November 02, 2011

Books of Comfort: books to help children cope with the loss of loved ones and pets

Loss of a Pet

Good-bye Sheepie   Robert Burleigh      Picture Book-BURLEIGH
A father teaches his young son about death and remembrance as he buries their beloved dog. 

Jim’s Dog Muffins    Miriam Cohen    Picture Book-COHEN
When Jim's dog is killed, the other first graders experience with him his natural reactions to death. 

Remembering Pets: A Book for Children Who Have Lost a Special Friend   
Gina Dalpra-Berman    Picture Book-DALPRA
A little girl fondly remembers her bird Michie who died. She recalls common memories of her pet inviting readers to share her feelings.

Saying Goodbye to Lulu    Corinne Demas    Picture Book-DEMAS

 When her dog Lulu dies, a girl grieves but then continues with her life.

A Dog Like Jack    DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan    Picture Book-DISALVO
After a long life of chasing squirrels, licking ice cream cones, and loving his adoptive family, an old dog comes to the end of his days.

Tough Boris    Mem Fox    Picture Book-FOX
Although he is a very tough pirate, Boris von Borch cries when his parrot dies.

Bug Cemetery   Frances Hill    Picture Book-HILL
Neighborhood children imaginatively stage funerals for dead bugs, but they experience real sadness following the death of a pet.

Alfie and the Birthday Surprise   Shirley Hughes        Picture Book-HUGHES
The death of Bob's cat prompts his friends and family to give him a surprise birthday party and a very special present.

Ada's Pal   George Lyon    Picture Book-LYON
A small dog suffers from a broken heart when her dog companion dies until a veterinarian advises the family that there is only one thing to do.

The Best Cat in the World    Leslea Newman    Picture Book-NEWMAN
A young boy deals with the loss of his beloved cat Charlie, eventually accepting the arrival of
another, very different cat.

The Tenth Good Thing about Barney    Judith Viorst    Picture Book-VIORST
In an attempt to overcome his grief, a boy tries to think of the ten best things about his dead cat.

Harry and Hopper    Margaret Wild    Picture Book-WILD
Harry is devastated when he returns home from school to find that his beloved dog, Hopper, will no longer be there to greet him.

I'll Always Love You     Hans Wilhelm    Picture Book-WILHELM
A child's sadness at the death of a beloved dog is tempered by the remembrance of saying to it every night, "I'll always love you."

Loss of a Grandparent

The Two of Them    Aliki    Picture Book-ALIKI
Describes the relationship of a grandfather and his granddaughter from her birth to his death.

Where is Grandpa?    T.A. Barron    Picture Book-BARRON
As his family reminisces after his beloved grandfather's death, a boy realizes that his grandfather is still with him in all the special places they shared.

The Grandad Tree    Trish Cooke    Picture Book-COOKE
The changing nature of their apple tree, as it grows and goes through the seasons, reminds Leigh and Vin of their grandfather, who is gone but lives on in their memories.

Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs    Tomie DePaola    Picture Book-DEPAOLA
Four-year-old Tommy enjoys his grandmother and great-grandmother, but eventually learns to face their inevitable death.

Sophie    Mem Fox    Picture Book-FOX
As Sophie grows bigger and her grandfather gets smaller, they continue to love each other very much.

The Hickory Chair   Lisa Rowe Fraustino    Picture Book-FRAUSTIN
A blind boy tells of his warm relationship with his grandmother and the gift she left for him after her death.

Grandma's Gone to Live in the Stars    Max Haynes    Picture Book-HAYNES
In the moments after grandmother has passed away, her spirit is at peace as she says goodbye to her sleeping family and her home.

Bluebird Summer    Deborah Hopkinson    Picture Bk-HOPKINSON
Grampa's farm isn't the same after Grandma's death, but slowly Mags and Cody work to recreate her spirit by bringing back some of the things she loved.

Kaddish for Grandpa in Jesus' Name, Amen    James Howe    Picture Book-HOWE
Five-year-old Emily tries to understand her grand-father's death by exploring the Christian and Jewish rituals that her family practices during and after his funeral.

Ghost Wings    Barbara Joosse    Picture Book-JOOSSE
While celebrating the Days of the Dead, a young Mexican girl remembers her wonderful grandmother who sang songs, made tortillas, chased monsters away, and loved butterflies.

Liplap's Wish   Jonathan London         Picture Book-LONDON
As he builds a snow bunny, Liplap feels something is missing and wishes his grand-mother who recently died was with him.

