Books About Grief

We recently attended the service of one of our beloved family members and I can’t put into words the devastation I felt. Grief is such a difficult emotion that everyone processes differently and while I really struggled with it, I had an especially hard time talking to my children about it

Naturally, I turned to books, which proved to be an easier way for me to open up a conversation about loss and remembering loved ones.

I’ve compiled a list of books that focus on this complex subject and while I hope this is a list that you never need to turn to, I hope you feel comforted knowing that there are resources available.

 

That’s Me Loving You by Amy Krouse Rosenthal; illustrated by Teagan White, 2016

(Ages 3 and up)

This simple, but powerful book reassures readers that the unbreakable bond between a parent and child is eternal and ever present regardless of physical proximity. The charming illustrations displaying a variety of diverse children perfectly compliment the comforting text.

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Always Remember by Cece Meng; illustrated by Jago, 2016

(Ages 4 and up)

Old Sea Turtle may be gone, but his legacy lives on in the memory of his friends. Striking underwater scenes capture how Old Sea Turtle’s kind actions greatly impacted his friends and how they will always remember him as a wonderful teacher, brave explorer, and most of all, as a caring friend. This gentle and hopeful book helps children realize that while our loved ones may not be physically here any longer, part of them will always remain with us.

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Grandpa’s Stories: A Book of Remembering by Joseph Coelho and Allison Colpays, 2019

(Ages 4 and up)

Heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time, this is a beautiful story of the love between a grandparent and grandchild. Gorgeous illustrations and touching text follow a girl and her grandfather through the seasons as they explore, play, and create together. In winter, the grandfather shares stories of his youth until the day he passes away. After finding a notebook her grandfather left for her, the girl honors him by recording their memories together.

The colorful illustrations and hopeful ending add an uplifting element to the book providing a feeling of reassurance during a time of loss.

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Maybe Tomorrow? by Charlotte Agell; illustrated by Ana Ramírez González, 2019

(Ages 4 and up)

A metaphorical block that represents depression or grief is tethered to poor Elba. When an exuberant alligator named Norris befriends her, he sits quietly with her and listens when she reveals that she misses her friend Little Bird. While Elba feels that she may always have her block, she is comforted by Norris’ friendship. He helps her carry her block until it eventually shrinks and becomes lighter. This touching story helps children recognize grief and feel reassured and hopeful that sharing their sadness with a friend can help them heal.

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Ocean Meets Sky by The Fan Brothers, 2018

(Ages 4 and up)

With its stunning fantastical illustrations and poignant story about love, loss, and moving on.  This elegantly told tale follows Finn, who honors the memory of his grandfather by building a boat on what would have been his grandfather’s 90th birthday. Finn dreams that the boat will sail him to the mysterious place his grandfather told stories about where ocean meets sky. Readers will not be able to look away from the gorgeous dreamlike illustrations of The Fan Brothers.  

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Boats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley, 2015

(Ages 5 and up)

This tender tale uses soft watercolors to capture the sweet and somber tone of this heart-felt story. Buckley and his mother live together on the beach together leading a simple, but loving life. When Buckley finds driftwood on his birthday, he builds a boat and sends it out to sea with a note for his Papa who he misses dearly. Over time, Buckley sends numerous boats only to discover that his mother has been finding the boats and putting them away. In its own way, this helps Buckley heal and find an even deeper connection with his mother.

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When Sadness Is At Your Door by Eva Eland, 2019

(Ages 4 and up)

In this standout picture book, sadness is personified as a blue bloblike creature. The way it makes children feel is brilliantly demonstrated using simple illustrations paired with sparse text. The book encourages children to partake in quiet activities like drawing or listening to music when sad.  One of the main take-aways from the book is that it is okay to welcome sadness and that it may disappear as unexpectedly as it arrived. This is a book that will be appreciated by adults as well as children.  

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The Funeral by Matt James, 2018

This unique story presents a funeral from a child’s perspective. When Norma attends the service celebrating her great-uncle Frank’s life, she has a mix of emotions. She knows she is supposed to be sad, but she is happy to see her favorite cousin. While she spends most of the day playing, she reflects on the memorial and believes her great-uncle Frank would be happy.

While this story doesn’t exactly focus on grief, it does open discussions on what children can expect when attending a funeral.

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The Rough Patch by Brian Lies, 2018

(Ages 6 and up)

This Caldecott Honor book beautifully captures the heart-wrenching loss felt after the death of a beloved pet.

Evan and his dog did everything together, but their favorite activity was working in the garden. When his pet passes away, Evan’s feelings of bitterness and anger are brilliantly captured in the vivid illustrations of prickly weeds that invade his garden. When he unexpectantly discovers a pumpkin in the overgrowth, he enters it in a state fair with surprising results.

The death of a pet is difficult for anyone to experience, especially a child, but books as poignant as this gorgeous offering can help readers better understand the mourning process.

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For more books on this difficult subject, visit my Amazon Storefront HERE.

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