Books can help you to find the right words to explain death and grief to children.
Talking to children about the loss of a loved one can be extremely hard, especially if you are struggling with your own grief.
Reading books about loss and grief with children can help them with understanding, processing and coping with what has happened. Reading about fictional characters experiencing the exact same thoughts and feelings that they’re having can help to normalise and validate their emotions and begin conversations about how they’re feeling.
Here are four children’s books that handle the topic of loss sensitively and eloquently.
Michael Rosen’s Sad Book, Michael Rosen
Michael Rosen’s Sad Book offers an honest and sincere look at grief and is beautifully illustrated by Quentin Blake. Rosen wrote the book chronicling his own grief at the death of his son when he was just 19 years old. The book acknowledges how grief feels and explains that it’s ok to feel sad and all manner of other feelings. Rosen explains complex feelings in simple ways, normalising how grief feels and letting the reader know that they are not alone.
Goodbye Mog, Judith Kerr
Over the years many children have fallen in love with Kerr’s tales of Mog the cat and the Thomas family. In Goodbye Mog, Kerr tackles the difficult subject of dealing with the death of a much-loved pet. The book expresses Mog’s readiness to leave and her continued love for the family after she’s gone.
No Matter What, Debi Gliori
No Matter What sends a comforting message to youngsters about limitless love. This beautifully illustrated book focuses on the love between a fox cub and its mother, and explains that she will always love him forever, even when she’s gone. The warm words can help to quell anxieties and offer comfort to children who have lost someone close to them.
The Goodbye Book, Todd Parr
The Goodbye Book helps children to understand what it’s like to lose someone through the eyes of a goldfish. The message is matter-of-fact, simple to understand, and easy to relate to. The story addresses how losing someone feels, gives simple advice on how to deal with the loss, and reassures that there is “always someone to love”.