How to Help Your Child Cope with Death Using Books

Books are always a wonderful way to help children (and adults) to cope with death (amongst other things!). After a long search on the internet, here is a short list of books that come highly recommended to share with your children. These books have great reviews and are all good for different reasons and for different circumstances.

You know your child best! It is often a good idea to read a book from start to finish before reading it with your child to be sure that you feel comfortable sharing the story and information with your child.

Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children
Lifetimes: A Beautiful Way to Explain Life and Death to Children
by Bryan Mellonie

This is a book for children of all ages, even adults will benefit from reading this book. This book helps to explain death in a very sensitive and gentle manner.

Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs
Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs
by Tomie dePaola

A four year old boy, Tommy learns that one of his Nana’s dies. This book walks you through how a young boy struggles to let go of his Nana that he loved so much.

Badger''s Parting Gifts
Badger’s Parting Gifts
by Susan Varley

“a gentle and touching lesson about loss, mourning, and the ongoing power of friendship”

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

“This book helps boys and girls understand that death is a natural complement to life, and that grief and a sense of loss are normal feelings for them to have following a loved one’s death.”

The Tenth Good Thing about Barney
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney
by Judith Viorst

This book is about Barney, a cat that died. Reading this book to children might help them learn how to cope with the death of a pet or loved one.

When Your Grandparent Dies: A Child”s Guide To Good Grief
When Your Grandparent Dies
by Victoria Ryan

This book is self explanatory, but of note, it has been suggested for a wide age range.

This post is dedicated to two of my friends, who recently have lost a loved one. It is so hard to explain death to your child and to help them understand it. I hope that some of these books may help you and your family.

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11 Responses to How to Help Your Child Cope with Death Using Books

  1. Guppy says:

    Thank you for this post. My FIL passed away 2 months ago and my 9 yr old was very close to him. I never thought of finding age appropriate books for him to process it all. Very helpful idea!

  2. Hey A..thanks for this post. Would you believe that i haven’t even told my girls yet? I’ll do it thursday when they get back home 🙁

  3. My kids are learning about this as our pets age. We had two elderly cats put to sleep last year and I told them about the rainbow bridge, now our dog is coming close to her life’s end and this one is tougher on them as they are older (3&5)I love the idea of a book to share this with them in a way they can relate to. They still think our cats might come back so figuring a gentle way to explain the finality of it to them with a book is perfect. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. S. Franklin says:

    Very difficult subject. You really have to assess the age and emotional maturity of the child. I work as a hospice nurse so, unfortunately, this comes up more often than I’d like.

  5. SASS… Thanks for the link up! My friend recently asked me what books to get her daughter to help with the loss in the family. What a good resource. I need to bookmark this post.

    Julie@ Naptime Review

  6. Tasha W says:

    This is a wonderful way to teach children how to cope with death. I honestly didn’t even know there was books out there like this, until I read this post. Very informative! I will definitely keep these in mind when I have kids someday:) SASS

  7. Thank you for an excellent post. I don’t have children of my own, but I have many nieces and nephews. These are good books to keep in mind not just for parents!

    Visiting from SASS:

  8. Patricia says:

    Some great recommendations of books for children.

    Thank you

  9. JeannetteNL says:

    The list of books in your review sound terrific. When my husband passed away, I also used books as one of the ways to help them through it. Death can be devastating for adults and one can only imagine what it does to children. My 2 oldest boys were 12 and 14 when their father died, unfortunately at his own hand and it all but destroyed them. They are now 28 and 25 and still have residual issues from that time. We all know that eventually our children will be touched by death even though we would like to protect them from it. Thanks for the great list of books!

  10. Victoria S says:

    Thanks for writing on this important topic. I think a lot of parents, mine included, tend to avoid addressing the topic entirely, and finding ways to help kids process death is definitely helpful.

  11. Pingback: Tragedy: Talking to Your Child About Difficult Situations

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