Books are one of the best ways to open the door on a topic, to start a discussion with your children about tough issues.
Reading a story about the death of a loved one, a family pet, or even a leaf in autumn, can help young children begin to understand that death is a part of life. There are many poignant and powerful books about grief and death for children.
We've listed some of the best books here for you and your family to share.
Children's Picture Books:
If Nathan Were Here
By Mary Bahr Fritts
A young boy grieves the loss of his best friend and thinks about how things would be if he were still alive.
The Goodbye Book
by Todd Parr
Illustrations and brief text relate how a person might feel when they lose someone they love.
The Breaking News
by Sarah Lynne Reul
When devastating news rattles a young girl's community, her normally attentive parents and neighbors are suddenly exhausted and distracted. At school, her teacher tells the class to look for the helpers-the good people working to make things better in big and small ways.
Maybe Dying is Like Becoming a Butterfly
by Pimm van Hest
A philosophical conversation about death from the author of I Give You My Heart. "Are you going to die, Grandpa?" "Someday, sweetheart. But I hope not too soon." Their simple exchange covers a lot of philosophical ground.
The Thing About Jellyfish
by Ali Benjamin
Twelve-year-old Suzy Swanson wades through her intense grief over the loss of her best friend by investigating the rare jellyfish she is convinced was responsible for her friend's death.
Bridge to Terabithia
by Katherine Paterson
Jess Aarons has been practicing all summer so he can be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. And he almost is, until the new girl in school, Leslie Burke, outpaces him. The two become fast friends and spend most days in the woods behind Leslie's house, where they invent an enchanted land called Terabithia. One morning, Leslie goes to Terabithia without Jess and a tragedy occurs. It will take the love of his family and the strength that Leslie has given him for Jess to be able to deal with his grief.
Each Little Bird That Sings
by Deborah Wiles
Comfort Snowberger is well acquainted with death since her family runs the funeral parlor in their small southern town, but even so the ten-year-old is unprepared for the series of heart-wrenching events that begins on the first day of Easter vacation with the sudden death of her beloved great-uncle Edisto.
History is All You Left Me
by Adam Silvera
Secrets are revealed as OCD-afflicted Griffin grieves for his first love, Theo, who died in a drowning accident.
Everything All at Once
by Katrina Leno
When her struggles with anxiety worsen in the aftermath of a family death, Lottie is bequeathed a series of letters from her late aunt, a best-selling author, who leaves instructions to help Lottie overcome her fears and explore her own literary voice.
A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness
Thirteen-year-old Conor awakens one night to find a monster outside his bedroom window, but not the one from the recurring nightmare that began when his mother became ill--an ancient, wild creature that wants him to face truth and loss.
We Are Okay
by Nina LaCour
After leaving her life behind to go to college in New York, Marin must face the truth about the tragedy that happened in the final weeks of summer when her friend Mabel comes to visit.
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
by Erika L. Sanchez
Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents' house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga's role. Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.
by Jennifer Brown
In the aftermath of a tornado that has devastated her hometown of Elizabeth, Missouri, sixteen-year-old Jersey Cameron struggles to overcome her grief as she is sent to live with her only surviving relatives.
They Both Die at the End
by Adam Silvera
In a near-future New York City where a service alerts people on the day they will die, teenagers Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio meet using the Last Friend app and are faced with the challenge of living a lifetime on their End Day.
Need a more personalized recommendation? Call 929-3434 to talk with our Children's Room or Teen Center staff to find the right book for your family.