Best Kids Books About Death

14 Kids Books About Death

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
Always Remember book
#1
Always Remember
Written by Cece Meng and illustrated by Jago
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A lyrically told, beautifully illustrated book that brings comfort to children–and adults–who have lost someone they love After Old Turtle swims his last swim and breathes his last breath, and the waves gently take him away, his friends lovingly remember how he impacted each and every one of them. As the sea animals think back on how much better Old Turtle made their lives and their world, they realize that he is not truly gone, because his memory and legacy will last forever. Jago’s gorgeous illustrations accompany Cece Meng’s serene text in a book that will help chidren understand and cope with the death of a loved one.

Finn's Feather book
#2
Finn's Feather
Written by Rachel Noble and illustrated by Zoey Abbott
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Finn runs to show his mother the feather left for him by his brother Hamish, who is now an angel, but she only gives him a big hug. In school, Finn’s teacher responds similarly. Why isn’t anyone as excited as he is? Finn sits quietly, cradling the beautiful, amazing feather. “Why did Hamish give it to you?” asks his friend. “Maybe he wanted to say hi?” wonders Finn. “Maybe,” his friend replies, mischief sparkling in his eyes, “Hamish wanted you to have fun with it.” Finn’s Feather, beautifully illustrated by Zoey Abbot, is a story of love, loss, memory, and presence. It was written by Rachel Nobel following the loss of her son in 2012. This marks the author’s and illustrator’s debut into the world of picture books.

My Old Pal, Oscar book
#3
My Old Pal, Oscar
Written by Amy Hest and illustrated by Amy Bates
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

After a young boy’s beloved pet passes away, he encounters an adorable stray dog on the beach. The boy tries to walk away and ignore the cuddly creature, but the puppy continues to follow him, undeterred. Though the boy is still dealing with the pain of his loss and feels afraid to care about a new pet again, as the two walk the sand together, the boy slowly opens himself up to the joy of having a new dog in his life and making peace with the past. New York Times bestselling Amy Hest and Amy Bates, the beloved team who created The Dog Who Belonged to No One, have created a touching story about new beginnings and how friendship and love have the power to heal.

Aunt Fanny's Star book
#4
Aunt Fanny's Star
Written and illustrated by Bridget Weineger, Feridun Oral
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Mama Bunny loves her dear Aunt Fanny. But when she becomes too ill to look after herself, Mama Bunny decides to move her in with her family. This means big changes at the Bunny house, of course, but it also means fun and discovery for the three young bunnies as they get to learn all about their funny aunt. She’s a bunny who knows how to enjoy her time until she must say her last goodbye. Aunt Fanny shows them that there is always comfort and consolation in the twinkling stars overhead. This touching, gentle picture book helps children navigate the difficult issues of dealing with the death of a loved one. It shares in simple terms the truth that death affects us all, and that life goes on as surely as there are stars twinkling in the sky.

Splotch book
#5
Splotch
Written and illustrated by Gianna Marino
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

An unsuspecting boy, his dead pet fish, and his well-intentioned mother make this a must-read for fans of The Bear Ate Your Sandwich and I Want My Hat Back. Splotch was meant to be in his bowl when his boy got home from school–but he isn’t there! There’s only one conclusion: he must have run away. But when he mysteriously returns, all is well again. Except…Splotch’s distinctive spot has moved and the only explanation is that he has been CHANGED BY ALIENS! When the spot moves yet again, it’s clear something fishy is going on. This hilarious story poses the question that, when it comes to this family, who is protecting whom? Spot-on kid-humor and splashy illustrations are a signature of Gianna Marino’s work. The perfect follow-up to I Am the Mountain Mouse and Night Animals, Splotch! will not disappoint!

A Stone for Sascha book
#6
A Stone for Sascha
Written and illustrated by Aaron Becker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

A girl grieves the loss of her dog in an achingly beautiful wordless epic from the Caldecott Honor-winning creator of Journey. This year's summer vacation will be very different for a young girl and her family without Sascha, the beloved family dog, along for the ride. But a wistful walk along the beach to gather cool, polished stones becomes a brilliant turning point in the girl's grief. There, at the edge of a vast ocean beneath an infinite sky, she uncovers, alongside the reader, a profound and joyous truth. In his first picture book following the conclusion of his best-selling Journey trilogy, Aaron Becker achieves a tremendous feat, connecting the private, personal loss of one child to a cycle spanning millennia -- and delivering a stunningly layered tale that demands to be pored over again and again.

