When someone a child loves dies it can be very difficult for them to understand what has happened.  Whether they have lost a parent, grandparent, sibling, friend or pet, the emotions may be overwhelming.  Sharing a story about someone else dying can help to explain things in a less frightening way, and cuddling up with a book can be very comforting for both grown-up and child.

Image result for A place in my heart / Annette Aubrey ; illustrated by Patrice Barton.

A Place in My Heart
by Annette Aubrey and Patrice Barton

The rhyme is initially off putting but the story is saying all the right things. The illustrations complement the story well and are clear and expressive. Notes for parents and teachers at the back of the book make a useful starting point for discussion.
Age: 4+

by John Burningham

A gentle evocation of conversations between a grandfather and his small granddaughter, culminating in her acceptance of his death.
Age: 4+

Up In Heaven
by Emma Chichester Clark

It’s only when Daisy, Arthur’s dog, sends him dreams from heaven that he is able to cope with her death and move on to consider a new dog.
Age: 5+

If all the world were…
by Joseph Coelho

Depicts a wonderful relationship between a grandfather and his granddaughter. When grandfather dies her wonderful memories help him live on.
Age 4+

No Longer Alone
by Joseph Coelho

This touching picture book subtly deals with big emotions such as loss, with an uplifting and hopeful message about being yourself and the importance of family and talking about worries. Told through the voice of a little girl who is labelled as quiet and shy, ‘No Longer Alone’ follows her tumult of emotions as she navigates the world around her. But when she finally shares her feelings and tells her Dad all the things that are worrying her, she no longer feels so alone.
Age 3+

Missing Mummy
by Rebecca Cobb

This book looks at the death of a parent from the point of view of a young child.  It explores the range of emotions a child may experience, but also reminds the child that they are still part of a family.
Age: 3+

Waiting for Wolf
by Sandra Dieckmann

Fox and Wolf spend all their perfect days together – talking and laughing for hours, swimming together in the big blue lake, and watching the stars come out, one by one. Until one day, Wolf is gone. This is a moving tale of friendship and loss and learning to carry on.
Age: 5+

Image result for Always and forever book

Always and Forever
Alan Durant and Debi Gliori

Animals take comfort in remembering a lost friend and realise that he is still in their hearts and memories.
Age: 3+

by Alan Durant
Age range: 10+

Dak’s dad has been dead for seven days when suddenly he reappears. He’s the same in almost every way, with one startling exception: Dad has turned into a clownfish, and now lives in a tank at their local aquarium. Dak is delighted by the news – he has Dad back, even if he isn’t quite as he was before. Deciding to keep Dad’s transformation a secret, Dak visits him at the aquarium as often as he can and ends up spending so much time there that they offer him a job. This is how he comes to meet Violet, the owner’s prickly but kind-hearted niece; when the aquarium is threatened with closure, the pair must work together to save it. For Dak, the stakes couldn’t be higher… after all, if the aquarium shuts down, what will happen to the fish?

Missing Jack
by Rebecca Elliott

This delightful book addresses the difficult subject of a child’s first experience of the death of a pet with warmth, sensitivity and well placed humour.
Age: 2+

Image result for When someone dies / Dawn Hewitt ; illustrated by Ximena Jeria.

When someone dies
by Dawn Hewitt

A useful book to use to explain what happens when someone dies and how to deal with grief. It has a suggestions section on ‘Things to do ‘ and ‘Notes for parents and teachers’.
Age 4+

Image result for Remembering Crystal / Sebastian Loth.

Remembering Crystal
by Sebastian Loth

Goose and Tortoise are good friends. When Tortoise dies, Goose finds that remembering happy times helps her cope with her sadness.
Age: 4+

Love from Alfie McPoonst The Best Dog Ever
by Dawn McNiff

When Alfie the dog dies, he sends his owner Izzy letters in the post from his new address: The Nicest Cloud, Dog Heaven, The Sky. He wants her to know that he misses her – so much! – but his new home in heaven is brilliant. There are postmen to chase, angels to tickle his tummy, and he never even has to take a bath! Can his letters comfort Izzy, who is is feeling lost without him? Sensitively balancing humour and raw emotional truth, this is a beautifully observed tale sure to reassure children experiencing loss and grief for the very first time.
Age: 3+

Tibble and Grandpa
by Wendy Meddour

Goose and Tortoise are good friends. When Tortoise dies, Goose finds that remembering happy times helps her cope with her sadness.
Age: 4+

The Scar
by Charlotte Moundlic

This picture book for older readers captures the loneliness of grief through the eyes of a child.
Age: 5+

by Sally Murphy

Pearl’s grandmother has Alzheimer’s and eventually dies. Pearl finds a way to cope by writing a poem that she reads out at the funeral.
Age 7+

The Garden of Hope
by Isabel Otter

Mum has died and the little girl and her father try to restore the garden her mother loved. The plants and animals in the garden bring hope for the family as they move on.
Age 4+

Mum’s Jumper written and illustrated
by Jayde Perkin
Age range: 4+

If Mum has gone, how do you carry on? Missing her feels like a dark cloud that follows you around, or like swimming to a shore that never comes any nearer. But memories are like a jumper that you can cuddle and wear. And Mum s jumpermight be a way to keep her close.
A simple, heartfelt and ultimately uplifting book for anyone coping with loss.

Let’s Talk about When Someone Dies
by Molly Potter

A discussion book covering feelings, funerals, why people die and how to remember them. There is a guidance section for Parents and Carers.
Age 6+

Sad Book
by Michael Rosen

Drawing on his own experience of his son’s death, Michael Rosen looks at what makes people feel sad. Beautifully illustrated by Quentin Blake and appropriate for children and adults.
Age: 7+

Badger’s Parting Gifts
by Susan Varley

As badger prepares to die, to go ‘down the long tunnel’, he leaves behind a simple note. His friends grieve, but find comfort in remembering the way each had been helped by badger.
Age: 5+

Image result for Goodbye Grandma / Melanie Walsh.

Goodbye Grandma
by Melanie Walsh

In this reassuring lift-the-flap book a little boy asks his mum some important questions about death and bereavement.
Age: 3+

A Tiger Tale
by Holly Webb

After Granddad dies Kate can’t understand how people can laugh and joke as if nothing has changed.  Comfort comes from an unexpected source.
Age: 7+

Harry & Hopper
by Margaret Wild and Freya Blackwood

The illustrations in this book are very atmospheric and use a range of styles. This is a sensitive story about the death of a pet, and looks at how the child deals with letting go.
Age: 3+

The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair
by Lara Williamson

Dad has run away in the middle of the night, taking Becket and his little brother Billy with him.  They have left everything behind, including their almost-mum Pearl.  The central theme of this book is of saying goodbye – the their late mother, to Pearl, to a sister, even to Brian the snail.
Age: 9+

Useful Organisations

Care for the Family:
Support for families and advice on how to support someone going through bereavement.

Child Bereavement UK:
Supporting bereaved children and young people.

CHUMS has developed a unique service delivery model to ensure that children and young people are able to access a service that supports their individual needs.

Bereavement Care: helping those who have been affected by a death

Marie Curie:
Information about grief and how it affects children of different ages.

Advice for parents, carers and guarantors on how to support a child going though bereavement.

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