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Death and Dying Books for Children

Therapist recommended books on loss, grief, and dying.

The Goodbye Book Cover Image
By Todd Parr, Todd Parr (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780316404976
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - November 3rd, 2015

From bestselling author Todd Parr, a poignant and reassuring story about loss.

Death Is Stupid (Ordinary Terrible Things) Cover Image
By Anastasia Higginbotham (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781558619258
Availability: Special Order
Published: Feminist Press - April 12th, 2016

"She's in a better place now," adults say again and again. But mortality doesn't seem better, it seems stupid. This forthright exploration of grief and mourning recognizes the anger, confusion, and fear that we feel about death.

The Rough Patch Cover Image
By Brian Lies, Brian Lies (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062671271
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Greenwillow Books - August 14th, 2018

A Caldecott Honor Book

An ALA Notable Book

A breathtakingly beautiful and luminescent book that is pitch-perfect for anyone of any age who has experienced any type of loss or disappointment, from New York Times–bestselling picture book creator Brian Lies.

What Happens When a Loved One Dies?: Our First Talk about Death (Just Enough) Cover Image
By Jillian Roberts, Cindy Revell (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781459809451
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Orca Book Publishers - April 5th, 2016

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.

Winner of a Moonbeam Children's Book Award 2017 Death is a difficult topic for any parent or educator to explain to a child, perhaps even more so when the child has Autism Spectrum Disorder or other Special Needs. This book is designed specifically to help children with these additional needs to understand what happens when someone dies.

The Dead Bird Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060289317
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - March 1st, 2016

A New York Times Best Illustrated Book

This heartwarming classic picture book by beloved children’s book author Margaret Wise Brown is gorgeously reillustrated for a contemporary audience by the critically acclaimed, award-winning illustrator Christian Robinson.

The Tenth Good Thing About Barney Cover Image
By Judith Viorst, Erik Blegvad (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780689712036
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - September 30th, 1987

My cat Barney died this Friday. I was very sad. My mother said we could have a funeral for him, and I should think of ten good things about Barney so I could tell them...
But the small boy who loved Barney can only think of nine. Later, while talking with his father, he discovers the tenth -- and begins to understand.

When Something Terrible Happens: Children Can Learn to Cope with Grief (Drawing Out Feelings) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780962050237
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Woodland Press (MN) - July 23rd, 1996

Creates ways for children to explore the fright, confusion, and insecurity caused by traumatic events in their lives. The 'Drawing Out Feelings' series has been designed to provide parents, educators and counselors with an organized approach to helping children cope with grief, family loss and change. A workbook to help children work out feelings about a traumatic event.

When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death (Dino Tales: Life Guides for Families) Cover Image
By Laurie Krasny Brown, Marc Brown (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780316119559
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 1st, 1998

Straightforward and compassionate, When Dinosaurs Die explains death, dying, and coping with grief and loss in simple and accessible language for young kids and families.

The Best Cat in the World Cover Image
By Leslea Newman, Ronald Himler (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780802852946
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers - January 26th, 2006

A young boy deals with the loss of his beloved cat Charlie, eventually accepting the arrival of another, very different cat.

Cat Heaven Cover Image
By Cynthia Rylant (Illustrator), Cynthia Rylant (Illustrator), Cynthia Rylant
ISBN: 9780590100540
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Blue Sky Press - August 1st, 1997

"The way to Cat Heaven is a field of sweet grass, where crickets and butterflies play!"

Dog Heaven Cover Image
ISBN: 9780590417013
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Blue Sky Press - August 1st, 1995

In Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant's classic bestseller, the author comforts readers young and old who have lost a dog,  as she did for cats in the bestselling companion book, CAT HEAVEN. Recommended highly by pet lovers around the world, DOG HEAVEN not only comforts but also brings a tear to anyone who is devoted to a pet.

Healing Your Grieving Heart for Kids: 100 Practical Ideas (Healing Your Grieving Heart series) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781879651272
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Companion Press - April 1st, 2001

With sensitivity and insight, this series offers suggestions for healing activities that can help survivors learn to express their grief and mourn naturally. Acknowledging that death is a painful, ongoing part of life, they explain how people need to slow down, turn inward, embrace their feelings of loss, and seek and accept support when a loved one dies.

The Next Place Cover Image
By Warren Hanson, Warren Hanson (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780931674327
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Waldman House Press - August 5th, 2002

A classic, The Next Place brings gentle verse revealing a safe and welcome destination free from earthly hurts and filled with wonder and peace. A comforting message of hope and a gift of compassion for the bereaved. Exquisite, color illustrations.

Samantha Jane's Missing Smile: A Story about Coping with the Loss of a Parent Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781591478096
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Magination Press - April 1st, 2007

Since Samantha Jane's dad died, she has been sad and quiet, keeping to herself. One day, her neighbor Mrs Cooper gently asks her about her missing smile, and Sammy Jane begins to open up about her grief, her worries, and her confusion. Sammy Jane's mother joins her daughter, and helps her further with accepting and responding to her profound loss.

Talking about Death: A Dialogue between Parent and Child Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807023617
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Beacon Press - September 6th, 2011

Why do people die? How do you explain the loss of a loved one to a child? This book is a compassionate guide for adults and children to read together, featuring a read-along story and answers to questions children ask about death.

Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss Cover Image
ISBN: 9780961519766
Availability: Backordered
Published: Grief Watch - April 9th, 2007

In this modern-day fable, a woman who has suffered a terrible loss cooks up a special batch of tear soup, blending the unique ingredients of her life into the grief process. Along the way she dispenses a recipe of sound advice for people who are in mourning.

When Someone Very Special Dies: Children Can Learn to Cope with Grief (Drawing Out Feelings) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780962050206
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Woodland Press (MN) - July 23rd, 1996

This book was designed to teach basic concepts of death and help children understand and express the many feelings they have when someone special dies. Communication is increased and coping skills are developed as they illustrate their books with their personal story.

Badger's Parting Gifts Cover Image
By Susan Varley, Susan Varley (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780688115180
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - July 16th, 1992

"The gentle message holds particular validity for children and is conveyed in a tenderhearted manner." Booklist

“Warm and sensitive.” Publishers Weekly

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages Cover Image
ISBN: 9780943432892
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Slack Incorporated - June 1st, 1982

This story by Leo Buscaglia is a warm, wonderfully wise and strikingly simple story about a leaf names Freddie.

Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories (The Kissing Hand Series) Cover Image
By Audrey Penn, Barbara Gibson (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781933718293
Availability: Special Order
Published: Tanglewood - August 15th, 2009

Chester Raccoon's good friend Skiddel Squirrel has had an accident and will not be returning - ever. Chester is upset that he won't get to play with his friend anymore. Mrs. Raccoon suggests that Chester and his friends create some memories of Skiddel, so that they will have good memories when they miss him.

I Miss You: A First Look at Death (First Look At...Series) Cover Image
By Pat Thomas, Leslie Harker (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780764117640
Availability: Backordered
Published: B.E.S. - January 1st, 2001

When a close friend or family member dies, it can be difficult for children to express their feelings. 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.