This booklist is one that I really hope you’ll never have to use. Sadly though death is a part of life. Grief is one of the most difficult things to talk about with children, no matter how much of a positive spin you put on it. That’s what I love most about these books, they bring the concept of grief to a child’s level and make it easier for you, the parent, to have those tough conversations. These books were all written so beautifully, I won’t lie, I cried pretty much the whole time I read them. They weren’t all super sad, it was actually the opposite, they filled me with hope, love, and happy thoughts about my loved ones who have passed.
Picture Books about Losing a Loved One
Till We Meet Again: A children’s book about death and grieving by Julie Muller
This is such a lovely book. I was very drawn to the rhyming text and beautiful artwork. In this story you hear the voice of the spirit of the loved one who passed, I thought that was very unique. I really like how this story is full of so much love.
Always and Forever by Debi Gliori
What I love most about this story is that the author doesn’t minimalize the character’s grief in any way. The story shows just how much time can pass while you are grieving. She does this by talking about the different seasons changing while the three friends grieve for their beloved Fox friend who passed away. In the end, they are reminded that Fox loved laughter and they came together in their own special ways to remember Fox’s life.
Ida, Always by Carol Levis
Get your tissues ready for this one. This sad, sweet story about two polar bear friends will definitely tug on your heartstrings. When Ida gets sick and passes away Gus learns that Ida will always be with him as long as he remembers her.
The Goodbye Book by Todd Parr
I love Todd Parr’s signature colorful illustrations. They really bring some brightness to the not so happy topic of the book. This book is great for introducing the concept of grief for even the youngest of children. It will reach them where they are at emotionally and provide encouragement that how they’re feeling is normal.
I Miss You: A First Look at Death by Pat Thomas
This book is very well written. If you’re looking for a secular book about death and grieving that encompasses most of the questions that a child would have then I’d highly recommend this book. It covers how death happens, what happens when someone dies, and how you may be feeling after a loved one passes away. I love how it mentions that there are many ways to honor loved ones across all the different cultures.
Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children by Bryan Mellonie
This book was so refreshing to me. I love the way the author clearly describes the natural stages of life and death on a level that is just right for a young child. He talks about not only the lifetime of people but also plants and animals as well.
The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
I loved this beautiful story about a mother teaching her two children how we are all always connected to the ones we love by an invisible string. Such a sweet reminder that the ones we love are always close by in our hearts.
Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola
I’ve always been a huge fan of Tomie’s storytelling. This book is a good one to share with a young child who lost an elderly grandparent. The story is heartwarming and although it is sad was still uplifting.
Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories by Audrey Penn
Do you have a special item or place that helps you think of a loved one that you lost? For me, it’s seeing butterflies for my Mom. Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories is an uplifting story about grief. Young Chester learns to use his wonderful memories of his friend Squirrel in a very special way.
I’ll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm
Sometimes it’s not a human loved one that we are grieving. In this story, the main character deals with the death of his beloved pet dog. I’ll admit this one made me cry the most. Our pets are on this Earth such a short time, but during that time they fill us with unconditional love. What I love about this story is how the boy holds on to his love for his pet and gives himself the time to grieve.
I hope that these books provide your family with some comfort during these difficult times. If you are homeschooling through grief check out my blog post for some encouragement. If there are any books that you think should be added to this list please drop me a comment. Sending love from our family to yours!
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