Grief Books for Children

Grief books for children help kids as well as parents navigate the path of loss.  Whether a child has lost a loved one or pet, stories can assist in easing the pain of loss and giving us lessons to deal with grief.

Two new grief books for children I have recently found which you may not be familiar with are The Tiny Star by Mem Fox and Also by E.B. Goodale.   

Both have beautiful, soft & comforting illustrations.  Both of these grief books for children also give tools which both kids and adults can use to assist them in walking through loss.

The Tiny Star
By Australian author Mem Fox & illustrator Freya Blackwood

It begins...

Once upon a time, although this happens all the time, a tiny star fell to earth and turned into a baby!

The baby grows and enjoys a long and beautiful life full of those who loved it.  But as it grew very old, it also grew smaller and smaller until once again it became ..."so tiny it disappeared altogether."

No one could believe it. They ran to each other and clung to each other to comfort each other and cry with each other.

But the tiny star hadn't vanished at all 

It had merely returned to its home in the heaven and there it remained, to rest.

To see the star again twinkling in the sky brought joy and comfort.  They each knew the star they loved so much would always be there loving them from afar, above in the heavens.

What I love about this book:

  • The beautiful variety of ethnicity in the illustrations.
  • The reference to life being like light or a star that merely changes locations, but doesn't cease to exist.
  • The picture of family love and continued celebration through memories.

Lessons from grief books for children:

This story paints a beautiful picture of the continuity of life.  No, we're not stars, but the life we've been given on this earth is like a light that through God's grace touches others with love and continues to exist beyond our time on this earth.

Grief books for children aren't meant to be literal, but to plant seeds of hope beyond the loss.  They help us step out of the pain in reality, to open our eyes to something more beyond the grief.

The Tiny Star is really a book for any time to point out the preciousness of life and those we love.  Use this sweet story to help your child prepare ahead of time, before the loss, so they can react with hope and not despair. 

Comforting Bible Verses

Jesus gives comfort in John 14:1-6 about life after death -

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.  There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.  And you know the way to where I am going.”

“No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me."

1 Thessalonians 3:13-14 also says -

"Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.  For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him."

By E. B. Goodale

Also probably wasn't written to be included in a list of grief books for children, but the wonder of the gift of memory can be used to comfort by offering a way to hold on to that loved one or pet beyond the moments of loss.

It begins...

Today, I am at my gramma's house, 

high on the hill, amongst the blueberry bushes.

And also...

...I am remembering camping with Mama.

The beauty of the gift of memory is we can be two places at once.  Even when we are in a place of loss or grief, we can remember sweet times when we were still together with someone we loved.

Help your child practice remembering fun times and distinguishing where they are and what they are doing in the present - 

"Today, I am..."

"And also..."

If experiencing a loss, help them acknowledge - "Today, I am sad because..."  Grieving is a natural process; grief books for children can help them understand being sad or crying is okay.  Sometimes walking alongside a character in a book that is feeling the same helps lift the burden a bit though.

Then teach them the gift of memory - "And also...I remember when we ____ together."  Help them remember happier times; this will plant hope that happier times will come again.  In the midst of our sadness though, we can remember the one we lost and it brings comfort and maybe a smile or two.

More Grief Books for Children

A Children's Book About Death

New York Public Library's list of grief books for children