Best Kids Chapter Books About Death

38 Kids Chapter Books About Death

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
The Girl with More Than One Heart book
#1
The Girl with More Than One Heart
Written and illustrated by Laura Geringer Bass
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Briana, devastated by the sudden death of her dad, imagines she has a new heart growing deep inside her belly that gives advice in her father's voice, providing her with the support she needs to navigate her grief.

The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery book
#2
The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery
Written by Allison Rushby
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Flossie Birdwhistle is the Turnkey at London’s Highgate Cemetery. As Turnkey, it’s Flossie’s job to ensure that all the souls buried in the cemetery stay at rest. Not an easy job for a young ghost, but a task made especially difficult by World War II: London is being attacked every night by enemy bombers, and even the dead are unsettled. When Flossie encounters the ghost of a German soldier carrying a mysterious object that seems to exist in both the living and spirit worlds, she becomes suspicious—what is the officer up to? Before long, Flossie uncovers a sinister plot that could destroy not only her cemetery, but also her beloved country. Can Flossie and her ghostly friends stop the soldier before it’s too late? History collides with the supernatural in this exciting, ethereal mystery from Allison Rushby.

Waiting for Augusta book
#3
Waiting for Augusta
Written by Jessica Lawson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From the author of The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher and Nooks & Crannies comes a “whimsical, heartwarming,” (Kirkus Reviews) and profound tale of love, loss, and family. Eleven-year-old Benjamin Putter has a lump in his throat, and he’s certain it’s a golf ball. He knows it sounds crazy, but everything’s been topsy-turvy since his father died last month. And he doesn’t know how to fix it. Then, one day, something starts tugging at Ben, telling him to hurry to Augusta, Georgia—home of the most famous golf course in the world. Ben might be going a little crazy, but escaping Hilltop, Alabama, sounds like a darn good idea. (And just maybe it will make that lump go away.) As he makes his way to Augusta, Ben partners up with a mysterious runaway named Noni, and they embark on a journey full of strange and wonderful surprises—and possibly magic—at every turn.

The Memory of Forgotten Things book
#4
The Memory of Forgotten Things
Written and illustrated by Kat Zhang
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In the tradition of The Thing About Jellyfish and When You Reach Me, acclaimed author Kat Zhang offers a luminous and heartbreaking novel about a girl who is convinced that an upcoming solar eclipse will bring back her dead mother

Jack the Ripper book
#5
Jack the Ripper
Written by Michael Burgan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Looks at one of historys most infamous serial killers known for committing gruesome murders in the late nineteenth-century who remains one of the world's most infamous criminals.

Lizzie Borden book
#6
Lizzie Borden
Written by Michael Burgan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what it takes to be considered one of the worst figures in history, with this fourth book in a nonfiction series that focuses on the most nefarious historical figures. Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one. On August 4, 1892, the murders of wealthy and prominent Andrew and Abby Borden rocked the small town of Fall River, Massachusetts. The accused? Mild-mannered and highly respected Lizzie Borden, daughter of Andrew and stepdaughter of Abby. But did she actually do it? And if she did, why? Lizzie had as much to gain from the death of her father as anyone. Despite his wealth, Andrew did not believe in spending money and Lizzie had grown frustrated with the situation. And her actions in the days before the murder—trying to buy a type of strong poison—as well as those after the murder—burning a dress she claimed was stained—didn’t help. On August 11, Lizzie was arrested. But after a sensational trial, she was found not guilty. Rumors lingered. Stories persisted. And Lizzie continues to fascinate even today.

The Gray Hunter's Revenge book
#7
The Gray Hunter's Revenge
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Frank and Joe investigate a supernatural crime in the seventeenth book in the thrilling Hardy Boys Adventures series. One of the Hardys’ favorite writers, Nathan Foxwood, has recently died in a tragic car accident. Now, the press is swarming his house in Bayport to get the scoop on the novel he completed just before his untimely death. When Joe hears that Nathan’s wife is having a giant estate sale, he drags Frank with him. Who could pass up the opportunity to see inside their favorite author’s home? Nathan’s wife says she wants to get away as quickly as possible; strange things have been happening since their first night there and now her husband is gone and she’s sure the house is haunted. But Nathan’s assistant, Adam, is not so willing to blame it all on the supernatural. Valuable things keep disappearing from the house—why would a ghost need money? Adam recognizes the Hardys’ from an article he read and asks for their help. Of course Frank and Joe Hardy don’t believe in ghosts and are positive they can get to the bottom of all this. But when Adam is mysteriously hurt after spending the night alone in the house, the brothers start to wonder; what is the motive for these crimes if not ghostly revenge? Could these brother detectives be in over their heads?

