Grief and sadness can happen to people of all ages as they experience loss throughout their lifetime. It can be a reaction to loss, divorce, deployment, moving, friendships, or even changing homes or schools. For kids, grief can lead to sadness, confusion, anger, and changes to eating or sleeping habits. One way to help a child experiencing grief is through books. Here are some children’s books about grief that might help!
You can click on any of the covers below to learn more about each book or find all of these Grief Books for Kids on my Amazon page.
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CHILDREN’S BOOKS ABOUT GRIEF
THE ROUGH PATCH
Evan and his dog do everything together, from eating ice cream to caring for their prize-winning garden, which grows big and beautiful. One day the unthinkable happens: Evan’s dog dies. Heartbroken, Evan destroys the garden and everything in it. The ground becomes overgrown with prickly weeds and thorns, and Evan embraces the chaos. But beauty grows in the darkest of places, and when a twisting vine turns into an immense pumpkin, Evan is drawn out of his isolation and back to the county fair, where friendships—old and new—await.
THE INVISIBLE STRING
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.
You might also enjoy The Invisible Leash, which focuses on grief after losing a pet.
THE RABBIT LISTENED
When something sad happens, Taylor doesn’t know where to turn. All the animals are sure they have the answer. The chicken wants to talk it out, but Taylor doesn’t feel like chatting. The bear thinks Taylor should get angry, but that’s not quite right either. One by one, the animals try to tell Taylor how to act, and one by one they fail to offer comfort. Then the rabbit arrives. All the rabbit does is listen . . . which is just what Taylor needs.
GRIEF IS LIKE A SNOWFLAKE
After the death of his father, Little Tree begins to learn how to cope with his feelings and start the healing process. With the help and support of his family and friends, Little Tree learns to cope by discovering what is really important in life, and realizing his father’s memory will carry on.
THE REMEMBER BALLOONS
James’s Grandpa has the best balloons because he has the best memories. He has balloons showing Dad when he was young and Grandma when they were married. Grandpa has balloons about camping and Aunt Nelle’s poor cow. Grandpa also has a silver balloon filled with the memory of a fishing trip he and James took together.
But when Grandpa’s balloons begin to float away, James is heartbroken. No matter how hard he runs, James can’t catch them. One day, Grandpa lets go of the silver balloon—and he doesn’t even notice!
Grandpa no longer has balloons of his own. But James has many more than before. It’s up to him to share those balloons, one by one.
Gus lives in a big park in the middle of an even bigger city, and he spends his days with Ida. Ida is right there. Always.
Then one sad day, Gus learns that Ida is very sick, and she isn’t going to get better. The friends help each other face the difficult news with whispers, sniffles, cuddles, and even laughs. Slowly Gus realizes that even after Ida is gone, she will still be with him—through the sounds of their city, and the memories that live in their favorite spots.
Ida, Always is an exquisitely told story of two best friends—inspired by a real bear friendship—and a gentle, moving, needed reminder that loved ones lost will stay in our hearts, always.
THE MEMORY BOX
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 GOODBYE BOOK
Through the lens of a pet fish who has lost his companion, Todd Parr tells a moving and wholly accessible story about saying goodbye. Touching upon the host of emotions children experience, Todd reminds readers that it’s okay not to know all the answers, and that someone will always be there to support them.
WHEN GRANDFATHER FLEW
Milo’s grandfather is fascinated by birds. He admires their freedom and never loses an opportunity to point out the things that make each one special.
When he can no longer see as well as he used to, Milo helps him spot and take care of some of his favorites: hovering kestrels, fragile chickadees, and the bald eagle soaring high overhead.
One day when Milo comes home, Grandpa isn’t there.
But when the boy sees an eagle swooping through the sky above, he knows Grandpa is still with them: reborn in the skies, just as he’d wanted.
