You need a good book. You’ll find one here.
“At many times throughout their lives, children will feel the world has turned topsy-turvy. It’s not the ever-present smile that will help them feel secure. It’s knowing that love can hold many feelings, including sadness, and that they can count on the people they love to be with them until the world turns right side up again.” -Fred Rogers
* Above all, preview a book or kit before sharing it with a child in your care. Most of these are written for children between 4 and 8 years, but each child is unique- especially when grieving. I've read nearly every book and categorized each to the best of my ability, but only you know what is best. Please write to me via my connect link on this site if you have more to add! The list is growing!
Nurturing the Grieving Young Child
Books to help nurture a young child’s basic understanding of grief and loss:
-Brown, L., & Brown, M. (1996). When dinosaurs die: A guide to understanding death. Boston: Little, Brown.
-Buscaglia, L. F. (1982). The fall of Freddie the leaf: a story of life for all ages. Thorofare, N.J.: C.B. Slack.
-Durant, A. (2003). Always and forever. San Diego: Harcourt, Inc.
-Honig, R., & Brannon, T. (2010). Something small: A story about remembering. New York: Sesame Street Workshop.
-MacGregor, C., & Clark, D. (1998). Why do people die?: Helping your child understand--with love and illustrations. Secaucus, N.J.: Carol Pub. Group.
-McAneney, C. (2015). Loss and Grief. New York: Power Kids Press.
-Mellonie, B., & Ingpen, R. (1983). Lifetimes: the beautiful way to explain death to children. Toronto: Bantam Books.
-Mills, J., & Pillo, C. (2004). Gentle Willow: A story for children about dying (2nd ed.). Washington, D.C.: Magination Press.
-Mundy, M., & Alley, R. (1998). Sad isn't bad: A good-grief guidebook for kids dealing with loss. St. Meinrad, IN: One Caring Place, Abbey Press.
-Olivieri, L., & Elder, K. (2007). Where are you?: A child's book about loss. United States: Laura Olivieri.
-Romain, T., & Verdick, E. (1999). What on earth do you do when someone dies? Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit.
-Rosen, M., & Blake, Q. (2005). Michael Rosen's sad book. Cambridge, Mass. Candlewick Press.
-Sanford, D., & Evans, G. (1985). It must hurt a lot: a book about death, and learning, and growing. Portland, Or.: Multnomah Press.
-Schuld, J., Grief is a Mess. Available: http://www.jackieschuld.com/#!shop/cjun
-Stalfelt, P. (2002). The death book. Toronto, Ont.: Groundwood Books / Douglas & McIntyrenfrom.
-Thomas, P., & Harker, L. (2001). I miss you: a first look at death. Hauppauge, N.Y. Barron's Educational Series.
Stories to help explain about funerals and ceremonies:
-Carson, J., & Cannon, A. (1992). You hold me and I'll hold you: Story. New York: Orchard Books.
-Marshall, B., & Boldt, R. (1998). Animal crackers: A tender book about death and funerals and love. Omaha, Neb.: Centering.
-Pastor, M., & Grantford, J. (2006). Wishes for one more day. New York: Flashlight Press.
-Mathers, P. (2014). When Aunt Mattie got her wings. New York City, NY: Beach Lane Books.
Helping a child with long-term illness and anticipatory death:
-Varley, S. (1984). Badger's parting gifts. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books.
-Mills, J. (2003). Gentle willow: A story for children about dying. (2nd ed.). Washington, D.C.: Magination Press.
-Raschka, C. (2007). The purple balloon. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books.
Stories to help children understand the death of a pet or animal:
-Brown, M. W., & Charlip, R. (1958). The dead bird. New York: W.R. Scott.
-Cohen, M., & Himler, R. (2008). Jim's dog, Muffins. New York: Star Bright Books.
-Demas, C., & Hoyt, A. (2004). Saying goodbye to Lulu. Boston: Little, Brown.
-Himler, R. (2002). Six is so much less than seven. New York: Star Bright Books.
-Levert, M., & Amado, E. (2009). Tulip and Lupin forever. Toronto: Groundwood Books.
-Loewen, N., & Lyles, C. (2012). Good-bye, Jeepers: What to expect when your pet dies. Mankato, MN: Picture Window Books.
-Mallinos, J., & Brega, M. (2005). I remember. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's.
-Mansfield, M., & Peterson, L. (2011). When you have to say goodbye: Loving and letting go of your pet. Midway, FL: Beanpole Books.
-Morehead, D., & Cannon, K. (1996). A special place for Charlee: A child's companion through pet loss. Broomfield, CO: Partners in Pub.
-Newman, L., & Himler, R. (2004). The best cat in the world. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.
