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Fiction Books for Children to Read Alone or with Adults

 

DEATH OF A CHILD
(INCLUDING SIBLING OR FRIEND)

 

Alexander, Sue
Nadia the Willful, Pantheon Books, 1992
After Nadia’s older brother dies, she intentionally talks about him to aid
in her father’s recovery.
Ages 6-10
 
Blackburn, Lyan
Timothy Duck, Centering Corporation, 1987
Timothy Duck shares his feelings after his friend gets sick and dies.
Ages 5-8
 
Cohn, Janice
I Had a Friend Named Peter, W. Morrow, 1987
Sensitively pictures the pain experienced by a child following a friend’s
death, including fears and nightmares. The parents affirm that sorrow
and tears are acceptable.
Ages 4-9
 
Fisher, Fred
A Punkin in the Frost, Canmium Phate, 1992
Eddie and Diane are ten year olds who plan to grow up together. Diane
dies in an accident and now Eddie has to say good-bye.
Grades 3-6
 
Gryte, Marilyn
No New Baby, Pantheon Books, 1992
After her unborn sibling dies, a young child tells how she feels about
the baby’s death.
Young children
 
Kaldhol, Marit, & Oyen, Wenche
Goodbye Rune, Kane/Miller, 1987
Parents help a grieving child when her friend drowns.
Ages 5-12
 
Kubler-Ross, Elizabeth
Remember the Secret, Tricycle Press, 1998
This book describes the story of love and faith between two children
as they deal with death.
Ages 5-10
 
Park, Barbara
Mick Harte Was Here, Knopf, 1995
A sister faces the sorrow of losing her brother from a bicycle accident
when he was not wearing his helmet. Addresses guilt and proactive
prevention.
Ages 7-13
 
Paterson, Katherine
Bridge to Terabithia, Crowell, Newberry, 1978
Shows the struggle faced by an eleven year old boy when his best friend
dies. Includes his denial, bargaining, guilt, eventual acceptance and
reintegration.
Ages 7-13
 

 

DEATH OF AN ADULT (PARENT, RELATIVE, OR FRIEND)

 

Bunting, Eve
The Memory String, Clarion, 2000
When Laura loses a bead from the necklace of memories that recalls her
deceased mother, her stepmother Jane finds it. Laura learns how others
share her loss.
Ages 7-12
 
Cavin, Vicky
A Chair Full of Heart, Hara, 1998
Daughter whose mother is dying of cancer relates strategies by which
both meet her death with love. A read-aloud book illustrated with
three generations of women.
Ages 7-12
 
Clifton, Lucille
Everett Anderson’s Goodbye, Henry Holt, 1983
Award-winning poetic story of how a young boy moves through all the
stages of grieving, especially anger, when his father dies. For any young
child dealing with death.
Ages 3-8
 
Frost, Dorothy
DAD! Why’d You Leave Me?, Herald Press, 1992
10-year old Ronnie cannot understand why his father died.
Demonstrates questions children feel with loss.
Ages 8-12
 
Gregory, Alisha
Through the Mickle Woods, Little, Brown, 1992
Three stories shared between a widower and a child show moving from
grief towards healing.
Ages 7-12
 
Jordan, Mary Kate
Losing Uncle Tim, Albert Whitman, 1993
Tenderly shows the affection shared between an adult and child as the
adult’s health declines from AIDS.
Ages 5-12
 
Jukes, Mavis
Blackberries in the Dark, Knopf, 1985
After the death of his grandfather, Austin and his grandmother create
new memories while holding onto old ones.
Grades 3-6
 
Klein, Lee
The Best Gift for Mom, Paulist Press, 1995
Jonathan’s special Christmas gift for his mom demonstrates how love
and concern can help any family to carry on and thrive.
Ages 7-12
 
Lanton, Sandy
Daddy’s Chair, Kar-Ben Copies, Reprint 2001
Poignant family encounter in grieving the loss of a father
through dialogue with an inquisitive child and sensitive mother.
Compassionately illustrates Jewish Shiva week.
Ages 6-10
 
Levine, Jennifer
Forever In My Heart, Compassion Books, 1992
A sensitive story to help children be involved as a parent passes away.
Ages 6-10
 
Lowden, Stephanie
Emily’s Sadhappy Season, Centering Corporation, 1993
Book portrays a young girl’s feelings following her father’s death.
Ages 5-10
 
Marshall, Bridget
Animal Crackers: A Book About Death & Funerals & Love,
Centering Corporation, 1997-98
This book explores aging, memory loss and a special kind of love
when a young child’s Nanny must go to a nursing home and later dies.
Grades 3-6
 
Thaut, Pamela
Spike and Ben, Health Communications, 1991
The story of how a boy helps a friend following the death of his mom.
Ages 5-8
 