LOST IN THE CLOUDS
Billy misses his mommy very much. She lives in the clouds. Some days when he and Daddy play in the garden, he knows that Mommy is letting the sun shine for them. But not all days are like that. Sometimes Mommy’s clouds are dark, and Billy feels sad and alone.
THE LONGEST LETSGOBOY
As a dog and his little girl go on their final walk together, he experiences the sights, smells, and wonders of this world one last time before peacefully passing on. But for such a good boy (oh yes, he is!) and his foreverfriend, that doesn’t mean it’s the end.
ONE WAVE AT A TIME
After his father dies, Kai experiences all kinds of emotions: sadness, anger, fear, guilt. Sometimes they crash and mix together. Other times, there are no emotions at all―just flatness. As Kai and his family adjust to life without Dad, the waves still roll in. But with the help of friends and one another, they learn to cope―and, eventually, heal.
After something bad happens, a boy feels sad and gray. Mom and Aunt Cheryl try to talk about it, but he feels like running away. So he picks up a shovel and starts digging a tunnel from his room, deep down and into the backyard. Out there, far from the lights of the house, it’s dark enough that he could disappear. But the quiet distance also gives him the space he needs to see his family’s love and start returning home.
As he heads back, the journey upward is different. He notices familiar details and tunes into his senses. The tunnel isn’t so scary this time. The boy emerges into his room just as Mom peeks in. When she notices a twig in his hair, he is ready to talk about the tunnel and finds warmth in her gentle acknowledgment: “You came back.”
When a child loses the person in his life that he loves more than anything, he uses his cape as protection from his grief. On the day of the funeral, he uses it to block out the pictures and stories people share, refusing to acknowledge the memories that keep bubbling up. He won’t think about them and he avoids the memories, until he no longer can. Then he remembers – their laugh, their smile, the moment they gave him the cape. The cape transforms, becoming a source of comfort and strength as the child navigates the sadness and joy that these memories bring up.
SATURDAYS ARE FOR STELLA
George loves Saturdays.
That’s because Saturdays mean time with Grandma Stella. The two of them love going on adventures downtown to visit the dinosaur museum and ride on the carousel! Even when they stay in, George and Stella have fun together, making cinnamon rolls without popping open a tube and sharing the biggest, best hugs.
Then one day Stella is gone, and George is ready to cancel Saturdays. But when a new addition to the family arrives, George finds a way to celebrate the priceless memories he made with his grandma―while making new ones too.
THE DREAMS WE MADE
Every night, a little girl and her daddy build dreams out of paper, scissors, and glue. Every morning the little girl asks, “Take me with you?” And every time, Daddy tells her they’ll keep building when he gets home from work.
Until one night when Daddy doesn’t come home. When Mommy tells her that Daddy died, the little girl feels confused and sad and even mad. How can she keep building without Daddy? But with some time and help from Mommy, the little girl begins building dreams again and finds a way to take her daddy with her everywhere she goes.
One young girl reflects on a year with her beloved grandpa. She remembers the fields and parks they explored in the springtime and the old toys they fixed up in the summer. She remembers the handmade gifts they exchanged in the fall and the stories Grandpa told by the fi re each winter. But this year, the girl must say good-bye to Grandpa. In the face of her grief, she is determined to find a way to honor him. She decides to record her Grandpa stories in the notebook he made for her and carry Grandpa with her as she grows.
ROSIE AND CRAYON
Rosie and her pup, named Crayon, lead readers through the colorful seasons of growing up together and what it means to love . . . and then experience loss. After a long, colorful life, Crayon dies, and Rosie’s world becomes black and white. We follow along as she processes her grief and embarks on the most important journey of all — opening one’s heart to love again.
