11 Grief Books for Kids: Picture Books for Grieving Children

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the best grief books for kids picture books arranged in columns.

Grief Books for Kids. Please know that I have approached this subject with prayer and with great caution. I have included quotes to help parents and caregivers grasp a better understanding of the book before borrowing it from the local library or purchasing it. All of these books require a content warning of loss/death.

I do not recommend these books as casual reads to a young child but only to a child deep in the grieving process to give them direction in the cycle of grief and offer comfort.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you on qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate. 

11 Grief Books for Kids: A Picture Book Collection of Books about Grief and Loss

1. Goodbye to Goodbyes: A True Story About Jesus, Lazarus, and an Empty Tomb by Lauren Chandler

“There is a day coming when we will say goodbye to saying goodbyes forever.”

This picture book retells the story of Lazarus. It helps young children understand that Jesus knew the heartbreak and sadness of losing loved ones. In this key biblical story, Jesus showed his friends that death doesn’t have the last victory. Jesus rose from the dead and has power over death. All who believe in Jesus will have everlasting life.

“Martha nodded, “Yes! I believe you, Jesus! I know you are the Son of God. And I know you always do what you promise. You will end all our goodbyes. Forever.”

2. The Awesome Super Fantastic Forever Party Storybook: A True Story about Heaven, Jesus, and the Best Invitation of All by Joni Eareckson Tada

“Jesus loved giving invitations. And his most wonderful invitation of all was this: Everyone who believes in me as their King and Rescuer will have life with me, forever.”

This illustrated storybook presents the truth about Heaven with stunning illustrations and engaging text. Heaven is a place where nothing gets broken or goes wrong, a place where Jesus gives us a new heart (that means no more sin), a place of peace and friendship, where Jesus will give us a new body – “shining and splendorous,” and we will live in a new city. BUT the best thing will be JESUS. This is a great book to share the gospel with young children and share the truths about Heaven.

3. Goodbye, Bear by Jane Chapman

“Bear died on Friday, as sun speckled the grass and caterpillars nibbled the leaves.”

The story starts with two devastated friends, Mole and Beaver. They are angry and sad. Together surrounded by their woodland community, they honor bear by finishing his treehouse. It turns out bear had a surprise waiting for them. This is a story of grief for the young and old. Chapman does a beautiful job executing this sweet story in word and illustration, offering comfort and hope.

“I have so many things I want to tell him,” said Mole. “You could tell me, suggested Beaver.”

4. Bader’s Parting Gifts by Susan Varley

This is a heartwarming picture book of loss and bereavement of Badger, a dear friend who left a beautiful legacy. Badger was aging, not afraid to die but worried about his friends. One night as Badger was rocking by the fireside he left a note to his friends reading “gone down the long tunnel.” Badger’s friends were heartbroken and missed their loyal friend but they talked about the days Badger was alive and they shared special memories. They remember the joy and the many lessons of Badger, realizing that Badger had left them parting gifts, skills to be able to help each other.

5. The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

This is book is filled with simple text about a child navigating feelings of sadness. “Out of nowhere things came crashing down.” Taylor was upset. The chicken wanted to talk, the bear wanted to shout, the elephant wanted to remember, the hyena wanted to laugh, the ostrich wanted to hide, the kangaroo wanted to throw everything away, and the snake wanted ruin things for someone else. When Taylor didn’t want to do these things, they all left. Taylor was alone. Yet, Taylor didn’t notice the rabbit. The rabbit stayed in the quiet and listened.

6. Everett Anderson’s Goodbye by Lucille Clifton

This young boy named Everett Anderson struggles through the stages of grief from denial to acceptance after losing his daddy. Everett’s struggle and emotion is portrayed in the black-and-white illustrations.

“Everett Anderson says, “I knew my daddy loved me through and through, and whatever happens when people die, love doesn’t stop and neither will I.”

7. What is Given from the Heart by Patricia McKissack

At first, this book may not seem to fit on this booklist of grief books for kids, but James Otis and his mama experience a season of valleys. “We were already poor, but we got poorer last April, when Daddy went to sleep on the front porch and never woke up.” Times got harder as they lost their home but James Otis and his mama experience the joy of giving to a family who has lost everything in a fire. The young boy thinks he has nothing to give but “what is given from the heart, reaches the heart” and he gives from his heart.

Content warning: brief mention of Halloween costume, loss of a father, and house fire.

8. Blackberry Stew by Isabell Monk

In this beautiful book, Hope is afraid to go to her Grandpa Jack’s funeral because she fears after today she will never see him again. She sits with her Aunt Poogee a little while longer while her Aunt makes Blackberry stew. Together they share memories of Grandpa Jack. Hope recalls a sweet story of her and Grandpa Jack picking blackberries, meeting a snake, carrying overflowing buckets of blackberries, and eating warm blackberry stew together. Remembering these precious memories gives Hope the courage she needs to attend the funeral.

9. The Two of Them by Aliki

This sweet story is about a little girl and her grandfather, who loves her very much. Through the years, they share many memories. One day Grandfather becomes ill and is no longer able to get around. She takes care of him and returns his love.

“She knew that one day he would die. But when he did, she was not ready, and she hurt inside and out.”

10. The Invisible String by Patrice Karst

This is a great book for helping young children cope with separation, anxiety, loss and grief. The twins are woken up from a storm outside and come running to their mom. Mom shares a story about the invisible string. The invisible string is a special string made of love that connects you to everyone you love. Love travels along the string and tugs on your heart. The string can reach anywhere and everywhere. One of the twins ask, “Can the string reach to Uncle Brian in heaven?” And mom answers, yes as long as love is in your heart the string will always be there. “We are always together no matter what.”

11. Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss by Pat Schwiebert

While this is a picture book, the audience is geared towards older children and adults. This is a heavy read that follows Grandy after a significant loss. Grief is never clean, feelings get hurt, people are misunderstood, and there are feelings of coldness and emptiness. Grandy’s world had stopped but everyone else’s kept going. Grandy makes tear soup, a salty and bitter-tasting soup. The soup presents the stages of grief.

Content warning: mention of infant and child loss, pet loss and the illustrations include wording of other forms of death.

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Thanks for Stopping By!

Lastly, thank you for stopping by! Please say Hi in the comment section and feel free to share any picture book recommendations for kids grieving the loss of a loved one. If you found this booklist helpful, please subscribe to my mailing list for monthly picture booklists delivered to your inbox.

– With Great Joy, Katie


the best grief books for kids picture books arranged in columns.

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