A Gift for Abuelita: Celebrating the Day of the Dead    Nancy Luenn  Picture Bk-LUENN
After her beloved grandmother dies, Rosita hopes to be reunited with Abuelita as she prepares a gift to give her when her family celebrates the Day of the Dead.

Thank You, Grandpa     Lynn Plourde    Picture Book-PLOURDE
On her many walks with her grandfather, a young girl learns to appreciate life and deal with death.

Cemetery Quilt     Kent Ross    Picture Book-ROSS
When her Pawpaw dies, Josie doesn't want to go to his funeral until her Granny shares with her the family's cemetery quilt. 

In the Piney Woods     Roni Schotter    Picture Bk-SCHOTTER
Grandpa and his granddaughter spend his last summer visiting the pine woods near their house. 

Tear Soup     Pat Schwiebert    Pic Bk- SCHWIEBERT
Grandy tries to cope with the death of her husband by making tear soup.

What's Heaven?    Maria Shriver    Picture Book-SHRIVER
After her great-grandmother's death, a young girl learns about heaven by asking her mother all kinds of questions.

Grandad's Prayers of the Earth     Douglas Wood    Picture Book-WOOD
Because Grandad has explained how all things in the natural world pray and make a gift to the beauty of life, his grandson is comforted when Grandad dies.

Pearl's Marigolds for Grandpa    Jane Breskin Zalben    Picture Book-ZALBEN
A young girl copes with the death of her grand-father by remembering all the things she loved about him.

Loss of Other Loved Ones

When I Die, Will I Get Better?     Joeri Breebaart    Picture Bk-BREEBAA
A six-year-old boy tries to come to terms with the death of his younger brother by creating
a story about rabbit brothers that closely parallels his own experiences.

I Remember Miss Perry     Pat Brisson    Picture Book-BRISSON
When his teacher, Miss Perry, is killed in a car accident, Stevie and his elementary school classmates take turns sharing memories of her, especially her fondest wish for each day. 

The Memory String    Eve Bunting     Picture Book-BUNTING
While still grieving for her mother and unable to accept her stepmother, a girl clings to the memories represented by 43 buttons on a string.

Rudi's Pond     Eve Bunting     Picture Book-BUNTING
When a sick boy dies, his friends and classmates remember him by building a schoolyard pond in his memory.

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life For All Ages    
Leo F. Buscaglia    Pic. Book-BUSCAGLIA
As Freddie experiences the changing seasons along with his companion leaves, he learns about the delicate balance between life and death.

You Hold Me and I'll Hold You      Jo Carson    Picture Book-CARSON
When a great-aunt dies, a young child finds comfort in being held and in holding, too. 

I Had a Friend Named Peter: Talking to Children About the Death of a Friend     
Janice Cohn    Picture Book-COHN
When Betsy learns about the death of a friend, her parents and kindergarten teacher answer questions about dying, funerals, and the burial process.

If Nathan Were Here      Mary Bahr Fritts    Picture Book-FRITTS
A young boy grieves the loss of his best friend and thinks about how things would be if he were still alive. 

When Someone Dies     Sharon Greenlee    Picture Bk-GREENLEE
Provides guidance and comfort for those recovering from the death of someone they know, offering suggestions for how to survive the grief and remember the good times.

The Next Place      Warren Hanson    Picture Book-HANSON
An inspirational journey of light and hope to a place where earthly hurts are left behind. When Lucita's great-uncle Armando comes to live with them, he teaches her many truths about life.

That Summer      Tony Johnston    Picture Bk-JOHNSTON
A family sews their memories and love into a quilt for a child who is dying.

The Goodbye Boat     Mary Joslin     Picture Book-JOSLIN
Presents the phenomena of grief and loss and the concept that death is not the end.

Waiting to Sing      Howard Kaplan     Picture Book-KAPLAN
A family that loves music and spends many hours at the piano is devastated by the death of the mother, but those still living find consolation in the beautiful music that also remains.

Remember the Secret      Elisabeth Kubler-Ross     Picture Book-KUBLER
Because she has already discovered the wonders of God, Suzy understands the true meaning of her friend's death.

Flamingo Dream      Donna Jo Napoli    Picture Book-NAPOLI
Grieving over her father's death from cancer, a young girl celebrates their last year together by making a book that includes mementos and a story.

Too Far Away to Touch       Leslea Newman    Picture Book-NEWMAN
Zoe's favorite uncle Leonard takes her to a planetarium and explains that if he dies he will be like the stars too far away to touch, close enough to see.

