Frazer Blog

Books to Help Children Understand Dying and Grief

by | Apr 2, 2019 | For Families

child reading a picture book

Understanding death and grief is difficult for anyone despite how old they are. However, children have an especially hard time grasping these concepts. That’s why it’s good to use different resources to help them understand loss in an age-appropriate way. Books written specifically for children on these tough topics are especially helpful and less overwhelming for them.

Since today is International Children’s Book Day, we are sharing a few books that can help your child better understand dying, grief, and loss.

The Goodbye Book by Todd Parr (ages 3-6)

This book was written with very young children as the audience. It’s the story of a pet fish dealing with the death of his friend. This book uses simple language and basic, colorful illustrations to go over the array of emotions a child may experience after a death.

Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman (ages 4-8)

Though death isn’t boldly mentioned, this book is intended to help children understand the loss of a parent. No matter if their parent is near or far or is no longer in this life, they will have a better understanding of the unconditional love a parent provides.

Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola (ages 4-8)

This is the touching story of a boy named Tommy who must say goodbye to his beloved grandmothers during different stages of his life. It shows the close bond he had with both his great-grandma and grandma and how difficult it is for him when they die. In the end, he learns to accept their absence.

Ida, Always by Caron Levis (ages 4-8)

This book is helpful for children coping with a loved one who has a terminal illness. It’s the story of two polar bears at the zoo who have a close bond, and one of them falls sick. This book helps children understand that they need to cherish the time they have left with their loved one and the emotions they will feel once they pass.

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (ages 8-12)

This story was written for older children. It is a story about friendship, tragedy, and acceptance. This story will help your child understand that grief is a complicated and difficult process. It was also made into a movie and is rated PG.

What books do you plan to read with your child to celebrate International Children’s Book Day? Share by commenting below!


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