Heartbeat book
#7
Heartbeat
Written and illustrated by Evan Turk
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This cinematic picture book from critically acclaimed author and illustrator Evan Turk follows the life of a baby whale from birth, to song, to silence, to a new song of compassion and hope for a brighter future. Two hearts, one song. A young whale and her mother sing together. Heartbeat. Then the mother is gone. One heart, one song. The young whale swims, alone and lonely, for days and years and decades... until one day a little girl hears her and joins her song. Together, they sing of hope for a brighter future. One world, one song, one heartbeat.

The Remember Balloons book
#8
The Remember Balloons
Written by Jessie Oliveros and illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

What’s Happening to Grandpa meets Up in this tender, sensitive picture book that gently explains the memory loss associated with aging and diseases such as Alzheimer’s. James’s Grandpa has the best balloons because he has the best memories. He has balloons showing Dad when he was young and Grandma when they were married. Grandpa has balloons about camping and Aunt Nelle’s poor cow. Grandpa also has a silver balloon filled with the memory of a fishing trip he and James took together. But when Grandpa’s balloons begin to float away, James is heartbroken. No matter how hard he runs, James can’t catch them. One day, Grandpa lets go of the silver balloon—and he doesn’t even notice! Grandpa no longer has balloons of his own. But James has many more than before. It’s up to him to share those balloons, one by one.

The Fix-It Man book
#9
The Fix-It Man
Written by Dimity Powell and illustrated by Nicky Johnston
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

It's handy having a dad who can fix just about anything. A young girl believes her father is the king of fixing things. But following the death of her mother, she discovers that broken hearts are not as easy to repair as damaged toys and cracked teapots. Together, she and her father find a way to glue back the pieces of her lives. The Fix-It Man is a poignant picture book that explores how a child can cope with the loss of a parent (in this case, the young girl's mother). Repairing damaged emotions is not as straightforward as gluing a broken kite back together or sewing up a torn toy. And grief affects all members of a family, with each responding in their own way to the loss. By sticking with her father, the young girl is able to strengthen her resilience and ability to cope with one of life's harshest experiences. The author was encouraged to seek publication for this story after receiving the endorsement of several grief counsellors who work with children and who recognised the need for a book such as this.

Tim's Goodbye book
#10
Tim's Goodbye
Written and illustrated by Steven Salerno
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

In this touching picture book, a group of children says goodbye to a beloved pet who has died. When Margot’s pet turtle Tim dies, she and her friends band together to give him a proper send off. With flowers, a French horn, and balloons, they say goodbye to him with love. This tender story from Steven Salerno also features his beautiful illustrations, with a simple color palette and classic feel. Tim's Goodbye is sure to strike a chord with readers who have experienced a difficult farewell.

Ida, Always book
#11
Ida, Always
Written by Caron Levis and illustrated by Charles Santoso
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A polar bear grieves over the loss of his companion, based on the real-life Gus and Ida of New York's Central Park Zoo.

One Wave at a Time book
#12
One Wave at a Time
Written by Holly Thompson and illustrated by Ashley Crowley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

After his father dies, Kai experiences all kinds of emotions: sadness, anger, fear, guilt. Sometimes they crash and mix together. Other times, there are no emotions at all—just flatness. As Kai and his family adjust to life without Dad, the waves still roll in. But with the help of friends and one another, they learn to cope—and, eventually, heal. A lyrical story about grieving for anyone encountering loss.

Oscar the Guardian Cat book
#13
Oscar the Guardian Cat
Written by Chiara Valentina Segré and illustrated by Paolo Domeniconi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Inspired by the true story of Oscar, a special cat who watches over the residents of Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island. Oscar the Guardian Cat lives at Hope House along with Nurse Dolores, Dr. Goodhelp, and the grandparents of many children who come to visit. The story is told from Oscar's perspective as he watches over his friends during their most important journey. This is a unique and touching picture book that can be used to help talk to children about their grandparents' final journey, not as something tragic, but as a moment of reconciliation and understanding. Chiara Valentina Segré has a PhD in molecular oncology and works in science communications. She has published several picture books and novels for children. She lives in Milan, Italy. Paolo Domeniconi studied art and worked for several years in advertising before focusing on children's book illustration. He lives in Spilamberto, Italy.

Grandpa's Stories book
#14
Grandpa's Stories
Written by Joseph Coelho and illustrated by Allison Colpoys
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

One young girl reflects on a year with her beloved grandpa. She remembers the fields and parks they explored in the springtime and the old toys they fixed up in the summer. She remembers the handmade gifts they exchanged in the fall and the stories Grandpa told by the fi re each winter. But this year, the girl must say good-bye to Grandpa. In the face of her grief, she is determined to find a way to honor him. She decides to record her Grandpa stories in the notebook he made for her and carry Grandpa with her as she grows. An honest and relatable depiction of loss, Grandpa's Stories celebrates life and the ways in which love lives on.

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