Dealing with Death/Loss in Picture Books

Picture books for children to help them work through and put words to the loss of a loved one.
Updated September 19, 2022
Drag items up and down to your preferred order then select the "Save Order" button.
A Stone for Sascha
Aaron Becker
A girl grieves the loss of her dog in an achingly beautiful wordless epic from the Caldecott Honor-winning creator of Journey. This year's summer vacation will be very different for a young girl and her family without Sascha, the beloved family dog, along for the ride. But...
A Last Goodbye
Elin Kelsey
How do we say goodbye to a loved one after they die? This book broaches a difficult topic in a heartfelt way by exploring the beauty in how animals mourn. From elephants to whales, parrots to bonobos, and lemurs to humans, we all have rituals to commemorate our loved ones and to lift each other up...
Where Lily Isn't
Julie Paschkis
Where Lily Isn't is Julie Paschkis and Margaret Chodos-Irvine's beautiful bereavement picture book celebrating the love of a lost pet. Lily ran and jumped and barked and whimpered and growled and wiggled and wagged and licked and snuggled. But not...
The Boy and the Gorilla
Jackie Azua Kramer
This profoundly moving tale about a grieving boy and an imaginary gorilla makes real the power of talking about loss. On the day of his mother's funeral, a young boy conjures the very visitor he needs to see: a gorilla. Wise and gentle, the gorilla stays on to answer the heart...
Something Very Sad Happened: A Toddler's Guide to Understanding Death
Bonnie Zucker
Something Very Sad Happened is intended to be read to two- and three-year-old children to help them understand death and process the loss of a loved one. When a loved one dies, it can be hard to know how to explain it to a young child, particularly if you are...
Dance Like a Leaf
AJ Irving
As her grandmother's health declines, a young girl begins to lovingly take the lead in their cozy shared autumn traditions. Poetic prose paired with evocative illustrations by Mexican illustrator Claudia Navarro make for a beautiful celebration of life and a gentle introduction to the death of...
Ida, Always
Caron Levis
A beautiful, honest portrait of loss and deep friendship told through the story of two iconic polar bears. Gus lives in a big park in the middle of an even bigger city, and he spends his days with Ida. Ida is right there. Always. Then one sad day, Gus learns that Ida...
The Pond
Nicola Davies
A touching picture book for children about a young boy and his family overcoming the loss of his father. This colorful, emotional book is filled with natural imagery, centering on a small pond in the garden, and will teach children not only about death and loss, but the importance of the...
The Funeral
Matt James
A New York Times / New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children's Book New York Public Library Best Books for Kids Ezra Jack Keats Award Honor Winner Norma and her parents are going to her great-uncle Frank's funeral, and Norma is more excited than sad. She...
Harry & Hopper
Margaret Wild
When Harry's beloved dog Hopper dies, he has a hard time letting go, as Harry sees Hopper still in his life. Are Hopper's visits to Harry the boy's imagination, or is the dog truly leaving Harry gradually, once he makes sure his boy will be all right? Eyes will not stay dry as readers experience...
The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye
Jane Yolen
Not since The 10th Good Thing About Barney or I'll Always Love You has there been such a peaceful and inspiring book to help children and adults cope with the loss of a pet. The talented multiple-medalist Jane Yolen takes on this difficult subject with her usual grace and poetic...
Is Daddy Coming Back in a Minute?: Explaining (sudden) death in words very young children can understand
Elke Barber
When we were on a No Girls Allowed! holiday, my daddy's heart stopped beating and I had to find help all by myself. He was very badly broken. Not even the ambulance people could help him... This honest, sensitive and beautifully illustrated picture book is designed to help...
Death Is Stupid
Anastasia Higginbotham
'She's in a better place now,' adults say again and again when someone dies. But it doesn't seem better, it seems stupid. This forthright exploration of grief and mourning recognises the anger, confusion and fear that we feel about death - but refuses to succumb to banalaties when talking about it....
It's Tough to Lose Your Balloon
Jarrett J. Krosoczka
From the author of National Book Award finalist Hey, Kiddo. Lost balloons. Melted ice cream. Babysitters. Life as a kid can be pretty daunting. But don't let these troubles get you down. With the right attitude, a hurdle can become a hammock and an...