-Rogers, F., & Judkis, J. (1988). When a pet dies. New York: Putnam.
-Rylant, C. (1995). Dog Heaven. New York: Blue Sky Press.
-Rylant, C. (1997). Cat Heaven. New York: Blue Sky Press.
-Thomas, P., & Harker, L. (2012). I miss my pet: A first look at when a pet dies. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series.
-Viorst, J., & Blegvad, E. (1971). The tenth good thing about Barney. New York: Atheneum.
-Walsh, B. (2011). Sammy in the sky. Somerville: Candlewick Press.
-Wilhelm, H. (1985). I'll always love you. New York: Crown.
Stories to help nurture following the death of a parent:
-Carrick, C., & Bouma, P. (1999). Upside-Down Cake. New York: Clarion Books.
-Cobb, R. (2013). Missing mommy. New York: Henry Holt.
-Cohen, C., & Heiney, J. (1997). Daddy's promise. Bloomfield Hills, MI: Promise Publications.
-Dennison, A., & Dennison, A. (2003). Our dad died: The true story of three kids whose lives changed. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Pub.
-Dokas, D., & Chostner, A. (2002). Remembering Mama. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress.
-Gray, L., & Colon, R. (1995). My mama had a dancing heart. New York: Orchard Books.
-Hemery, K., & Boldt, R. (1998). The brightest star. Omaha, NE: Centering.
-Holmes, M., & Mudlaff, S. (1999). Sam's dad died: A child's book of hope through grief. Omaha, NE: Centering Corporation.
-Holmes, M., & Mudlaff, S. (1999). Molly's mom died: A child's book of hope through grief. Omaha, NE: Centering.
-Kaplow, J. B., & Pincus, D. (2007). Samantha Jane's missing smile: a story about coping with the loss of a parent. Washington, DC: Magination Press.
-Leiner, K., & Rodriguez, E. (2001). Mama does the mambo. New York: Hyperion Books for Children.
-Lowden, S., & McGee, D. (1993). Emily's sadhappy season: The story of a young girl's feelings after the death of her father. Omaha: Centering.
-Miéville, C. (2002). The scar. New York: Ballantine Books.
-Rovere, A., & Spector, J. (2012). And Still they bloom. A family's journey of loss and healing. Atlanta: The American Cancer Society.
-Scrivani, M., & Aitken, S. (1996). I heard your daddy died. Omaha, NE: Centering.
-Schick, E. (2000). Mama. New York: Marshall Cavendish.
-Spelman, C., & Friedman, J. (1996). After Charlotte's mom died. Morton Grove, Ill.: A. Whitman.
-Weitzman, E. (1996). Let's talk about when a parent dies. New York: PowerKids Press.
Nurturing children following infant loss death during pregnancy:
-Gryte, M., & McClendon, K. (1998). No new baby: For siblings who have a brother or sister die before birth. Omaha, NE: Centering Corporation.
Helping a child following the death of a sibling:
-Grimes, N., & N, R. (2004). What is goodbye? New York: Jump at the Sun/Hyperion Books for Children.
-Jackson, A., & Lawhon, L. (2004). Can you hear me smiling?: A child grieves a sister. Washington, DC: Child & Family Press.
-Johnson, J., & Johnson, M. (1992). Where's Jess? (Rev. ed.). Omaha, NE: Centering.
-Kiehne, M., & Dietrich, G. (2000). Since my brother died = Desde que murió mi hermano. Omaha, NE: Centering Corp.
-Maier, I. M., & Bogade, M. (2012). Ben's flying flowers. Washington, DC: Magination Press.
-Reagan, J., & Cahill, P. (2009). Always my brother. Gardiner, Me.: Tilbury House.
-Rothman, J., & Gish, L. (1996). A birthday present for Daniel: A child's story of loss. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.
-Simon, J., & Simon, A. (2002). This book is for all kids, but especially my sister Libby: Libby died. Kansas City, Mo.: Andrews McMeel Pub.
-Turner, B., & Backer, M. (1996). A little bit of Rob. Morton Grove, Ill.: A. Whitman.
Stories to help children following the death of a grandparent or other family member:
-Aliki. (1979). The Two of Them. New York: Greenwillow Books.
-Armas, T., & Howard, P. (2003). Remembering Grandma. Houston, Tex.: Piñata Books.
-Bartoli, J., & Drescher, J. (1975). Nonna. New York: Harvey House.
-Barron, T., & Soentpiet, C. (2000). Where is Grandpa? New York: Philomel Books.
-Bostrom, K., & Bladholm, C. (2005). The day Scooter died. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zonderkidz.
-Britain, L., & Deach, C. (2003). My grandma died: A child's story about death and loss. Seattle, Wash.: Parenting Press.
