Over many years we have developed a list of books and resources which we and others have found helpful. If you would like further help in finding a title or would like to suggest a title to add to our listing please contact the Support and Information Team or call 0800 02 888 40.
Please note: inclusion on this list does not constitute a recommendation by Child Bereavement UK, as we are aware that whether a book is helpful or not is subjective and as such is a decision that can only be made by the individual reader.
We have put links, where possible, from the books to their Amazon page. If you click through to Amazon via the hyperlinks and purchase a book Child Bereavement UK will receive a small commission from Amazon. It will not affect your purchase price, so please consider doing this.
The books on this page are suitable for a wide range of ages, from small children to young people. These books may be suitable for children and young people to read alone or with a parent or carer.
Under 5 Years
Someone I know has died
Author: Trish Phillips
An innovative activity book with interactive features written for bereaved children to do by themselves or with adult help. For pre-school and early years age groups.
Author: Rebecca Cobb
Beautifully illustrated and with moments of wonderful warmth, this is a touching, honest and helpful book about the death of a parent. With minimum text, it touches on some of the worries and fears that a young child may have after a death, offering reassurance and hope.
I Miss You: a First Look at Death
Author: Pat Thomas
When a close friend or family member dies, it can be difficult for children to express their feelings. This book helps children understand that death is a natural complement to life, and that grief and a sense of loss are normal feelings for them to have. Suitable for children of preschool through early school age.
When Dinosaurs Die – A guide to understanding death
Authors: Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown
A comprehensive, sensitive guide for families dealing with the loss of loved ones, ‘When Dinosaurs Die’ helps readers understand what death means, and how best to cope with their feelings.
What Does Dead Mean?
Authors: Caroline Jay and Jenni Thomas, OBE
A book for young children to help explain death and dying, based on the many questions that children can often ask. This book looks at questions such as why ‘Why can’t doctors and nurses make people better?’, and offers practical help for children, as well as guidance for parents and carers when a child is bereaved.
Is Daddy Coming Back in a Minute?
Author: Elke Barber & Alex Barber
Alex is only three when his father suffers a heart attack. All on his own, Alex manages to get help but his beloved Daddy dies at the scene. This is a good book to explain sudden death to pre-school children using words and illustrations they will understand.
What Happened to Daddy’s Body?
Author: Elke Barber & Alex Barber
Using ideas very young children can understand, this sequel to “Is Daddy Coming Back in a Minute?” sensitively and honestly explains what happens after death. It helps children to understand cremation, burial, and spreading the ashes. It reassures children that it is okay to be sad, but it’s also okay to be happy.
Author: Robie H Harris
The story of a young boy dealing with the death of his pet mouse is handled with the sure touch of an author familiar with children’s tender emotions. Simply told by the boy, in a matter of fact tone with a dash of humour, he recounts his reactions to the death of his pet mouse.
Author: Mem Fox
Boris von der Borch is a mean, greedy old pirate – tough as nails, through and through, like all pirates. Or is he?
Suzie Goes to a Funeral
Author: Charlotte Olson
Join Suzie as she goes to Grandma’s funeral and says goodbye. Suzie can help explain to a child who may be anxious about going to a funeral for the first time. A simple story to help and show what they might experience on this day.
5 – 11 Years
Author: Dianne Leutner
It’s part book, part scrapbook and was created to help keep a child’s memories alive after the loss of someone special and to give children a place to return to whenever they wish.
Waterbugs and Dragonflies: Explaining Death to Young children
Author: Doris Stickney
Written from a Christian perspective, this acclaimed book can be used to help explain the concept of death to young children. The story illustrates that death is inevitable, irreversible but natural.
Badger's Parting Gifts
Author: Susan Varley
Badger is so old that he knows he will soon die. He tries to prepare his friends for this event, but when he does die, they are still grief-stricken. Gradually they come to terms with their grief by remembering all the practical things Badger taught them, and so Badger lives on in his friends’ memories of him.
Always and Forever
Author: Alan Durant
When Fox dies the rest of his ‘family’ are absolutely distraught. How will Mole, Otter and Hare go on without their beloved friend? But, months later, Squirrel reminds them all of how funny Fox used to be, and they realise that Fox is still there in their hearts and memories.
