From my own experience, Finding Grief and Loss books for children is hard. For young children, the language needs to be concrete enough for them the grasp what has happened but vibrant enough to keep their attention. Developmentally, this creates a challenge when it comes to talking about death and grief with young children.
Something Very Sad Happened: A Toddler’s Guide to Understanding Death By: Bonnie Zucker
Something Very Sad Happened is a solid book choice for little ones who have lost someone close to them. The book can be used as an initial way to discuss a close death or helping to tell young children about a death. The story allows it’s reader to us the pronouns and name of the person who has died in their life. For example, if a parent has passed away you can say “Mama” as the subject and change the pronouns as needed. The book is very concrete in it’s wording which is helpful for young children.
Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories By Audrey Penn
This book breaches the hard subject of children losing someone their own age. This isn’t a topic I have found many children books on. This book is one of the few that covers similar age loss. A friend of Chester’s had an accident and he was told he wouldn’t be returning to school. His mother helps him to find a place where he can mourn and celebrate the memories of his friend.
Always Remember By: Cece Meng
Always Remember is a great book to use with children while going through the process of grief. I wouldn’t not advise this book as a tool in telling a child some one has died, but rather in the days and weeks after. The death in the book is of “an old turtle” and as the speak of the life of the turtle, the other sea creatures remember him as a teacher, a friend, as kind, and brave. This story is great for helping the things we remember are important even after the people we love die. With a few adaptations while reading (like removing the word old), the story can be used in reference to siblings, grandparents, or parents.
The Invisible String By Patrice Karst and Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
The Invisible String is a perfect story to use as a discussion piece with kids about how when we love people, no matter where they go, the love stays. While this book is not specifically about death, it does have a page dedicated to our love reaching those we love in heaven.
The Rabbit Listened
The Rabbit Listened is a very sweet book. The language is simple and accessible. Although the story does not specifically speak about death, it talks more about loss in general. The story values sitting in the space with someone who is sad and not hurrying them into handling something before they are ready. This is a beautifully written book that illustrates the importance of holding space for those who are struggling.