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When Children Grieve

After the death of a loved one, thoughtful stories shared with loving adults can help children navigate the grieving process. Check out the titles below for gentle, validating examples of children faced with loss.


The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers
Amazon Says: There is a wonder and magic to childhood. We don’t realize it at the time, of course . . . yet the adults in our lives do. They encourage us to see things in the stars, to more...
Amazon Says: There is a wonder and magic to childhood. We don’t realize it at the time, of course . . . yet the adults in our lives do. They encourage us to see things in the stars, to find joy in colors and laughter as we play. But what happens when that special someone who encourages such wonder and magic is no longer around? We can hide, we can place our heart in a bottle and grow up . . . or we can find another special someone who understands the magic. And we can encourage them to see things in the stars, find joy among colors and laughter as they play. Oliver Jeffers delivers a remarkable book, a tale of poignancy and resonance reminiscent of The Giving Tree that will speak to the hearts of children and parents alike. Watch a Video less...
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Remembering Crystal by Sebastian Loth
Amazon Says: A beautifully written and illustrated book that introduces a big subject to little ones Crystal had lived in the garden for many years. She was growing old. Zelda was just st more...
Amazon Says: A beautifully written and illustrated book that introduces a big subject to little ones Crystal had lived in the garden for many years. She was growing old. Zelda was just starting out in life. They were best friends. They read books together. They took trips together. And they talked about everything. But one day Crystal was not in the garden. She had died. In this gentle story, children learn, with Zelda, that true friendship is a gift that doesn’t die. less...
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Amazon Says: FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. Four-year-old Tommy enjoys his relationship with both his grandmother and great-grandmother, but eventually learns to face their inevita more...
Amazon Says: FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. Four-year-old Tommy enjoys his relationship with both his grandmother and great-grandmother, but eventually learns to face their inevitable death. less...
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Badger's Parting Gifts by Susan Varley
Amazon Says: Badger's friends are sad when he dies but treasure the memories he left them. "The gentle message holds particular validity for children and is conveyed in a tenderhearted. .. more...
Amazon Says: Badger's friends are sad when he dies but treasure the memories he left them. "The gentle message holds particular validity for children and is conveyed in a tenderhearted. ..manner."-- Book1ist. less...
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If Nathan Were Here by Mary Bahr
Amazon Says: In "If Nathan Were Here", author Mary Bahr gently explores the grief of a young boy whose best friend has died. With the help of an understanding teacher, a kind neighbor, and more...
Amazon Says: In "If Nathan Were Here", author Mary Bahr gently explores the grief of a young boy whose best friend has died. With the help of an understanding teacher, a kind neighbor, and an empathetic parent, the boy finds ways to give expression to his questions and sorrow and to reach out to someone else who needs him. Mary Bahr's evocative text conveys a child's grief with honesty and sensitivity, while Karen Jerome's soft watercolors poignantly capture the tender nature of children's friendships. less...
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Molly's Rosebush by Janice, D.S.W. Cohn
Amazon Says: When the new baby they've been expecting isn't strong enough to be born, Molly and her family find different ways to express their feelings and comfort each other. more...
Amazon Says: When the new baby they've been expecting isn't strong enough to be born, Molly and her family find different ways to express their feelings and comfort each other. less...
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I Remember Miss Perry by Pat Brisson
Amazon Says: It’s his first day at a new school, and Stevie is scared.Who will he talk to at lunchtime? But his teacher says, "It is my fondest wish that you join me for lunch today, Ste more...
Amazon Says: It’s his first day at a new school, and Stevie is scared.Who will he talk to at lunchtime? But his teacher says, "It is my fondest wish that you join me for lunch today, Stevie."And with that, a bad day becomes a good one. Miss Perry always has a new fondest wish—something new to read, sing, celebrate. But then an awful thing happens: Miss Perry dies in a car accident, and everything is suddenly sad and complicated.Yet Stevie and his classmates must find their way to happiness again. It would surely be Miss Perry’s fondest wish. Pat Brisson and Stéphane Jorisch have created a poignant story, appropriate for children coping with a teacher’s death or in need of comfort after any loss. Readers of all ages will be affected by its depth and honesty, and buoyed by its capacity for joy. less...
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Goodbye Mousie by Robie H. Harris
Amazon Says: When I woke up this morning, I tickled Mousie's tummy. But Mousie didn't wake up. When a child learns that his pet mouse has died, at first he can't believe it. "Mousie is N more...
Amazon Says: When I woke up this morning, I tickled Mousie's tummy. But Mousie didn't wake up. When a child learns that his pet mouse has died, at first he can't believe it. "Mousie is NOT dead!" he insists. "He's just...very...very sleepy this morning." But it takes time for the young narrator to understand that Mousie IS dead and he's not coming back. With the help of his family, the child finds out that it's perfectly okay to feel angry and sad when his pet mouse -- whom he loves -- dies. By voicing his feelings and asking questions, he finally begins to accept Mousie's death. Beautifully told by award-winning author Robie H. Harris and gently illustrated by world-renowned artist Jan Ormerod, Goodbye Mousie is a perfect book with which to help children cope with loss. less...
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Saying Goodbye to Lulu by Corinne Demas
Amazon Says: A young girl and her lovable dog, Lulu, are the best of friends. They play games together, explore their neighborhood, and even cuddle up to read bedtime stories each night. L more...
