Books about Grief and Loss

I Miss You: A First Look at Death  by Pat Thomas

This book discusses why people die, the funeral, the thoughts and questions that come into a child’s mind when someone special dies.  It explains the feelings that a child would have after a death and normalizes those feelings.  Excellent book.  (K – Gr 5)


When Someone Very Special Dies: Children Can Learn to Cope with Grief  

by Marge Heegaard

Art therapy/workbook for children to draw pictures that encourage dealing with feelings around the death of a special person.  It begins with ideas about death as part of the process of life.  It brings up some of the worries and thinking that children might have around the death of someone special.  It ends with focus on child’s need for safety, security, and being cared for.  (Gr 1 - 7)


Help Me Say Goodbye   by Janis Silverman

Art therapy/workbook for children to draw pictures that encourage dealing with feelings around death of a special person.  This book begins before the special person dies and helps prepare children for a death.  The funeral is discussed on two pages.  There is a list of “helpful suggestions” in the middle of the book.  It introduces suggestions about making a “feelings book” and also a “memory book”, as well as a “memory box”. (Gr 1–7)


Gentle Willow: A Story for Children About Dying   by Joyce C. Mills, PhD

This is a story about a squirrel and a tree, and the death of their friend, Gentle Willow tree.  The friends try to prevent Gentle Willow’s death, but they can’t.  Gentle Willow was afraid of dying.  The squirrel told the story of the caterpillar becoming a butterfly to Gentle Willow before he died.        (K – Gr 3)


When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death  by Marc and Laurie Krasny Brown

This book answers many questions that children may have about death and the grieving process after death.  It talks through the dinosaur characters about what being alive is and what being dead is.  It explores feelings and reactions about death and discusses a variety of customs around saying goodbye to the person who died.  (Gr 1-4)


Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing after Loss  by Pat Schwiebert & Chuck DeKlyen

Grandy suffered a big loss in her life and she makes Tear Soup to cope with her loss.  An excellent book about the grief process and the stages that a person in grief goes through.  It includes a Recipe for Tear Soup and Cooking Tips.  (Gr 6 – adult)