The Night Diary book
#8
The Night Diary
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Shy twelve-year-old Nisha, forced to flee her home with her Hindu family during the 1947 partition of India, tries to find her voice and make sense of the world falling apart around her by writing to her deceased Muslim mother in the pages of her diary.

One Shadow on the Wall book
#9
One Shadow on the Wall
Written and illustrated by Leah Henderson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

An orphaned boy in contemporary Senegal must decide between doing what is right and what is easy as he struggles to keep a promise he made to his dying father in this “stirring” (School Library Journal) debut novel laced with magical realism. Eleven-year-old Mor was used to hearing his father’s voice, even if no one else could since his father’s death. It was comforting. It was also a reminder that Mor had made a promise to his father before he passed: keep your sisters safe. Keep the family together. But almost as soon as they are orphaned, that promise seems impossible to keep. With an aunt from the big city ready to separate him and his sisters as soon as she arrives, and a gang of boys from a nearby village wanting everything he has—including his spirit—Mor is tested in ways he never imagined. With only the hot summer months to prove himself, Mor must face a choice. Does he listen to his father and keep his heart true, but risk breaking his promise through failure? Or is it easier to just join the Danka Boys, whom despite their maliciousness are at least loyal to their own? One Shadow on the Wall is about love and loss, family and friendship, and creating your own future—even when it’s hard to do.

Goodbye to Goldie book
#10
Goodbye to Goldie
Written by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie Woo's dog, Goldie, was very old. Goldie became sick and died. Katie will miss her friend. She is glad that she has lots of happy memories of Goldie.

The Road to Ever After book
#11
The Road to Ever After
Written by Moira Young
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A young boy escorts an elderly woman back to her childhood home where she plans to die in this funny and heartbreaking middle-grade novel. Davy David, an orphan, lives by his wits in the dead-end town of Brownvale. When a stray dog named George turns Davy’s life upside down just days before Christmas, Davy sets in motion a chain of events that forces them to flee. A mischievous wind blows the two of them to a boarded-up museum on the outskirts of town where they meet the elderly recluse, Miss Flint. She has planned one last adventure before her time is up and hires the reluctant Davy and George to escort her. As they travel, the most peculiar thing begins to happen—Miss Flint gets younger and younger with every mile, and her story unfolds along with it. The Road to Ever After by Moira Young is magical and moving adventure about an unlikely friendship and an unforgettable journey. Praise for The Road to Ever After: "Gorgeous writing combines with a hauntingly bleak near-future setting, a whiff of holiday magic, and a transcendent story arc to make this novel feel like the classic it deserves to become." —Publishers Weekly, starred review "This fairy tale-like novel has good potential as a read- aloud and is just quirky enough to not be sentimental." —School Library Journal

Better Off Undead book
#12
Better Off Undead
Written by James Preller
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

After becoming undead, a boy tries to survive middle school in this quirky, smart adventure for middle grade readers from James Preller. Adrian Lazarus has met with a curious fate. He’s returned from the dead (after a bad bike accident, no helmet), yet not a lot has changed. He’s always been an outcast. But it’s not just being a zombie that makes Adrian feel different. He notices the world has changed, too: bees are vanishing, forest fires are burning, super-flus are spreading. The holographic advertisements in the night sky assure people that all is well. Adrian and his friends—a beekeeping boy, a mysterious new girl, and a seventh-grade sleuth—aren’t so sure. When they discover a birdlike drone has been spying on Adrian, the clues lead two powerful corporate moguls. What do they really want? Find out in Better Off Undead, a smart and funny middle-grade novel that brings together environmental concerns, sci-fi elements, and the supernatural. This title has Common Core connections. Praise for Better Off Undead: “This uproarious middle grade call to action has considerable kid appeal and a timely message.” —School Library Journal “Against a near-future backdrop, Preller thoughtfully chronicles the anxieties of middle school, using a blend of comedy and horror to send a message of empowerment and self-acceptance.” —Publishers Weekly “Adrian may be undead, but this is much more than a zombie tale, as it touches upon cultural issues, media control, family bonds, and environmental issues. Fans of Carl Hiassen’s Hoot will be as satisfied by this as will fans of monster books or those who appreciate stories of outcasts and coming-of-age stories. Highly recommended.” —Children's Literature More fast-paced adventure from James Preller: The Courage Test The Fall The Scary Tales series: Home Sweet Horror I Scream, You Scream! Good Night, Zombie Nightmareland One-Eyed Doll Swamp Monster The Jigsaw Jones Mysteries: The Case of the Smelly Sneaker The Case of the Mummy Mystery The Case of the Glow in the Dark Ghost The Case of the Bicycle Bandit The Case from Outer Space The Case of the Best Pet Ever The Case of the Buried Treasure The Case of the Million-Dollar Mystery The Case of the Disappearing Dinosaur