BIRDS OF A FEATHER
In this thoughtful story of loss and recovery a young boy’s happy life is interrupted when his grandfather passes away. Suddenly his world is full of big questions and difficult emotions. Will things ever be normal again? Then one day, during a chance encounter on the subway, he makes a wonderful new connection…
At the bottom of Syd’s garden, through the gate and past the tree, is Grandad’s house. Syd can let himself in any time he likes. But one day when Syd comes to call, Grandad isn’t in any of the usual places. He’s in the attic, where he ushers Syd through a door, and the two of them journey to a wild, beautiful island awash in color where Grandad decides he will remain. So Syd hugs Grandad one last time and sets sail for home. Visiting Grandad’s house at the bottom of the garden again, he finds it just the same as it’s always been — except that Grandad isn’t there anymore.
Flora the field mouse was a boldly whiskered lion-tamer! Although it wasn’t very hard to be bold and brave with her best friend Lion (a dandelion) by her side. But as the seasons change, Lion’s whiskers go from a bright yellow to shimmering silver, until one day, he scatters in the wind completely. Can Flora still be brave without Lion by her side?
MY NANA’S GARDEN
A little girl visits her grandmother in summer and winter, and together they explore the wonders of her garden. Until, one day, Nana isn’t there anymore. But as winter gives way to spring, the girl learns that life goes on, and so does the memory of those we love.
RODNEY WAS A TORTOISE
Bernadette and Rodney are the best of friends. Rodney’s not so good at playing cards, but he’s great at staring contests. His favorite food is lettuce, though he eats it VERRRRRRY SLOOOOOWLY. And he’s such a joker! When Bernadette goes to sleep at night, Rodney is always there, watching over her from his tank.
As the seasons pass, Rodney moves slower and slower, until one day he stops moving at all. Without Rodney, Bernadette feels all alone. She can’t stop thinking about him, but none of her friends seem to notice. Except for Amar.
WHERE LILY ISN’T
Lily ran and jumped and barked and whimpered and growled and wiggled and wagged and licked and snuggled.
But not now.
It is hard to lose a pet. There is sadness, but also hope―for a beloved pet lives on in your heart, your memory, and your imagination.
Louise and her family are sad over the loss of their beloved dog, Charlie. “Life will not be the same,” Louise says, as she visits a little island that Charlie loved.
But on a visit to the island after Charlie’s death, something strange happens: She meets a bear. At first, she’s afraid, but soon she realizes that the bear is sad, too. As Louise visits more often, she realizes that getting over loss takes time. And just when she starts to feel better, it’s time for Bear to bed down for the winter.
Once again, Louise believes that life will not be the same. But sometimes, things can change for the better, and on the first warm day of spring, her family welcomes a new member.
YOU’LL FIND ME
Loss becomes remembrance in this book that offers tender ways to pay tribute to, and meaningfully incorporate, a loved one’s lost presence into present and future life experiences. Be it departed friends, family, pets, and more, memories can carry us beyond the precious moments we have together to keep the ones we loved before in mind forever.
Throughout the book the omnipresent narrator encourages thoughtful reflection on the empty spaces left by the loss. The gentle scenes portrayed inspire recovery from sadness and honor those who are absent.
Raya can’t wait for her baby sister to arrive. She’s already got a name—Nura—and Raya is certain they’ll be best friends. She’s got all kinds of plans for things they’ll do together like run through the sprinklers, play dress-up, and give piggyback rides.
But one day, Mama returns from the doctor with tears in her eyes. Nura won’t be coming home after all. Raya feels confused and sad, like all the love she has for Nura is trapped inside her. With the help of family, friends, and her school counselor, though, Raya finds a way to grieve this loss and to share the love she’ll always feel for her sister.
THE HEART AND THE BOTTLE
There is a wonder and magic to childhood. We don’t realize it at the time, of course . . . yet the adults in our lives do. They encourage us to see things in the stars, to find joy in colors and laughter as we play.
But what happens when that special someone who encourages such wonder and magic is no longer around? We can hide, we can place our heart in a bottle and grow up . . . or we can find another special someone who understands the magic. And we can encourage them to see things in the stars, find joy among colors and laughter as they play.
Do you have a favorite book about grief that didn’t make the list? Let me know so I can check it out!
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