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5 Books: Helping Children Understand Death

The following books help explain life and death in a simple way:

Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children by Bryan Mellonie & Robert Ingpen

“Lifetimes is a moving book for children of all ages, even parents too. It lets us explain life and death in a sensitive, caring, beautiful way. Lifetimes tells us about beginnings. And about endings. And about living in between. With large, wonderful illustrations, it tells about plants. About animals. About people. It tells that dying is as much a part of living as being born. It helps us to remember. It helps us to understand.” (Goodreads)

The Invisible String by Patrice Karst

“If I could only have one book to use for counseling purposes, this would be it. This book is extremely versatile. It can be used for any type of separation, loss. The premise of the book is that we are all connected by an invisible string. Even though it is invisible, you can feel it with your heart. Everyone has an invisible string, and it can reach anywhere, even heaven. The book’s message is that no one is ever alone, even when their loved one is not physically present.” (United Way, Life Lessons for Little Ones)

Gentle Willow: A Story for Children About Dying by Joyce C Mills, PhD

Written for children who may not survive their illness or for the children who know them, this tale helps address feelings of disbelief, anger, and sadness, along with love and compassion. (From back cover of book)

I Wish I Could Hold Your Hand: A Child’s Guide to Grief and Loss by Dr. Pat Palmer

“A best friend has moved away…Dad no longer lives with the family… A favorite relative or pet has died. This warm and comforting book gently helps the grieving child identify his or her feelings—from denial and anger to guilt and sadness—and learn to accept and deal with them. Expressive illustrations help children discover that it is natural to feel the pain of loss, and that they can help themselves feel better by seeking the comfort they need in healthy ways.” (Amazon)

When Your Grandparent Dies: A Child’s Guide to Good Grief by Victoria Ryan

“Explaining what happens from a child’s-eye view, the elves depict the difficult days before, after, and beyond a grandparent’s death. They explore the meaning of death and heaven, as well as how to stay close in spirit with a grandparent who has died. Includes questions for discussion.” (Amazon)

Jimmie Stapleton

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