Zombie Tag book
#13
Zombie Tag
Written by Hannah Moskowitz
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Wil is desperate for his older brother to come back from the dead. But the thing about zombies is . . they don't exactly make the best siblings. Thirteen-year-old Wil Lowenstein copes with his brother's death by focusing on Zombie Tag, a mafia/ capture the flag hybrid game where he and his friends fight off brain-eating zombies with their mothers' spatulas. What Wil doesn't tell anybody is that if he could bring his dead brother back as a zombie, he would in a heartbeat. But when Wil finds a way to summon all the dead within five miles, he's surprised to discover that his back-from-the-dead brother is emotionless and distant. In her first novel for younger readers, Moskowitz offers a funny and heartfelt look at how one boy deals with change, loss, and the complicated relationship between brothers.

A Stitch in Time book
#14
A Stitch in Time
Written by Daphne Kalmar
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In 1927 Vermont, eleven-year-old Donut, recently orphaned after the death of her beloved pops, stands to lose everything when she learns her Aunt Agnes plans to move her to Boston, but little does her aunt know that Donut has no intentions of leaving her friends or her home.

Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel book
#15
Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-14

Twelve-year-old Stevie attempts to brighten the lives of her cranky grandfather and the residents of his motel by planting a garden in this middle grade novel by National Book Award–winning author Kimberly Willis Holt. Stevie's world changes drastically when her parents are tragically killed and she is forced to live with her estranged grandfather at his run-down motel. After failed attempts to connect with her grandfather, Stevie befriends the colorful motel tenants and neighbors. Together, they decide to bring some color and life to the motel by planting a flower garden, against Stevie's grandfather's wishes. It will take Stevie's departure before her grandfather realizes just how needed she is by everyone. Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel explores themes of loss, family, and love, and gets at the heart of what it means to find a place to call home. A Christy Ottaviano Book "Endearing and imperfect, Stevie establishes immediate rapport with readers." —Kirkus Reviews More from Kimberly Willis Holt: Skinny Brown Dog Dear Hank Williams Dinner with the Highbrows The Water Seeker Keeper of the Night When Zachary Beaver Came to Town The Piper Reed series: Piper Reed, Navy Brat Piper Reed, Clubhouse Queen Piper Reed Gets a Job Piper Reed, Party Planner Piper Reed, Campfire Girl Piper Reed, Rodeo Star Piper Reed, Forever Friend

A Whisper of Horses book
#16
A Whisper of Horses
Written and illustrated by Zillah Bethell
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

A futuristic adventure fantasy in which an orphaned girl is on a quest to find the last horses on Earth Serendipity lives inside a walled city. Before her mother died, she gave Seren an old figurine of a horse. Horses no longer exist in Serendipity’s world, but when she discovers a map that may lead her to real horses, she starts on a journey that will take her far from everything she knows. Traveling with an orphan boy, Tab, and his beloved dog, she's soon on the run from a powerful and dangerous man who will do anything to make sure Serendipity never leaves the walled city again.

Making Scents book
#17
Making Scents
Written by Arthur Yorinks and illustrated by Shelli Paroline, Braden Lamb
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Mickey isn't quite like his brothers and sisters. They're all stronger, faster, and have a much better sense of smell. That’s because his "brothers and sisters" are dogs—bloodhounds, to be exact. Mickey’s mom and dad are crazy about canines. Their dogs are the loves of their lives and their livelihood. So, naturally, they’re raising their son as if he was a dog, and Mickey wants nothing more than to make his parents proud. Just as Mickey is mastering the art of sniffing, a tragic accident forever changes his happy family. Mickey is sent to live with relatives he's never met—relatives who are not fond of kids . . . and who hate dogs!

