Children’s Books About Grief, Trauma, and Loss

Click the title or book jacket image to see more detail about the book and for information on borrowing from the library.

Many Shapes of Clay

by Sneed, Kenesha

In this modern-day fable about grief, diversity, and family connections, a young girl discovers the joys–and pain–of the creative process.


Rain Before Rainbows

by Prasadam-Halls, Smriti

For anyone going through a difficult passage, this uplifting, beautifully illustrated picture book is about finding optimism in the darkest of places.


Saturdays are for Stella

by Wellins, Candy

George loves Saturdays. That’s because Saturdays mean time with Grandma Stella. The two of them love going on adventures downtown to visit the dinosaur museum and ride on the carousel Even when they stay in, George and Stella have fun together, making cinnamon rolls without popping open a tube and sharing the biggest, best hugs.
Then one day Stella is gone, and George is ready to cancel Saturdays. But when a new addition to the family arrives, George finds a way to celebrate the priceless memories he made with his grandma–while making new ones too.


A Stopwatch from Grampa

by Garbutt, Loretta

A touching portrayal of the loss of a grandparent.”When summer started, I got Grampa’s stopwatch,” a small child says. “I don’t want his stopwatch. I want him.” Grampa used to time everything. A race to the end of the street and back: 24 seconds. Eating bubblegum ice cream: 1 minute, 58 seconds. But now, Grampa’s gone. “There are no more Grampa minutes, Grampa seconds,” the child says. “Time just stops.” But as time goes on, the stopwatch becomes a cherished symbol of remembrance, and the child uses it to carry on Grampa’s favorite pastimes and traditions.A treasured ritual from the past can sometimes offer the perfect bridge to the future.


The Phone Booth in Mr. Hirota’s Garden

by Smith, Heather

This gorgeously illustrated picture book tells the story of a young Japanese boy who loses his dad in a tsunami.


Grandpa’s Stories

by Coelho, Joseph

In this honest and relatable depiction of loss, a young girl reflects on a year of exploring and laughing with her beloved Grandpa, remembering many special moments as she seeks a way to honor him after his death.


The Remember Balloons

by Oliveros, Jessie

What’s Happening to Grandpa meets Up in this tender, sensitive picture book that gently explains the memory loss associated with aging and diseases such as Alzheimer’s.


One Wave at a Time: A Story About Grief and Healing

by Thompson, Holly

After his father dies, Kai experiences all kinds of emotions: sadness, anger, fear, guilt. Sometimes they crash and mix together. Other times, there are no emotions at all–just flatness. As Kai and his family adjust to life without Dad, the waves still roll in.


Remembering Blue Fish

by Friedman, Becky

Daniel Tiger learns how to process the feelings that come with losing someone you love in this thoughtful 8×8 storybook based on an episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.


Death is Stupid

by Higginbotham, Anastasia

A vibrant and honest picture book that helps children through their first bereavement. An invaluable tool for talking about death and celebrating life.


Saying Good-bye to Uncle Joe: What to Expect When Someone You Love Dies

by Loewen, Nancy

When someone you love dies, you might feel sad, lonely, and confused. What do you do? No matter who your loved one was, this story can help you through the tough times.


I Miss You: A First Look at Death

by Thomas, Pat

When a close friend or family member dies, it can be difficult for kids to express their feelings. This book will help them understand that death is a natural complement to life, and that grief and a sense of loss are normal feelings for them to have following a loved one’s death.


Our Dad Died: The True Story of Three Kids Whose Lives Changed

by Dennison, Amy

Siblings share their thoughts and feelings about their loss.


Why Do People Die?: Helping Your Child Understand–With Love and Illustrations

by MacGregor, Cynthia

Why do people die? : helping your child understand–with love and illustrations.


The Goodbye Boat

by Joslin, Mary

Saying goodbye to someone you love is always hard. Saying goodbye when someone you love dies is perhaps the hardest thing of all. Joslin’s simple, thoughtful text and Little’s evocative illustrations explore the pain and grief of saying goodbye and open the door to discussion for readers of any age. The Goodbye Boat provides a message of hope that sadness will ease and comforts with the reassurance that death is not the end.


No New Baby: For Siblings Who Have a Brother or Sister Die Before Birth

by Gryte, Marilyn

Grandma took hold of my hand. She leaned over and picked something up off the ground. `See this little bud?¿ she asked. `It was supposed to keep growing and turn into a flower. But it didn¿t, and no one knows why. Most little buds become flowers, but some don¿t. This one died. It will never be a flower now.¿ I held the little bud in my hand. `Just like our baby,¿ I said. Grandma explains you¿re not to blame and we don¿t always have answers.Also available in Spanish


What on Earth Do You Do When Someone Dies?

by Romain, Trevor

Trevor Romain knows, because it happened to him when his father died. This book can help you through a painful time. Trevor answers questions you might wonder about–”Why do people have to die?””Is the death my fault?””What happens to the person’s body?””How can I say good-bye?”–in simple, honest words. He describes the strong, confusing feelings you might have and suggests ways to feel better. He tells you it’s okay to cry, talk about the death, grieve … and go on with your life.



When People Die

by Levete, Sarah

An early social issues series, which helps children to understand their feelings when faced with new situations or challenges.


Someone Special Died

by Prestine, Joan Singleton

A young girl describes the anger and sadness she feels after someone she loved dies, and makes a scrapbook to remember the things they did together.