Stacy Had a Little Sister       Wendie C. Old    Picture Book-OLD
Stacy has mixed feelings about her new sister Ashley, but when the baby dies of sudden infant death syndrome, Stacy is sad and misses her.

Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories   Audrey Penn    Picture Book-PENN
After his mother explains why his classmate is not returning to school, she teaches Chester Raccoon how to make a memory.

Where Do People Go When They Die?       Mindy A. Portnoy    Picture Book-PORTNOY
Children ask different adults and themselves about death and receive a wide variety of answers.  Includes an afterword and suggestions for parents.

Geranium Morning      E. Sandy Powell    Picture Book-POWELL
Two friends who lose parents, one suddenly in an accident and one by illness, learn to deal with their grief.

A Story for Hippo: A Book About Loss       Simon Puttock    Picture Book-PUTTOCK
Hippo and Monkey are best friends and when the wise old Hippo dies, Monkey is very sad until Chameleon helps him remember the stories he and Hippo shared.

The Purple Balloon      Christopher Raschka                Picture Book-RASCHKA
Easy-to-read text reveals that dying is hard work, for the old and especially the young, and how good it is that so many people help when a person dies, from medical staff to clergy and friends to family members. 

Always My Brother       Jean Reagan                    Picture Book-REAGAN
Becky slowly returns to the activities she enjoyed with her big brother, John, after learning that he is still part of her family, even after his death.

Michael Rosen's Sad Book       Michael Rosen    Picture Book-ROSEN
A man tells about all the emotions that accompany his sadness over the death of his son, and how he tries to cope.

First Salmon      Roxane B. Salonen     Picture Book-SALONEN
During the ceremony of First Salmon in the Pacific Northwest, Charlie remembers his beloved uncle and begins to accept his death.

A Little Bit of Rob       Barbara J. Turner     Picture Book-TURNER
After Rob's death, his parents and younger sister finally take their boat out crabbing again in an effort to get their lives back to normal.

Juvenile Non-Fiction

What We Do When Someone Dies   Caroline Arnold    Juvenile Non-Fiction-128 ARNOLD
Explains different customs of dealing with death and remembering the dead, such as funerals, burials, cremation, mourning, wills, and memorials.

When a Pet Dies   Fred Rogers    Juvenile Non-Fiction-28 ROGERS
Explores the feelings of frustration, sadness, and loneliness that a youngster may feel when a pet dies.

Death   Janine Amos    Juvenile Non-Fiction-155.9 AMOS
Uses letters, stories, and informational text to provide advice for children on how to cope with the death of a loved one.

When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death  
Laurene K. Brown    Juvenile Non-Fiction-155.9 BROWN
Explains in simple language the feelings people may have regarding the death of a loved one and the ways to honor the memory of some-one who has died.

Our Dad Died   Amy Dennison    Juv. Non-Fiction-155.9 DENNISO
Three children, ages eight (twins) and four, describe how their lives changed when their father died suddenly two years earlier and offer practical advice for overcoming loss and moving on with life.

Dying to Know-About Death, Funeral Customs, and Final Resting Places  
Lila Perl    Juvenile Non-Fiction-393 PERL
Describes multi-cultural and historic world and American customs regarding the treatment of death and burial.

Let’s Talk about Going to a Funeral    Marianne Johnston    Juv. Non-Fiction-393.9 JOHNSTON
Gives an overview of what a funeral is, why our culture holds them, and what might happen at one.

Lifetimes: A Beautiful Way Explain Death to Children  
Bryan Melloni    Juvenile Non-Fiction-128 MELLONI
Using nature as a theme, the author conveys the sense of ongoing changes as a way to understand death.

How It Feels When a Parent Dies   Jill Krementz    Juv. Non-Fiction-155.9 KREMENT
Eighteen children speak openly of their experiences and feelings when either a mother or father has died.

Parent Center

Helping Children Cope with Death   Joan S. Prestine    Parent Center-155.9 PRESTINE
A practical resource guide for when someone special dies.  Part of the “Kids Have Feelings Too” series that helps children understand things that happen that they have little control over.

Help Me Say Goodbye   Janis L. Silverman    Parent Center-155.9 SILVERM
A collection of writing prompts designed to help children in mourning cope with their feelings and honor their lost loved one.

What on Earth Do You Do When Someone Dies?         Parent Center DVD-155.9 WHAT
Trevor uses his own experience to pass along practical, helpful advice for kids such as it's OK to cry, talk about death, grieve, and go on with life.

Willow Center, Inc. For Grieving Children
The Willow Center for Grieving Children provides support to children, teens and their families who are grieving the death of a loved one.
Please visit for more information

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