-Cooke, T. (2000). The grandad tree. Cambridge, Mass.: Candlewick Press.
-Hodge, J., & Aitken, S. (1999). Finding Grandpa everywhere: A young child discovers memories of a grandparent. Omaha, NE: Centering Resource.
-Loewen, N., & Lyles, C. (2012). Saying good-bye to Uncle Joe: What to expect when someone you love dies. Mankato, MN: Picture Window Books.
-McLaughlin, K., & Rudolph, A. (2001). The memory box. Omaha, NE: Centering.
-Pardo, G., & Krudop, W. (1996). Hunting Grandma's treasures. New York: Clarion Books.
-Pomerantz, B., & Lurie, L. (1983). Bubby, me, and memories. New York, N.Y.: Union of American Hebrew Congregations.
-Yolen, J., & Mathis, M. (1994). Grandad Bill's song. New York: Philomel Books.
Helping with the Death of a Friend at Home or at School
Support following the death of a classmate or friend:
-Bahr, M., & Jerome, K. (2000). If Nathan were here. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.
-Bunting, E., & Himler, R. (1999). Rudi's pond. New York: Clarion Books.
-Cohn, J., & Owens, G. (1987). I had a friend named Peter: Talking to children about the death of a friend. New York: W. Morrow.
-Kaldhol, M., & Yen, W. (1987). Goodbye Rune. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Kane/Miller.
-Penn, A., & Gibson, B. (2009). Chester Raccoon and the acorn full of memories. Terre Haute, IN: Tanglewood.
-Simon, N., & Sanderson, R. (1979). We remember Philip. Chicago: A. Whitman.
Nurturing children after the death of a teacher:
-Brisson, P., & Jorisch, S. (2006). I remember Miss Perry. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers.
Integrating Life, Death, and Grief Support Themes into the Curriculum
Books to promote social and emotional growth:
-Berry, J., & Smith, M. (1995). Feeling afraid. New York: Scholastic.
-Blackburn, L. (2001). I know I made it happen: A gentle book about feelings (Rev. ed.). Omaha, NE: Centering.
-Brallier, J., & Reynolds, P. (2009). Tess's tree. New York: Harper.
-Freymann, S., & Elffers, J. (1999). How are you peeling?: Foods with moods. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books.
-Fox, M., & Brown, K. (1994). Tough Boris. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
-Good Cave, A., & Skivington, J. (1998). Balloons for Trevor. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House.
-Hoffman, M., & Asquith, R. (). The great big book of feelings.
-Jeffers, O. (2010). The heart and the bottle. New York: The Penguin Group
-Johnson, S., & Geisel, T. S. (1996). My many colored days ([1st ed.). New York: Knopf.
-McIntyre, B., & Henderson, M. (2000). Jungle journey. Traverse City, MI: Traverse Pub.
-Ohrt, K. (2011). The rainbow book. Denver, CO: Accord Pub.
-Spelman, C., & Parkinson, K. (2002). When I feel sad. Morton Grove, Ill.: A. Whitman &.
-White, E. B., & Williams, G. (1952). Charlotte's Web. New York, NY: Harper Collins.
Incorporating life and death cycles into the science curriculum:
-Thornhill, J. (2006). I found a dead bird: the kids' guide to the cycle of life & death. Toronto: Maple Tree Press.
Promoting a cultural understanding of life and death:
-Ancona, G. (1993). Pablo remembers: the fiesta of the Day of the Dead. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books.
-Levy, J., & Fuenmayor, M. (1995). The spirit of Tío Fernando: A Day of the Dead story. Morton Grove, Ill.: A. Whitman.
-Grigg, C. (1992). The great change. Hillsboro, Or.: Beyond Words Pub.
Inviting Spirituality, Mystery, and Reverence into
Grief Support for Children
Faith stories, death, and spirituality:
-Bostrom, K., & Bladholm, C. (2005). The day Scooter died. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zonderkidz
-Grippo, D., & Alley, R. (2008). When Mom or Dad dies: A book of comfort for kids. St. Meinrad, IN: One Caring Place.
-Hanson, W. (1997). The Next Place. Golden Valley: Waldman House Press.
-Innes, S., & Agocs, I. (2014). Life is like the wind. New York: Barron's Educational Series.
-Moser, B. (2008). Psalm 23. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan.
-Portnoy, M., & Haas, S. (2004). Where do people go when they die? Minneapolis, MN: Kar-Ben Pub.
-Shriver, M., & Speidel, S. (1999). What's heaven? New York: Golden Books.
-Stickney, D., & Hernandez, G. (1997). Water bugs and dragonflies: Explaining death to young children. Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press.