Saying Goodbye to Hare
Author: Carol Lee
This is an uplifting story written for children aged 5-9 years about death and dying. As young Rabbit witnesses the life, illness and death of his dear friend Hare, the story explores some of the emotional and physical feelings, and some of the questions children have at this time. The story is sensitively written to give a positive, thoughtful message about death and dying. It also includes guidance notes for adults supporting a bereaved child.
Author: Juliet Clare Bell
Benny’s Hat deals quietly with the huge subject of a sibling dying, from the viewpoint of the sister. It shows how children and young people might deal with serious illness and death differently to adults. The story gives adult readers examples of how to support children when a sibling is not expected to live, not only from the section for parents at the back, but also by watching Friz’s parents’ reactions to her behaviour.
Ben's Flying Flowers
Author: Inger Maier
When Emily loses her brother after a long illness, she feels alone, angry, and very, very sad. with the understanding and support of her parents, Emily learns that it helps when she snuggles with her parents. It helps when she talks about her feelings and asks questions about Ben. And it helps when she does regular kid stuff too. But mostly, she learns that remembering Ben and their happy life together builds health and helpful images that soother her sad feelings and provide much comfort to her and her family. Written for children aged 4-8.
Author: Cathy Cambell
Ellen’s new baby brother Stewart has been “lost”. Ellen looks in all the cupboards for Stewart, and even in the washing machine – but then her family her understand that Stewart has died and isn’t going to come back. Together They plant a tree for Stewart, so they will always have a place to remember him. This book for children aged 3+ helps explain sibling loss shortly after birth, and provides guidance for adults written by qualified clinicians.
Remembering My Brother (Children's and Educational)
Author: Ginny Perkins and Leon Morris
In 1993, Chris Reed died. The author of this book has worked with his family to put this book together which aims to show the importance of talking about grief and loss and remembering with love someone important who has died. It relates ordinary family events alongside an account of the family’s visit to Chris’s grave.
Isaac and the Red Jumper
Author: Amanda Seyderhelm
Isaac is heartbroken when his best friend Freddie dies. His house freezes. And his red jumper turns grey with grief. His friends try to console him, and it’s only after Isaac receives a special visit from Freddie that he understands love and friendship last forever, and are alive in spirit.
Am I Like My Daddy?
Author: Marcy Blesy
Join seven-year-old Grace on her journey through coping with the loss of her father while learning about the different ways that people grieve the loss of a loved one. In the process of learning about who her father was through the eyes of others, she learns about who she is today because of her father’s personality and love.
Michael Rosen's Sad Book
Author: Michael Rosen
A very personal story that speaks to adults as well as children. The author describes feeling sad after the death of his son and what he does to try to cope with it.
Author: Judith Kerr
Mog was tired. She was dead tired…Mog thought, ‘I want to sleep for ever.’ And so she did. But a little bit of her stayed awake to see what would happen next. Mog keeps watch over the upset Thomas family, who miss her terribly, and she wonders how they will ever manage without her. Eventually the family are able to begin moving forward in their lives, but little Debbie says she will always remember Mog. ‘So I should hope,’ thinks Mog. And she flies up and up and up right into the sun.
The Tenth Good Thing about Barney
Author: Judith Viorst
A book looking about death from the perspective of a child. Though dealing with the death of a pet, it helps children deal with the reality of any death, including why we have funerals. This book does not have religious overtones, so it can be used by families with all different sets of beliefs.
The Lonely Tree
Author: Nicholas Halliday
This beautiful and moving story follows the first year in the life of a lone evergreen tree growing in the heart of the ancient oak woodland of the New Forest. The evergreen is befriended by the oldest oak who has lived for hundreds of years. When winter arrives all the oak trees must go to sleep, but of course evergreens never sleep. Finally, after a long, cold and lonely winter, spring brings both sadness and joy to the little tree.
There is also a colouring book that accompanies this story, which you can also buy from Amazon.
