6 Children’s Books to Help Understand Grief and Loss
Dealing with grief and loss is hard for anyone to process but especially children. To help children process their feelings about grief and loss, you could read books with them to help them better understand death. Whether it’s the death of a beloved parent or family pet, it’s important to help children process their feelings and understand what is happening.
Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola
Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs tells the story of young Tommy who has his grandmother and great-grandmother living with him. When his great-grandmother dies, Tommy must come to terms with losing someone he loves and saying goodbye.
Remembering Blue Fish by Becky Friedman
As a continuation of Mr. Rogers’ work, Remembering Blue Fish is a part of the Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Collection. In this story, Daniel Tiger’s pet fish passes away, and his parents teach him how important it is to ask any questions that you have and that it’s OK to be sad or mad.
Ida, Always by Caron Levis
Inspired by the friendship of two real-life polar bears, Ida, Always is the tale of two polar bear best friends, Ida and Gus. Ida becomes sick and dies, and Gus has to process his feelings and ultimately realizes that Ida will always be with him. When Gus visits particular places or hears certain sounds, he is reminded of the memories he has with Ida and that she will always be with him in his heart.
The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
The Invisible String is a powerful children’s book that helps children deal with anxiety and fear of abandonment after a loss. The mother in the story tells her children that each loved one is connected by an unbreakable invisible string (love) and that no matter where you go, the string (love) will always be there. The Invisible String collection also includes The Invisible String Workbook with coping activities for children The Invisible Leash to help children with the loss of a pet.
I Miss You: A First Look at Death by Pat Thomas
As part of the A First Look At series, I Miss You: A First Look at Death introduces the topic of death and loss in a simple way. When explaining loss to a young child, it can be hard to find words to explain it that children can understand, and this book does a superb job of introducing the topic of loss in a way that young children can comprehend and will lead them to ask their own questions.
The Memory Box: A Book About Grief by Joanna Rowland
To help children in the grieving process, The Memory Box: A Box About Grief encourages children to keep a special box filled with mementos that remind them of the person who died. This book’s narrator is a young child who encourages other children to create a space filled with memories that children can open when they miss their loved one.
We hope these book recommendations will be helpful tools for your family. We know that reading books about grief and loss can help to facilitate open communication with your child about death and dying. Being open and honest with your child about death and dying allows them the opportunity to better understand what is happening in their world and process their feelings.
–by Valerie Cox
Valerie Cox is a contributing writer for George Boom Funeral Home. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, playing with her dog, and volunteering in her local community.