Expressions of grief and comfort in art, photography, and poetry:
-Clifton, L., & Grifalconi, A. (1983). Everett Anderson's goodbye. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.
-Thompson, L. (2008). Hope is an open heart. New York: Scholastic Press.
-Tillman, N. (2014). The heaven of animals. New York City: Feiwel And Friends Book, an Imprint of Macmillan.
Finding Courage When the Unthinkable Happens
Literacy to help child and family mourners of suicide and traumatic death:
-Holmes, M., & Pillo, C. (2000). A terrible thing happened. Washington, DC: Magination Press.
-Olivieri, L., & Elder, K. (2007). Where are you?: A child's book about loss. United States: Laura Olivieri.
-Sheppard, C., & Manikoff, J. (1998). Brave Bart: A story for traumatized and grieving children. Gross Pointe Woods, MI: Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children.
-Lindholm, A. (2001). After a suicide death: An activity book for grieving kids. Portland, Or.: Dougy Center.
Suicide Survivor and Trauma Support Resources for Adults:
-Requarth, M. (2006). After a parent's suicide: Helping children heal. Sebastopol, CA: Healing Hearts Press. By Margo Requarth
-Wolfelt, A. (2010). The wilderness of suicide grief finding your way. Fort Collins, Colo.: Companion.
Stories about death caused by natural disasters or attacks:
-Fredericks, A. D., & Yee, T. (2007). The tsunami quilt: Grandfather's story. Chelsea, Mich.: Sleeping Bear Press.
-Jackson, E., & Rotner, S. (2002). Sometimes bad things happen. Brookfield, Conn.: Millbrook Press.
Research-Based, Relevant Supports for Children and Families Within the Bereavement Support Community
Grief stories for teens and/or adults:
-Erlbruch, W. (2011), Duck, death and the tulip. Minneapolis: Lerner Publishing Group.
-Fried, A., & Gleich, J. (2007). Is Grandpa wearing a suit? Alhambra, Calif.: Heryin Books.
-Searl, E. (2006). Beyond absence: A treasury of poems, quotations, and readings on death and remembrance. Boston: Skinner House Books.
-Simon, N., & Rogers, J. (1986). The saddest time. Morton Grove, Ill.: A. Whitman.
Grief support kits and workbooks:
-Art With Heart, Art Therapy workbooks, healing kids with art. http://artwithheart.org/
-Lax, L. (2010). When families grieve Familias en la aflicción. New York: Sesame Street Workshop. Kit includes: Sesame Street DVD, A guide for Parents and Caregivers, and a Children’s Story. In English and Spanish.
sesamestreet.org/grief to download free materials
-Morrissey, P. (2013). Companioning the grieving child curriculum book activities to help children & teens heal. Fort Collins, CO: Companion Press. Patricia Morrissey, M.S. ED, forward by Alan D. Wolfelt, PH.D.
Support Resources for Adults
-55 ways to help a grieving child. (1999). Portland, OR: Dougy Center for Grieving Children.
-Amos, J. (2010). Death. New York City: Windmill Books.
-Fry, V. (1995). Part of Me Died, Too. New York: Dutton Children's Books.
-Grollman, E. (1967). Explaining death to children. Boston: Beacon Press.
-Grollman, E. (1995). Bereaved children and teens: A support guide for parents and professionals. Boston: Beacon Press.
-Kanyer, L. (2004). 25 things to do when grandpa passes away, mom and dad get divorced, or the dog dies: Activities to help children suffering loss or change. Seattle, Wash.,: Parenting Press.
-Krementz, J. (1981). How it feels when a parent dies. New York: Knopf.
-Mabey, J. (1998). Words to comfort, words to heal: Poems and meditations for those who grieve. Oxford: Oneworld Publications.
-Morrissey, P. (2013). Companioning the grieving child curriculum book activities to help children & teens heal. Fort Collins, CO: Companion Press.
-After a Loved One Died- How Children Grieve, New York Life Foundation, www.AChildInGrief.com
-Wolfelt, A. (2001). Healing a grieving child's heart: 100 practical ideas for families, friends & caregivers. Fort Collins, CO: Companion Press.
-Wolfelt, A. (2012). Loving from the outside in, mourning from the inside out. Fort Collins, Colo.: Companion Press.
-Wolfelt, A. (2012). Companioning the grieving child a soulful guide for caregivers. Fort Collins, CO: Companion Press.
-Wolfelt, A. (2013). Finding the Words How to Talk with Children and Teens about Death, Suicide, Homicide, Funerals, Cremation, and other E. Chicago: Companion Press.
-Worden, J. (1996). Children and grief: When a parent dies. New York: Guilford Press.
Copyright (2016) Suzanne Bayer. All Rights Reserved.