Here to Help: Books about Death & Grieving

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By sharing stories together and having conversations about the books you read, you can help young children understand the world around them. Seeing diverse experiences represented in books helps children to explore their own identities and develop empathy for others.

Losing a loved one is especially confusing and difficult for young children. These books may help a young child faced with the death & grieving process.

Not every book is available at all locations, but any title can be requested. The children’s librarian at your neighborhood library is also here to help, with suggestions for additional titles on topics of interest–or feel free to suggest some titles to us.  New books are always being added to the collection.

 

The Funeral

Norma and her parents are going to her great-uncle Frank’s funeral, and Norma is more excited than sad. She is looking forward to playing with her favorite cousin, Ray, but when she arrives at the church, she is confronted with rituals and ideas that have never occurred to her before. While not all questions can be answered, when the day is over Norma is certain of one thing: Uncle Frank would have enjoyed his funeral. This sensitive and life-affirming story will lead young readers to ask their own questions about life, death and how we remember those who have gone before us.

Goodbye Mousie

A boy grieves for his dead pet Mousie, helps to bury him, and begins to come to terms with his loss.

Grandma's Gloves

When her grandmother, a devoted gardener, dies, a little girl inherits her gardening gloves and feels closer to her memory.

The Heart and the Bottle

After safeguarding her heart in a bottle hung around her neck, a girl finds the bottle growing heavier and her interest in things around her becoming smaller.

Holes In the Sky

Soon after her beloved grandmother’s death, Trisha’s family moves to a diverse California neighborhood where she meets Stewart and his grandmother, Miss Eula, who brings people together to help a grieving neighbor.

Ida, Always

A polar bear grieves over the loss of his companion, based on the real-life Gus and Ida of New York’s Central Park Zoo.

Missing Mommy

Daddy comforts and reassures a very young boy after Mommy dies.

The Purple Balloon

Easy-to-read text reveals that dying is hard work, for the old and especially the young, and how good it is that so many people help when a person dies, from medical staff to clergy and friends to family members.

Remembering Crystal

Zelda is a young duck that lives in the garden. Her friend Crystal is a turtle who is growing old. The two do many things together. One day Crystal is not in the garden. But friendship never dies.

Sammy in the Sky

A little girl tells about her special pet, Sammy, “the best hound dog in the whole world,” and how, after he becomes sick and dies, she comes to know the truth of her mother’s words, that Sammy’s spirit is everywhere.

The Scar

When his mother dies, a little boy is angry at his loss but does everything he can to hold onto the memory of her scent, her voice, and the special things she did for him, even as he tries to help his father and grandmother cope.

Sweet, Sweet Memory

A child and her grandmother feel sad when Grandpa dies, but as time passes, funny memories of him make them laugh and feel better.

Up in Heaven

Daisey, the dog, becomes old and dies, but she appears in dreams to Arthur to help him accept her death.

What Happens When A Loved One Dies? Our First Talk About Death

Whether children are experiencing grief and loss for the first time or simply curious, it can be difficult to know how to talk to them about death. Using questions posed in a child’s voice and answers that start simply and become more in-depth, this book allows adults to guide the conversation to a natural and reassuring conclusion. Additional questions at the back of the book allow for further discussion.