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Suggested books: Grief/death for children, preschool to 8 years

More grief resources for children

These resources can be used when explaining death to young children or helping them grieve the loss of a

General grief, explaining death

Aarvy Aardvark Finds Hope
by Donna O'Toole; Compassion Books, 1988
Available from Compassion Books

The Dead Bird
by Margaret Wise Brown; Harper & Row, 1938
This classic story about a funeral put on by a group of children continues to be republished.

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages
by Leo Buscaglia; Charles B. Slack, Inc. 1982
Available from Compassion Books

by Aliki; Mulberry Press, 1984

The Healing Tree
by Kathleen Maresh Hemery; The Centering Corporation, 2001

Helping Children Cope with the Loss of a Loved One: A Guide for Grown Ups
by William C. Kroen, PhD; Free Spirit Publishing, 1996

I Miss You: A First Look at Death
by Pat Thomas; Barron's Educational Series, 2001
This book gently explains death to children, ages 4 to 8.
Available from Compassion Books

Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children
by Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen; Bantam Books, 1987
This sensitive explanation describes death as part of nature: animals, birds, fish, insects and people.

When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death
by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown; Little, Brown and Company, 1996
This book takes a multicultural look at dying and the customs that surround it.

The Saddest Time
by Norma Simon; Albert Whitman & Company, 1992

Sad Isn't Bad: A Good-Grief Handbook for Children
by Michaelene Mundy; Abbey Press, 1998

Saying Goodbye
by Jim and Joan Boulden; Jim Boulden Press, 1997
Available from Compassion Books

Tear Soup by Pat Schweibert, Chuck DeKlyen; Grief Watch; Second Rev edition, 2001.

What is Heaven? by Maria Shriver; Golden Books Adult Publishing, 1999
In this book, Kate, a little girls whose great-grandma has died, seeks this answer.

When Someone Dies
by Sharon Greenlee; Peachtree Publishers, 1992
Available from Compassion Books

What is Death? by Etan Boritzer, 2000
Introduces children to the concept of death with examples of customs and beliefs from different religions and cultures.

Tell Me, Papa by Joy and Marv (Papa) Johnson, 2001
A gentle explanation for children about death and the funeral.

How I feel by Alan Wolfelt, Ph.D., 1996
A coloring book for grieving children.
Available from Centering Corporation

The Next Place by Warren Hanson, 1997.
A classic that brings gentle verse revealing a safe and welcome destination free from earthly hurts and filled with wonder and peace.

A Bunch of Balloons: A Book - Workbook for Grieving Children by Dorothy Ferguson Wofford (Author), Dorothy Ferguson (Author), Joy Johnson (Editor), Susanna Pitzer (Illustrator), 2006.
Compares loss of a loved one with the letting go of a helium balloon. It looks at not just what's been lost, but what sill is left.
Available from Centering Corporation

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Loss of a friend

Always and Forever
by Alan Durant and Debi Gilion; Harcourt Children's Books, 2004

Bear's Last Journey
by Udo Weigelt; Nord-Sud Verlag, 2003

If Nathan Were Here
by Mary Bahr; Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2000
This gentle story is about children mourning their friend, Nathan.
Available from Compassion Books

A Story for Hippo
by Simon Puttock and Alison Bartlett; Scholastic Press, 2001

Badger's Parting Gifts
by Susan Varley; Harper Trophy, 1992

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Loss of a grandparent

Finding Grandpa Everywhere
by John Hodge; Centering Corporation, 1998
A young child discovers memories of grandpa. This beautifully illustrated book has a section for parents or teachers.

Grandma's Scrapbook
by Josephine Nobisso; Gingerbread House, 2000
A scrapbook of memories reminds the reader of love and joy, as well as loss.
Available from Compassion Books

Grandpa Loved
by Josephine Nobisso; Gingerbread House, 2000
A grandson remembers all that Grandpa loved and realizes through memories that he loves many of the same things. Available from Compassion Books

Liplap's Wish
by Jonathon London; Chronicle Books, 1997
Liplap builds a snow bunny and longs for Grandma.

Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs
by Tomie dePaola; G.P. Putnam and Sons, 1973
Four year-old Tommy loves visiting his grandmother and his great-grandmother. But one day Tommy's mother tells him great-grandmother won't be there anymore.

Old Pig
by Margaret Wild; Puffin, 1999
Grandmother pig puts her affairs in order, takes a special walk with her granddaughter before she dies.

Poppy's Chair
by Karen Hesse; Macmillan, 1993
Leah visits Grandma after Grandpa's death.

Saying Goodbye to Grandma
by Jane Resh Thomas; Clarion Books, 1988
In this book by a Minnesota author, Suzie tells what happened at grandma's funeral.

What Happened When Grandma Died
by Peggy Barker; Concordia Publishing House, 1989
Written from a Christian perspective, this book is about a young girl whose grandma just died.

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Loss of a parent

The Brightest Star
by Kathleen Maresh Hemery; Centering Corporation, 1998
Molly was scared when her mother was ill and angry when she died. Molly is asked to draw her family and discovers the power of memories.
Available from Compassion Books

Daddy's Promise
by Cindy Klein Cohen; Promise Publishing Company, 1997
After Daddy's death, questions of where he is are answered by Mom's candor and dreams of seeing Dad in another place, then understanding car accident.

Everett Anderson's Goodbye
by Lucille Clifton; Henry Holt and Company, 1988
An African American boy deals with his father's death.

Geranium Morning
by E. Sandy Powell; Carolrhoda Books, 2001
A young boy's dad dies in an accident, plus his friend's mom is ill and dying.

I Heard Your Mommy Died
by Mark Scrivani; Centering Corporation, 1994
Available from Compassion Books

A Quilt for Elizabeth
by Bennette W. Tiffault; Centering Corporation, 1992
Grandmother and child make a quilt from Daddy's clothes.

Saying Goodbye to Daddy
by Judith Vigna; Albert Whitman & Company, 1991
Clare is helped by Grandpa and Mom after the death of her father in a car accident.
Available from Compassion Books

Sunflowers and Rainbows for Tia: Saying Goodbye to Daddy
by Alesia Alexander Green; Centering Corporation, 1999
A girl in an African American family deals with her dad's sudden death.

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Loss of a pet

by Connie Heckert; Clarion Books, 1994
An old cat comes into a family and later dies. The remaining cats miss the old one and are very sad but realize that death is part of life.

I'll Always Love You
by Hans Wilhelm; Dragonfly Books, 1988
A boy's dog dies, and the boy realizes that you never stop loving your dog -- or anyone -- even when they die.

The Tenth Good Thing about Barney
by Judith Viorst; Aladdin, 1987
This is a classic tale of cat's funeral.

When a Pet Dies
by Fred Rogers; G.P. Putnam and Sons, 1988
Available from Compassion Books

When Your Pet Dies
by Diane Pomerance, PhD; Polaire Publications, 2001

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Loss of a sibling

Lost and Found: Remembering a Sister
by Ellen Yeomans; Centering Corporation, 2000
A preschool girl expresses confusing feelings after the death of her sister.

Where's Jess?
by Joy and Marv Johnson; Centering Corporation, 1982
This simple book is for young children who have lost a baby brother or sister.
Available from Compassion Books

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Allina Health Grief Resources


Source: Allina Grief Resources

First published: 11/01/1998
Last updated: 11/04/2010

Reviewed by: Judy Young, M Ed, manager of education and bereavement, Allina Home & Community Services