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.
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.
by John Burningham
A gentle evocation of conversations between a grandfather and his small granddaughter, culminating in her acceptance of his death.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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’.
by Sebastian Loth
Goose and Tortoise are good friends. When Tortoise dies, Goose finds that remembering happy times helps her cope with her sadness.
by Charlotte Moundlic
This picture book for older readers captures the loneliness of grief through the eyes of a child.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
by Melanie Walsh
In this reassuring lift-the-flap book a little boy asks his mum some important questions about death and bereavement.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.