The Invisible String
Patrice Karst
NEW EDITION AVAILABLE! Little, Brown Books for Young Readers is now the exclusive publisher of all editions of The Invisible String, featuring gorgeous artwork by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff. The publishing rights to the original DeVorss Publications hardcover edition, first released in 2000, were...
The Goodbye Book
Todd Parr
From New York Times bestselling author Todd Parr comes this poignant and reassuring story about loss.  With his colorful illustrations, playful humor, and inclusive storytelling, beloved author Todd Parr has long been a favorite among young readers and...
Missing Mommy: A Book About Bereavement
Rebecca Cobb
Some time ago, we said good-bye to Mommy. I am not sure where she has gone. Honest and straightforward, this touching story explores the many emotions a bereaved child may experience, from anger and guilt to sadness and bewilderment. Ultimately, Missing Mommy focuses on the...
The Memory Box: A Book About Grief
Joanna Rowland
A multi-award-winning story about dealing with the loss of a loved one, The Memory Boxhas been an invaluable resource for thousands of families. From the perspective of a young child, author Joanna Rowland artfully describes what it's like to remember and grieve a loved one who has died....
Grandma's Gone to Live in the Stars (Concept Books (Albert Whitman))
Max Haynes
GRANDMA'S GONE TO LIVE IN THE STARS is the simple, tender story of the death of a beloved grandmother. But this story is told by Grandma herself as she peacefully says goodbye to her sleeping children and grandchildren and then, in turn, to all the earthly things she has loved and rises to her new...
My Father’s Arms Are a Boat
Stein Erik Lunde
It's quieter than it's ever been. Unable to sleep, a young boy climbs into his father's arms. Feeling the warmth and closeness of his father, he begins to ask questions about the birds, the foxes, and whether his mom will ever wake up. They go outside under the starry sky. Loss and love are as...
Where Do People Go When They Die?
Mindy Avra Portnoy
In this touching narrative, young children ask, "Where do people go when they die?" Each child asks an adult that they trust - a father, a mother, a grandfather, an aunt, a teacher - and, although the reassuring answers they receive are all different, each leads back to the same simple truth:...
Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories
Audrey Penn
Chester Raccoon's good friend Skiddel Squirrel has had an accident and will not be returning - ever. Chester is upset that he won't get to play with his friend anymore. Mrs. Raccoon suggests that Chester and his friends create some memories of Skiddel, so that they will have good memories when they...
Zayde comes to live
Sheri Sinykin
In this touching, simple story, a young Jewish girl named Rachel tries to make peace with the impending death of her grandfather. Rachel's grandfather, her Zayde, has come to live with her family. Though no one has told her, Rachel knows it is because he is dying, and she worries what will...
Sammy in the Sky
Barbara Walsh
A deeply affecting tale of love, loss, and remembrance -- told in clear-eyed prose by a top journalist and illustrated by a renowned American painter. Sammy, the best hound dog in the whole wide world, loves his girl and she loves him. When illness cuts Sammy's life short, the...
One Wave at a Time
Holly Thompson
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. But with the help of friends...
The Heart and the Bottle
Oliver Jeffers
From #1 New York Times bestseller Oliver Jeffers, comes a poignant and beautiful story about finding joy after loss.  There is a wonder and magic to childhood. We don't realize it at the time, of course . . . yet the adults in our lives do. They encourage us to see...
Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You
Nancy Tillman
Bestselling author/artist Nancy Tillman celebrates the ways in which the love between parents and children is forever. . . . I wanted you more than you'll ever know, so I sent love to follow wherever you go. . . . Love is the greatest...
The Scar
Charlotte Moundlic
A little boy responds to his mother's death in a genuine, deeply moving story leavened by glimmers of humor and captivating illustrations. When the boy in this story wakes to find that his mother has died, he is overwhelmed with sadness, anger, and fear that he will forget her....

Library staff! You can create and contribute to lists. Contact your catalog administrator or log in here.