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Helping Children Cope with Grief & Loss using Children's Books (+ Video Read Aloud)

Updated: Jan 13

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links


Grief and loss are a part of life but discussing them and helping children cope can be a heavy task. There are many ways to start these conversations and one powerful way is with children's books. We’ve rounded up a collection of diverse children’s books that can help kids understand and cope with the grief that comes with loss. (Complete with publisher's descriptions)


One quick note: Grief is most associated with death, but people also grieve the loss of connection to a variety of things such as relationship changes, moving to a new place, and other life changes. For instance, people faced grief during the pandemic due to a loss of "normalcy" and the many other changes that occurred during pandemic. This is just a gentle reminder that grief comes in many forms and for many reasons.


Diverse children's books

George loves Saturdays.


That's because Saturdays mean time with Grandma Stella. The two of them love going on adventures downtown to visit the dinosaur museum and ride on the carousel! Even when they stay in, George and Stella have fun together, making cinnamon rolls without popping open a tube and sharing the biggest, best hugs.


Then one day Stella is gone, and George is ready to cancel Saturdays. But when a new addition to the family arrives, George finds a way to celebrate the priceless memories he made with his grandma--while making new ones too.


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Diverse children's books

A little girl grieves the loss of her mother, but she can't grieve alone.


When her friends and family arrive at her house to sit shiva, laden with cakes and stories, she refuses to come downstairs. But the laughter and memories gradually bring her into the fold, where she is comforted by her community. By the end of the book, she feels stronger and more nourished, and she understands the beautiful tradition. Then, when sees her father sitting alone, she is able to comfort him in his time of need.


Sitting Shiva is a beautiful, heartfelt story about grief and loss, but also about comfort and community. It shows that no matter what religion you practice, we are all more similar than we are different.


A note from the author explains the ritual of sitting shiva, a seven-day period of mourning for the death of a family member observed in Jewish homes.


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Diverse Children's Books

Funny, emotional, and uplifting picture book about separation and love, to help children understand their emotions.


Everyone loves everyone in Tess's house, but when Tess has to leave for school for the very first time, she is worried that her family's love might not stretch that far. Mom explains that love is like a string, it connects people together even when they are far away. At school Tess notices that all the children have strings! Some are new, some are old, some stretch a long way, and some even stretch right up into the sky. But what happens when a string breaks?


Love is the third in a trio of feel-good picture books from author Corrinne Averiss (Joy (2018), Hope (2019)) - a pure delight from start to finish. A wonderful story that subtly tackles difficult topics of death, grief, separation, and overcoming anxiety.


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Diverse children's books

When Ming and his grandmother visit the wishing tree on the Lunar New Year, his wishes always seem to come true. But one year the tree does not help, and Ming alone must make peace with the loss of his grandmother and the spirit of the tree.


An enormous banyan tree with thick, leafy branches grew in the center of a village near an ancient temple in a green valley with a gurgling stream.


Every Lunar New Year, Ming and his grandmother visit the Wishing Tree. Its branches are covered with wishes, each written on red and yellow paper fluttering in the breeze, secured by the weight of an orange.


Grandmother warned Ming to wish carefully, and sure enough, his wishes always seemed to come true. But one year when Ming makes the most important wish of his life, the tree lets him down.


The Wishing Tree is about the excitement of making wishes and waiting for them to come true. It is also about the love between a boy and his grandmother, and the realization that sometimes, we already possess the most important things in life.


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Diverse children's books

Miss Eula is back! In this heartwarming companion to Chicken Sunday, young Trisha is devastated when her grandmother passes away, but finds joy in bonds with a new friend, her new California neighborhood--and the invincible Miss Eula.


There will never be anyone like her grandmother, Patricia Polacco thinks, when her grandmother passes away. But when she and her family move to California--in the middle of a drought--she meets a new friend, the irrepressible Stewart, and his amazing grandmother, Miss Eula, who not only takes Trisha under her wing, but, with Trisha and Stewart, steps up to lead their entire extraordinarily diverse neighborhood to help a hurting neighbor--and her once lush garden--survive the drought.


Trisha's grandmother's old saying about the stars being Holes in the Sky turns out to be Miss Eula's, too, convincing Trisha that she has miraculously discovered another unforgettable grandmother.


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Diverse children's books

One young girl reflects on a year with her beloved grandpa.


She remembers the fields and parks they explored in the springtime and the old toys they fixed up in the summer. She remembers the handmade gifts they exchanged in the fall and the stories Grandpa told by the fi re each winter.


But this year, the girl must say good-bye to Grandpa. In the face of her grief, she is determined to find a way to honor him. She decides to record her Grandpa stories in the notebook he made for her and carry Grandpa with her as she grows.


An honest and relatable depiction of loss, Grandpa's Stories celebrates life and the ways in which love lives on.