The Extraordinary Colors of Auden Dare book
#18
The Extraordinary Colors of Auden Dare
Written and illustrated by Zillah Bethell
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Auden Dare is color blind and lives in a world where water is scarce and families must live on a weekly, allocated supply.When Auden’s uncle, the scientist Dr. Bloom, suddenly dies,he leaves a note to Auden and to his classmate Vivi Rookmini. Together, the notes lead them to Paragon—a robot. As Auden, Vivi, and Paragon try to uncover Paragon’spurpose and put together the clues Dr. Bloom left behind,they find out that Dr. Bloom's death was anything butinnocent, that powerful people are searching for Paragon—and that it's up to Auden and Vivi to stop them.

Frozen Man book
#19
Frozen Man
Written by David Getz and illustrated by Peter McCarty
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Recounts the discovery of a man's remains found frozen in the Alps, and describes how scientists determined that he had died five thousand years earlier

Purple Death book
#20
Purple Death
Written by David Getz and illustrated by Peter McCarty
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

It was the worst epidemic in this country's history, and the search for its cause is still one of science's most urgent quests. It was 1918, the last year of World War 1. Thousands of men lived in the crowded army training camps that were scattered all across the United States. That spring, a strange flu struck the soldiers at a camp in the Midwest. Healthy young men went to the hospital complaining of sore throats and fevers. Within hours they had suffocated, their skin taking on a terrible purplish hue. The devastating flu spread like wildfire across the country, infecting soldiers and civilians alike. It killed more than half a million people in a matter of months, then disappeared as suddenly as it had come. To this day, no one knows what caused a common flu to become so deadly, but scientists are still searching for answers. What they discover could save millions of lives if another common flu virus suddenly turns into a killer. In this riveting account, acclaimed nonfiction author David Getz tells young readers the story of the mysterious flu known as the Purple Death -- the virus responsible for the worst epidemic in American history.

The Fix-It Friends: Wish You Were Here book
#21
The Fix-It Friends: Wish You Were Here
Written by Nicole C. Kear and illustrated by Tracy Dockray
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Because losing a loved one is hard. Ziggy isn’t just a pet guinea pig. He’s a rock star, a friend, and a part of Ezra’s family. So when he dies, Ezra is more upset than Veronica has ever seen him. She can’t just sit back and watch a friend suffer. Something must be done! Laughter is the best medicine, so tons of fun is just what the Fix-It Friends order. But when nothing seems to shake Ezra’s sadness, the Fix-It crew learns that grief isn’t something to get around, but something to get through. And with good friends by his side, Ezra will do just that.

The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan book
#22
The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan
Written by Patricia Bailey
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Life in a Nevada mining town in 1905 is not easy for 13-year-old Kit Donovan, who is trying to do right by her deceased mother and become a proper lady. When Kit discovers Papa's boss at the gold mine is profiting from unsafe working conditions, she realizes being a lady is tougher than it looks. With a man's hat and a printing press, Kit puts her big mouth and all the life skills she's learned from reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to work, defying threats of violence and finding that justice doesn't always look like she imagined it would.

A Blinding Light book
#23
A Blinding Light
Written and illustrated by Julie Lawson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

The First World War is raging, and anti-German prejudice is rampant. Maddie and Will Schroeder are mourning the loss of their father, but their German heritage doesn’t merit much sympathy. On the morning of December 6, there’s a flash of light, then thunder underground: the Halifax Explosion hits. Instantly, the city is unrecognizable. Lost in the destroyed city, how will the siblings find each other? Exploring concepts of guilt, blame and the divide between locals and immigrants, A Blinding Light will hold readers spellbound. Teachers and parents will find plenty of topics for discussion in the book’s historical and cultural lessons.

The Lost Cipher book
#24
The Lost Cipher
Written and illustrated by Michael Oechsle
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Lucas's father has recently died in Afghanistan, and to help him cope, his grandmother sends him to Camp Kawani, a camp for kids who have lost a parent. While there, he hears about the local legend of Thomas Jefferson Beale. Beale supposedly hid a hoard of gold in the mountains 200 years before. The location is encrypted in a set of codes no one has ever been able to decipher. When Lucas and his newfound friends decide to track down the treasure, they embark on a mission that could be too dangerous to survive.

Someone Else's Shoes book
#25
Someone Else's Shoes
Written and illustrated by Ellen Wittlinger
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

Twelve-year-old Izzy's life just seems to get more and more complicated: she is upset by her father's new marriage, and a new baby on the way; she is expected to look out for her ten-year-old cousin, Oliver, who has moved in with her family since his mother committed suicide, because his father is depressed and having trouble coping; and now Ben, the rebellious sixteen-year-old son of Izzy's mother's boyfriend, is also living with them--but when Oliver's father disappears, the three children put aside their differences and set out to find him.

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