Amazon Says: A young girl and her lovable dog, Lulu, are the best of friends. They play games together, explore their neighborhood, and even cuddle up to read bedtime stories each night. Lulu is the best dog a girl could ever hope for, but when she grows older and gradually becomes weak, the little girl must face the sad possibility of losing her dear friend, and inevitably, cope with the death of her canine companion. Though she is deeply saddened by Lulu's passing and misses her very much, over time the little girl discovers that the sweet memory of her beloved Lulu will live on forever... in her heart. With realistic, hopeful illustrations by Ard Hoyt, this tender tale offers an accessible lens to young children learning to understand and cope with the mixed emotions that come with the loss of a loved one. less...
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Amazon Says: 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 more...
Amazon Says: 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. less...
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The Best Cat in the World by Leslea Newman
Amazon Says: Even the best cat in the world doesn't live forever, and Victor is very sad when his beloved cat, Charlie, dies. His mother suggests getting a new cat, but Victor isn't so sur more...
Amazon Says: Even the best cat in the world doesn't live forever, and Victor is very sad when his beloved cat, Charlie, dies. His mother suggests getting a new cat, but Victor isn't so sure. Finally, when the vet tells Victor she has another cat that really needs a home, Victor agrees to give the new cat a chance. But the new cat, Shelley, isn't like Charlie. She doesn't look like Charlie, or act like Charlie, or like to do the things Charlie used to do. With all these differences, is there any chance that Victor can learn to accept and love Shelley? Leslea Newman's gentle story honors the full range of a child's feelings after losing a favorite pet, while Ron Himler's soft pencil and watercolor illustrations capture Victor's poignant emotions as well as the playful antics of his new kitten. less...
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Desser the Best Ever Cat by Maggie Smith
Amazon Says: A heartwarming and cathartic book for anyone who has ever loved, and lost, a cat. This is the story of a cat, told by the little girl who loved him best. From his first plai more...
Amazon Says: A heartwarming and cathartic book for anyone who has ever loved, and lost, a cat. This is the story of a cat, told by the little girl who loved him best. From his first plaintive mew to his last loving purr, Desser was an essential member of the family. And for the little girl, especially, he was a constant companion. He was the catalyst for her first steps, thrilled when she got her first big bed, and he was waiting for her after her first day of school. But as the girl grows bigger, Desser grows older. And eventually it is time to say good-bye. Still, by telling his story and remembering him well, the girl finds a way to keep him alive in her heart. With the simplest words and truly adorable illustrations, Maggie Smith captures the special bond we have with our pets and offers a helpful method for coping with their loss. less...
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Everett Anderson's Goodbye by Lucille Clifton
Amazon Says: Everett Anderson's Goodbye is a touching portrait of a little boy who is trying to come to grips with his father's death. Lucille Clifton captures Everett's conflicting emotio more...
Amazon Says: Everett Anderson's Goodbye is a touching portrait of a little boy who is trying to come to grips with his father's death. Lucille Clifton captures Everett's conflicting emotions as he confronts this painful reality. We see him struggle through many stages, from denial and anger to depression and, finally, acceptance. In this spare and moving poem, the last in this acclaimed series, Lucille Clifton brings Everett Anderson's life full circle. Everett Anderson's Goodbye is the winner of the 1984 Coretta Scott King Author Award. A Reading Rainbow Selection An NCTE Teachers' Choice less...
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My Father's Arms Are A Boat by Stein Erik Lunde
Amazon Says: It's quieter than it's ever been. Unable to sleep, a young boy climbs into his father's arms. Feeling the warmth and closeness of his father, he begins to ask questions about more...
Amazon Says: It's quieter than it's ever been. Unable to sleep, a young boy climbs into his father's arms. Feeling the warmth and closeness of his father, he begins to ask questions about the birds, the foxes, and whether his mom will ever wake up. They go outside under the starry sky. Loss and love are as present as the white spruces, while the father's clear answers and assurances calm his worried son. Here we feel the cycles of life and life's continuity, even in the face of absence and loss, so strongly and clearly that we know at the end that everything will, somehow, be all right.Born in 1953, Stein Erik Lunde has written sixteen books, mostly for children and young adults. His books have been published in many countries. This is his first book to be published in the United States. He also writes lyrics and has translated Bob Dylan into Norwegian. In 2009 My Father's Arms Are A Boat was awarded the Norwegian Ministry's Culture Prize for the Best Book for Children and Youth. The book was also nominated for the 2011 German Children's Literature Award.Born in 1972, Øyvind Torseter is an artist and one of Norway's most acclaimed illustrators. He employs both traditional and digital picture techniques. Torseter has received numerous prizes for many of his books. In 2011 he received the Norwegian Book Art Prize. For 2012 he has been nominated for the ALMA Award and the Hans Christian Andersen Award. less...
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Amazon Says: Some time ago, we said good-bye to Mommy. I am not sure where she has gone.Honest and straightforward, this touching story explores the many emotions a bereaved child may expe more...
Amazon Says: Some time ago, we said good-bye to Mommy. I am not sure where she has gone.Honest and straightforward, this touching story explores the many emotions a bereaved child may experience, from anger and guilt to sadness and bewilderment. Ultimately, Missing Mommy focuses on the positive—the recognition that the child is not alone but still part of a family that loves and supports him. less...
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Some of the Pieces by Melissa Madenski
Amazon Says: It has been a year since Dylan's father died, and Dylan, his younger sister and their mum spend time telling stories about dad and sharing their memories of him. They talk abo more...
Amazon Says: It has been a year since Dylan's father died, and Dylan, his younger sister and their mum spend time telling stories about dad and sharing their memories of him. They talk about their feelings and of how the pain of missing dad gradually lessens as their joy in remembering him grows stronger. less...
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