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Diverse children's books

In this gentle story of grief and loss, Janaki Sabesh and Dhwani Sabesh bring to young readers the enduring love of those that have passed but never truly leave us.

Malli loved weekends with her Paati. The head massages, the hugs, the engrossing stories, and most importantly, Paati's delicious, piping-hot rasam.


But then, one day, everything changed. And Malli's world became dark and colourless. No more warm hugs, no more rasam, no more Paati.


Can Malli find a piece of her beloved grandmother to hold on to? Pallavi Jain breathes life and colour into the illustrations storyboarded brilliantly by Vaijayanthi.


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A beautifully written story and must-have resource for any adult helping a child cope with the loss of a loved one and working through grief.


From the perspective of a young child, author Joanna Rowland artfully describes what it's like to remember and grieve a loved one who has died. The child in the story wonders if she will forget the person who has gone. Other days I wonder if I'll ever stop feeling sad you are gone.


The main character creates a memory box to keep mementos and written memories of her loved one to help with the grieving process. Throughout the narrative, the child's feelings are acknowledged, allowed, and assured that feelings are normal and healthy to express. Heartfelt and comforting, The Memory Box helps children, parents, educators, therapists, and social workers talk about this very difficult topic together.


A perfect companion to this book is The Memory Book: A Grief Journal for Children and Families that helps children record stories, memories, and feelings as an honoring keepsake to be cherished for years to come.


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Even when you're lost in a storm, you can find home again.


The wind is your voice.

You whisper to me.


A young girl feels lost after the death of her mother. Dad tries his best to manage everything alone, but things just aren't the same. When they take a trip to their lake house, the girl longs to feel a connection to her mom, and so she takes out the small mouseboat that she and her mom built together. And somehow, in the wind and the rain, protected by the mouseboat, she finds her mother's love.


A lyrical, soothing story about new beginnings, even in the darkest times, Mouseboat is a powerful tribute to finding your way home again. (March 28, 2023)


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Diverse children's books

Discover a wonderful grandfather-granddaughter relationship, as a little girl hatches the perfect plan to get her Grandad adventuring again.


Gramps and Grandad were adventurers. They would surf, climb mountains, and tour the country in their amazing camper. Gramps just made everything extra special. But after Gramps died, granddad hasn't felt like traveling anymore. So, their amazing granddaughter comes up with a clever plan to fix up the old camper and get Grandad excited to explore again.


This beautiful picture book honors love and reminds us not only to remember those we have lost, but to celebrate them.


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A poignant tale of loss and friendship.


When Barkley doesn't come home, Bear misses his friend. He no longer wants to take walks or play fetch. But as the seasons change, Bear and his human Jacob help each other through their grief.


This sensitive story about healing over time will comfort all children who have experienced loss.


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A young girl and her grandmother move past a shared loss together.


Gracie loves when her grandmother comes for a visit, but this time Bubbe is sad. Her husband, Gracie's grandfather, recently died. Gracie misses Zayde too, so when Bubbe reveals that she used to speak Yiddish with him, Gracie is eager to learn. As Gracie picks up more words, she and Bubbe move past Zayde's loss and find moments of joy together.


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Diverse children's books

A heartwarming bilingual picture book about a young boy who learns to accept that Abuela needs to retire her super capa.


Saturdays are superhero days. Equipped with their milkshakes and capas, Luis and his abuela can turn anything into an adventure.

But when Abuela gets sick, Luis has to learn a new way to be a hero. With some help from his sister, Luis learns that change isn't all that bad and there are many new adventures to have, even if they look a little different.


Perfect for families experiencing sickness and loss, this engaging multigenerational story will help young children find the language to express their feelings and adjust to change. Simultaneously published in Spanish: La supercapa de Abuela (January 17, 2023)


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A story about coping with loss and the magical comfort of friendships, both old and new.


Alejo loved his Abuelo. They did everything together and were the best of friends. They had so much fun that one little neighbor couldn't help but notice and admire their strong bond. But one day, Abuelo wasn't there anymore. He got too sick to come home. Nothing makes Alejo feel better; doing all of things he used to do with Abuelo just makes him feel more lonely. But, maybe, just maybe, one special little neighbor can help.


This collaboration from debut author David Corredor Benavides and award-winning picture book writer Nelly Buchet tells a heartwarming story of beautiful friendships, of grieving and coping with the loss of a loved one and supporting one another through gentle acts of kindness. Alejo's story was inspired by Corredor Benavides' unforgettable adventures with his own grandfather, as well as Buchet's admiration of such a magical relationship. (March 7. 2023)


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QUOTES ABOUT GRIEF AND LOSS: Comfort During Difficult Times



MORE BOOKS ON BOOKSHOP:

VIDEO READ ALOUD

Grandad's Camper by Harry Woodgate


Buy children's books online


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