The best children's books aren't just there for enjoyment. In fact, there are also many children's books about death that can help our little ones cope with bereavement.
When somebody dies, it can be really difficult to navigate discussions of grief and death with our children. We may fear upsetting or frightening them or losing control of our own emotions in front of them. In fact, child psychologists agree that it’s healthier to be open about bereavement and death than to hide everything away.
One of the most constructive ways to open up this kind of conversation, and to demystify death, is by having a few children's books about death in your bookcase. Fortunately, there are lots of beautiful stories, new and old, about loss, grief and the process of life and death.
The best children's books about death at a glance:
The best children's books about death overall: Badger’s Parting Gifts by Susan Varly - Buy now on Amazon
The best children's books about sibling loss: Where Are You Lydie? By Emma Poore - Buy now on Amazon
The best lift-the-flap children's books about death: Goodbye Grandma by Melanie Walsh - Buy now on Amazon
The best children's books about death
The best children's books about death overall
The best children's books about sibling loss
Recommended by The Miscarriage Association, Child Bereavement UK, Shooting Star Children’s
The best lift-the-flap children's books about death
This colourful, lift-the-flap children's book about death is aimed at toddlers, though
The best simplistic children's books about death
One morning a boy finds that his pet, Mousie, won't wake up. At first, the boy can’t believe it.
When Fox lies down and dies in the forest, his friends gather around him and one by one the
Granpa is a classic story about a devoted grandfather and his special bond with his granddaughter.
I Miss You is by a psychotherapist and counsellor, so it’s great if you’re feeling overwhelmed
“When somebody dies, where do they go? / Do they go where the wind goes when it blows? … Do they
Judith Kerr’s clumsy cat Mog is already a much-loved character, making this book the perfect way
How books can help children cope with bereavement
Emotional outlet: Books can serve as a safe space for children to express their emotions. Characters in the story can model how it's okay to feel sad, angry, or confused when someone they love has died.
Understanding death: Children often struggle to grasp the concept of death. Books written for children can use age-appropriate language and imagery to explain what happens when someone dies. This can help demystify death and make it less frightening.
Normalisation: Reading about characters who have experienced loss can help children feel less alone in their grief. It lets them know that others have gone through similar experiences and that it's a part of the human condition.
Encouraging communication: Books can serve as conversation starters. After reading a book together, parents or caregivers can ask children questions about their feelings and thoughts, which can lead to more open and constructive discussions about the loss.
Emily Gilbert is the Features & Reviews Editor for Mother&Baby and has written for the website and previously the magazine for six years. Specialising in product reviews, Emily is the first to know about all the exciting new releases in the parenting industry.