 

GENERAL - (UNDERSTANDING LOSS)

 

Bahr, Mary
If Nathan Were Here, Eerdman Books, 2000
A boy has lost his best friend. His teachers suggest making a memory
box to remember his friend.
Grades K-3
 
Baugher, Bob, Ph.D.; Garl, Linda Wong; & Baugher, Kristina J.
Death Turns Allie’s Family Upside Down, Caring People Press, 1999
Gives observations of the family’s pet cat Allie as they deal with the
Grandmother’s sudden death. It includes information on how to
begin conversations with children and is in a church setting with
casket funeral.
Grades K-6
 
Blackburn, Lynn B.
Class in Room 44, Centering Corp, 1991
This story describes reactions of children when their friend is killed
in a car accident.
Grades 1-6
 
Byars, Betsy
Good-bye Chicken Little, Harper Collins, 1990
Jimmy Little is scared ever since his father died. He nicknames himself
“Chicken Little.” Then he sees his Uncle die. With the help of his wacky
family, he learns to celebrate their lives and chase away “Chicken Little”.
Grades 1-4
 
L’Engle, Madeline
A Ring of Endless Light, Dell Laurel-leaf, 1976
The cycle of life and death becomes a difficult burden for sixteen year
old Vicky Austin as she watches her grandfather who is dying from
cancer.
Grades 6-8
 
Spelman, Cornelia
After Charlotte’s Mom Died, Albert Whitman & Company, 1996
Charlotte’s mom died six months earlier in a car accident. This story
depicts how she struggles with her emotions and ways she learns to
express them.
Grades K-2
 
Ancona, George
Pablo Remembers, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1993
This is a beautifully illustrated book depicting the Mexican festival
of the Day of the Dead, celebrating loved ones’ lives each year.
Ages 6-12
 
Buscaglia, Leo
Fall of Freddie the Leaf, Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 1982
Gives a visual picture of life cycles, including death.
Ages 3-7 or all ages
 
Campbell, J. A.
The Secret Places, Centering Corporation, 1992
This is the story of Ryan’s journey through grief. Gives an in-depth look
at childhood grief for adults working with children.
Ages 6-12
 
Dodge, Nancy
Thumpy’s Story: The Story of Grief and Loss Shared by Thumpy
the Bunny, Prairie Lark Press, 1994
A great resource for children depicting the story of Thumpy’s sister who
was not strong enough to continue living.
Ages 5-12
 
Goldman, Linda
Children Also Grieve, Jessica Kingsley Publisher, 2005
Story of young children and the death of their grandfather as told by
two Tiberian terriers. Has section for adults to help children.
Ages 3 & Up
 
Hanson, Warren
The Next Place, Waldman House Press, 1997
A comforting journey where earthly hurts are left behind, above all a
celebration of life.
Preschool and up
 
Joslin, Mary
The Goodbye Boat, Lion Publishing, 2005
Provides the message that good-byes are painful, but there is hope that
comfort will return and that death may bring a brighter place. Use to
start discussions.
Families
 
Simon, Norma
The Saddest Time, Albert Whitman & Company, 1986
Three stories of how children deal with the death of someone close:
a classmate in a car accident, an uncle and a grandfather. Through
words and multicultural drawings, children learn to express caring
and concern.
Grades Pre-6
 
Van Ommen, Silvia
Jellybeans, Roaring Brook Press, 2002
Two friends meet at the park and one of them brings jellybeans.
The two friends talk about what heaven might be like and if they
will see each other there.
Grades Pre-4
 

 

DEATH OF A PET (Books dealing with the death of a pet can facilitate not only the encounter of the pet’s death, but that of any loved one.)

 

Brown, Margaret W.
The Dead Bird, Harper Trophy Ed, Reprint 2007
Provides images of sorrow and innocence as children hold services for
a dead bird.
Ages 3-8
 
Harris, R.
Goodbye Mousie, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2001
This sensitive book shows the sadness of a boy after the death of his pet
mouse and how the family joins to grieve and celebrate the mouse’s life.
Ages 4-7
 
Rosen, Michael J.
Bonesy and Isabel, Harcourt Brace, 1995
A family surrounds a dying pet with love, and finds room to love
another pet.
Ages 3-9
 
Rylant, Cynthia
Dog Heaven, Blue Sky, 1995
Colorfully depicts a joyful afterlife while acknowledging a
survivor’s pain.
Ages 4-7
 
Varley, Susan
Badger’s Parting Gifts, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1984
Pictures a tunnel of death with gifts left by the departed pet.
Ages 4-9
 
Viorst, Judith
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, Atheneum, 1971
Provides a positive model for remembering and grieving.
The child is renewed.
Ages 5-9
 

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