Author: Jo Empson
This is the story of a very special rabbit. He enjoys doing rabbit things, but he also loves – well, un-rabbity things. His boundless creative talent is a source of joy and inspiration to the other rabbits. When Rabbit suddenly disappears, no one knows where he has gone. His friends are desolate. But, as it turns out, Rabbit left behind some very special gifts for them, to help them discover their own un-rabbity talents!
When Someone Very Special Dies: Children Can Learn to Cope with Grief - Workbook
Author: M Heegard
This work book was designed to teach basic concepts of death and help children understand and express the many feelings they have when someone special dies. Communication is increased and coping skills are developed as they illustrate their books with their personal story.
Muddles, Puddles and Sunshine: Your Activity Book to Help When Someone Has Died
Author: Winston’s Wish
Offering practical and sensitive support for bereaved children, this book suggests a helpful series of activities and exercises accompanied by the friendly characters of Bee and Bear. It aims to help children make sense of their experience by reflecting on different aspects of their grief.
A Teenage Guide to Coping with Bereavement
Author: Sarah Darwen
Contains practical advice and guidance for a young person managing confusing emotions when someone important in their life dies. Written by a young person whose father died.
What on Earth Do You Do When Someone Dies?
Author: Trevor Romaine & Elizabeth Verdick
Written by Trevor Romain, after his father died, this book suggests ways of coping with grief and offers answers to questions such as ‘Why do people have to die?” and “How can I say Goodbye?” Friendly, accessible text and illustrations aimed at ages 8-14.
Author: Shelley Gilbert
Aimed at 8-15 year olds. The focus is on the death of a parent, but suitable for the loss of a sibling, grandparent, friend. Author recommends that the book is used with an adult, at least initially.
Still Here with Me: Teenagers and Children on Losing a Parent
Author: Suzanne Sjoqvist
This book is a moving and thoughtful anthology of the experiences of thirty children and teenagers who have lost a parent. In their own words, children and young people of a variety of ages talk openly and honestly about losing their mother or father. They describe feelings of pain, loss and anger, the struggle to cope with the embarrassed reactions and silence of others, and the difficulties involved in rebuilding their lives. They also share happy and loving memories of their parents, and talk about the importance of remembering while learning to accept their parent’s deaths.
From a Clear Blue Sky
Author: Timothy Knatchbull
A powerful survivor’s account of the IRA bomb that killed the author’s 14-year-old twin brother, his grandparents and a family friend, published on the 30th anniversary of the atrocity.
Sometimes Life Sucks: When Someone You Love Dies
Author: Molly Carlile
Teenagers experience loss in all kinds of ways. Whether it’s the death of a grandparent, pet or school friend, a teen fatality, a peer with terminal illness, living without a mum or dad, or the death of a celebrity. Like everyone else teenagers also struggle to come to terms with their shock and grief. Full of great tips, stories and gentle advice, Sometimes Life Sucks helps teens to navigate their personal experience of grief.
We Get It
Authors: Heather L. Servaty-Seib and David C. Fajgenbaum
A unique collection of 33 narrative by bereaved students and young adults in America, this book aims to help young adults who are grieving and provide guidance for those who seek to support them. It has been described as like having a group in a book.
When a Grandparent has died
My Grandma Died: A Child's Story about Grief and Loss
Author: Lory Britain
A young child talks about the emotions felt after Grandma’s death. Includes a list entitled “Things I can do when someone I love dies.”
Author: John Burningham
Adorable Granpa gamely nurses his granddaughter’s dolls, eats her pretend strawberry-flavoured ice cream, takes her tobogganing in the snow, and falls in step with her imaginary plans to captain a ship to Africa like all good grandfathers should. Winner of the Kate Maschler Award, this poignant tale of friendship and loss is one children will long remember.
Author: Walter Smith
This beautifully illustrated picture book for children aged four to eight tells the story of four children who embark on an adventure to find their Grandad’s favourite place, they are faced with plenty of challenges on the way. Told with gentle humour, this is a charming story for children and an ideal resource for parents or counsellors to read with a child as a way of broaching issues surrounding loss or bereavement.