According to Jayme Nelson, a Pediatric Chaplain at Sanford Health, grief and loss come with heavy emotions. Often, adults are unsure how to discuss these topics with kids, so they choose to avoid it. However, it’s important to be honest with kids and help them understand and process difficult experiences. Jayme collaborated with Clinical Mental Health Therapist, Mary Weber, to help caregivers navigate these tough conversations. Check out their list of top books to help kids with grief and loss.
- The Memory Box: A Book About Grief
This book provides a young child’s perspective while acknowledging and normalizing the big feelings that come with grief. Plus, children can learn an activity that helps them remember their loved one.
- The Invisible String
Best suited for ages 3-7, this book illustrates the unbreakable connections between loved ones and is a great coping tool for all kinds of big feelings like grief, loss, or even separation anxiety.
- Something Very Sad Happened: A Toddler’s Guide to Understanding Death
It can be hard to explain to a young child, especially a toddler, that a loved one has passed. This book helps explain death while validating all the emotions that come with loss and reassures kids of unwavering love.
- The Goodbye Book
Through the life of a fish, this book tells a touching story and includes colorful illustrations and inclusive storytelling. The Goodbye Book, ideally suited for ages 2-4, also addresses kids’ emotions and provides them with reassurance.
- Grief is a Mess
Uniquely written for children and adults, Grief is a Mess uses a healthy dose of humor with its creative animals to illustrate how grief is different for everyone and can change without warning.
- When Someone Dies: A Children’s Mindful How-To Guide on Grief and Loss
This book is great for children ages 4-10 and examines grief through the lens of mindfulness. Children will learn how to say goodbye, make space for any emotions that arise, and work through their grief.
- Water Bugs and Dragonflies: Explaining Death to Young Children
Great for children ages 8-12, this story explains death to children with beautiful illustrations that embody the wonder and beauty of transformations found in both nature and human experiences.
- Sad Isn’t Bad: A Good-Grief Guidebook for Kids Dealing with Loss
Written by a school counselor, Sad Isn’t Bad is filled with positive, life-affirming advice for coping with loss as a child while providing comfort and hope.
- Grief is Like a Snowflake
For kids of all ages, this book tells the story of Little Tree who learns what is important in life. Kids will see how Little Tree learns to cope with feelings, starts the healing process, and discovers that everyone grieves differently.
- I Miss You
This book gently explains that death is a natural component of life while explaining the grieving process and validates the big feelings that come with loss. I Miss You also ends with questions that can help children talk about their feelings.
- When a Pet Dies
The death of a pet can be impactful on a child. When a Pet Dies assures kids that grieving is natural and teaches them that sharing their feelings can be healing.
- After a Death: An Activity Book for Children
This workbook is a great tool for grieving children because it includes creative activities and tips for dealing with changes and living with loss. Some of the activities include creative drawing and writing to honor the memory of their loved one.
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