: What Happens When a Loved One Dies? by Isabel Abedi looks at helping children deal with the death of a grandparent. Grandpa Elephant is about to go to the elephant graveyard but he wants his grandchildren to understand that there is sadness, possibilities, and good memories when someone dies.
  • Where Is Grandpa? by T. A. Barron is a book written for children 4 and up. This book helps children understand that a dead loved one is still around in his/her personal memories.
  • One More Wednesday by Malika Doray is a story about a small bunny understanding what the death of his beloved grandmother means. The book is suitable for children ages four and up.

Books About the Death of a Sibling

Books About the Death of a Friend

Books Dealing with the Loss of a Pet

There are also many children's books available that help young ones understand the death of a pet:

  • When a Pet Dies by Fred Rogers for children ages 4-8. Through this book, the infamous Mr. Rogers helps children understand the loss of a family pet. It helps them explore their feelings of sadness and loneliness.
  • The Tenth Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst for children older than 4 years old. In helping to deal with the death of his cat, the boy in this book makes a list of the 10 things he liked about him.
  • No Dogs Allowed! by Bill Wallace is for children 9-12. This book helps a young girls understand the death of a pet horse through learning to love a new pet dog.
  • Remembering Ruby: For Families Living Beyond the Loss of a Pet by Melisa Wells for young teens. This book is about a young boy and his family after the illness and death of their pet dog, Ruby.
  • Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant discusses where cats go after they die and all the fun things that the cat gets to do. This author also wrote a book about the death of a pet dog as well. These stories are appropriate for children 4 and older.

Books for Very Young Children

  • I Heard Your Daddy Died by Mark Scrivani is aimed for children ages two to six. This book explains that it is OK to be sad; it also has ideas to help the child remember the parent.
  • My Grandma Died: A Child's Story about Death and Loss by Lory Britain is written for children 3-6 years old. Here a young child discusses feelings about the death of a grandmother.
  • Always and Forever by Alan Durant tells the story of how Mole, Otter, and Hare deal with the death of their friend Fox. This story is good from preschoolers.

Books as a Gateway to Discussion

While books are great tools for helping children understand the death of a loved one or a pet, nothing replaces sitting down with them and explaining what happened. Children are full of questions, so be sure you are prepared ahead of time to try and answer those. Remember, they are only children and don't need to know every single fact surrounding the person's death. Usually, just the simple basic facts will satisfy their curiosity.

Children's Books Dealing With Death and Grieving