There are Some Books to Help Children with
Grief and Loss
This is the book list parents hope they will never need, but it's an important one nonetheless. These books are valuable resources for talking to children about love, illness, death, and the stages of grief — all of which are abstract concepts that can be difficult for children, especially young ones, to grasp.
Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman is a beautiful, heartfelt exploration of the unconditional love that a parent has for a child, even when they cannot be together. While death is not explicitly mentioned, this book is a lovely resource for offering reassurance to children who have experienced the loss of a parent
I’ll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm explores the love between humans and their pets through the story shared by a young narrator about his dog, Elfie, and their life together. The book shows the boy caring for Elfie as she ages and his family’s grief when she dies of old age. The boy is sad that Elfie is gone but consoles himself that his dog always knew how much she was loved.
Ida, Always by Caron Levis shares the beautiful story of two city zoo polar bears, Gus and Ida, and their feelings when Ida becomes sick with an illness that cannot be healed and later dies. It beautifully explores the turbulent range of emotions felt when a loved one becomes terminally ill, with a focus on making the most of the time we have left with sick loved ones. This is one of the most poignant books about love and loss I have read.
Grieving is a process that unfolds differently for every child and adult. Grieving children and teens might find it difficult to talk about their loss right away, and some may show signs of fear and need extra reassurance.
Reading books about death and loss can help a child better understand what has happened and realise that they’re not alone.
Some children might be ready to connect with books immediately after the death, others might be more ready in the weeks and months following the death. Either way, books can serve as tools to help children process their grief and feel less alone.
Reading books can show grieving children characters who have experienced something similar. Books can also help children understand complex feelings, explain the facts and permanence of death, or even help children connect with memories of their lost loved one.