Children's Books About Death, Mom-Recommended

How To Use Books To Help Kids Navigate Death And Loss

September 14, 2020 Updated October 12, 2020


Explaining death to a child can be incredibly difficult. While it’s a fact of life, it can often be tough for children to digest. Plus, there are always a ton of follow-up questions. “Will you die?” and “Will I die?” are to be expected.

It’s important to be honest with your kid, but it’s also good to avoid traumatizing them over the topic. Long story short, death is scary. This July, my father passed away. Being out of state, my 3-year-old daughter didn’t see him on a weekly basis, but did get to spend some quality time with him. She’s still trying to figure out what death means. While she knows we’ll go to “Poppy’s House” and not see Poppy, it’s also hard to explain to her that we won’t see Poppy ever again. But he’ll always be in our hearts and live through the stories we tell.

That’s where books come in. Authors have done a fantastic job talking about death on a scale that’s easier for children to understand. It’ll still be difficult (especially if you’re also stricken by grief), but it’ll make the conversation just slightly easier to have. If you’re looking for a few good books that discuss death in a family-friendly way, here are some titles to add to your home library.

"The Invisible String"

The Invisible String by Patrice Karst is one of the most popular titles on the subject of loss and grief. But, it’s not just about death. The themes in the book are also fantastic if you’re going through a divorce or another big change. “I purchased this to help my grandbabies (who live with me) deal with the loss of their daddy (my son). It is now one of their favorite books and we read it every single night,” writes Amazon Reviewer Karen Ludwig. “It does not only deal with the death of a loved one but being separated from those we love.”


"Where Are You? A Child's Book About Loss"

Even the cover of this book may bring a tear to your eye. The gorgeous illustrations are actually a big part as to why this book is so special. Amazon Reviewer Christopher found that this book resonated well with his two-year-old. “My daughter is two and was having difficulty understanding her father’s death. This book helped immensely — she wanted to read it over and over. She now tells me ‘daddy’s here’ and places both hands on her chest,” they wrote.

$14.48 AT AMAZON

"The Memory Box: A Book About Grief"

Author Joanna Rowland wrote about experiencing grief from the perspective of a child, so it’s a story your children may be able to relate to. This book is wonderful for helping manage grief of all types. It may also inspire your children to create their own Memory Box in honor of their deceased loved one.

$12.95 AT AMAZON

"Something Very Sad Happened: A Toddler’s Guide to Understanding Death"

This book is perfect for toddlers. It’s written in a language that a 2 or 3-year-old will be able to digest, and explains that although they’re gone, the love you have for someone will never disappear. Written by Bonnie Zucker, reviewers like the fact that it isn’t openly religious in explaining the process of death and grief. Amazon user funfunfun even mentioned that this book helped their child cope with the loss of a neighborhood pet. “My son was able to write her a card and give her the best explanation when he saw her. She was blown away, and even mentioned wishing she had been taught what he knew at his age, as her coping skills were never fine tuned,” they wrote.

$14.68 AT AMAZON

"Caterpillars Can't Talk: A Children's Story About Love, Loss and Transformation"

Caterpillars Can’t Talk is a fairly new title written by Kris Fenton Siwek — but in a few months, it’s already racked up a five star rating by those who read it. The book focuses on a young boy named Andy who is trying to process the loss of his father. When Andy meets a very intriguing caterpillar in the woods, he’s able to learn new ways to cope with his loss. While the book itself is new, the story was initially written in 1982.

$21.50 AT AMAZON

"The Invisible Leash: A Story Celebrating Love After the Loss of a Pet (The Invisible String)"

Sometimes, the earliest loss a child witnesses is the loss of a beloved pet. Whether it’s a dog who’s been there throughout their entire life, or even a goldfish who brightened their day, it’s a good time to talk about grief and coping. The Invisible Leash focuses on a boy named Zack who just lost his dog. As his friend states, “When our pets aren’t with us anymore, an Invisible Leash connects our hearts to each other. Forever.” (Uh, is someone cutting onions around here?) In case the title sounds familiar, yes — it’s by the same author who penned The Invisible String.

$14.39 AT AMAZON

"The Day My Dad Turned Invisible"

The Day My Dad Turned Invisible is also a new title with incredible reviews. Written by Sean R. Simmons, the book was released this July. The story is based on the author’s real life story. In it, a 7-year-old named Sean learns that his father passed, and figures out what that means for his future. As Amazon Reviewer Hulania Farmer wrote, “This book was well written and relatable.”

$18.95 AT AMAZON

"I Miss You: A First Look at Death"

This book by Pat Thomas is geared towards children from preschool to grade school. In it, it talks about how death is a sad part of life, and how to cope with your feelings after a loss in the family. The book offers a reassuring view to kids that as long as someone is in your heart, they’re never fully gone.


"Why Do I Feel So Sad?: A Grief Book for Children"

One of the best parts about Why Do I Feel So Sad?: A Grief Book for Children is that it’s broad enough to cover all types of loss. That means it can be read multiple times as needed throughout a child’s life. Amazon Reviewer Melissa, who’s also a teacher, had nothing but praise for this book. “I have been an elementary school teacher for over 15 years and have come across very few books of this caliber relating to feelings (and I have over 1,000 books in my class library). Grief can be a tough emotion for children to process as many children don’t know how to identify what they are feeling or why they may be acting out or shutting down,” she wrote. ” In a child friendly way, this book explains what grief is, why people may feel sad, how people process grief, and ways that could help people feel better.”



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"The Invisible String"
"Where Are You? A Child's Book About Los...
"The Memory Box: A Book About Grief"
"Something Very Sad Happened: A Toddler...
"Caterpillars Can't Talk: A Children's S...
"The Invisible Leash: A Story Celebratin...
"The Day My Dad Turned Invisible"
"I Miss You: A First Look at Death"
"Why Do I Feel So Sad?: A Grief Book for...