Best Kids' Books about the Death of a Parent
When a parent dies, children are left behind in a wake of grief and confusion. The depth of emotion is something that young children are not mature enough to understand or process. Their response to this overwhelming sadness may appear in many different ways, some expected and others unexpected. To help cope with a devastating loss, we've put together a comprehensive collection of children's books about the death of a parent.
Additional Book Lists for Kids About Death
Children's Books About Death of a Father
It is an unfathomable tragedy when a young child loses a dad. Children's books about the death of a father can be a good resource to help in the journey to emotional healing. We've collected some of the best kids' books about a father dying. The authors and illustrators put in words and pictures what kids need to help process and understand their raw emotions and heartache when they lose a father too soon.
A boy and his mother live by the sea in a cozy home. He spends his days carving little wooden boats and sending them out into the ocean. When the boats do not return, he is convinced they are sailing off to find his papa. A sweet, simple, soothing story about death for preschool children who will find hope in the message.
A little boy named Kai is overcome with a mix of emotions after his father dies. Each of his emotions is likened to a wave- a wave of anger, a wave of sadness, etc. These waves sometimes hit him independently, and other times they crash together causing confusion. Kai eventually learns that the emotional waves will always be a part of him, but now he must figure out how to live his life without his father.
A little boy named Makio is devastated when his father is killed in a tsunami. The entire village is grieving over the loss of life and destruction. Silence engulfs the people as they deal with the tragedy. One day Mr. Hirota builds a phone booth in his garden. It's a strange gesture that does not make any sense at first, but as more people are drawn to it, the purpose of the phone booth becomes apparent. The people finally begin to find their voices again and learn to communicate with their lost love ones through the booth in the garden.
A heartfelt picture book written by a little boy whose father died. His father was his very best friend so he decided to write about all the things he will miss about him. An endearing book with a strong religious perspective.
In this chapter book for kids in grades 3-5, a boy finds himself in the position as head of the household when his father dies and his mother find herself unable to help. He soon realizes how hard this job is, especially since he still has a lot of growing up to do himself. Isaiah navigates his new role and finds comfort in reading through his father's journals.
An award-winning novel about the ghostly reminders a girl named Annie constantly encounters after the passing of her father. While her mother is busy working, Annie is haunted by her father's music that continuously plays on the record player, his favorite basketball team that always shows up on the television, and many other unexplained reminders. When two special friends enter her life, one young and one old, she knows they are exactly what she needs to overcome the death of her father. But will she be able to let them in only to risk getting hurt again? Touching, coming-of-age story about life after loss.
Children's Books about Death of a Mother
Helping a child through grief after a mother dies is a deeply complicated, immeasurably sad process. Reading kids' books about the death of a mother is an effective way to facilitate communication with the child. It's important to read a variety of books on the topic of death since each one offers a unique opportunity and perspective on the subject.
A Parents' Choice winner and Junior Library Guild selection, The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise follows the journey of a young girl as she copes with the loss of her mother and two sisters in a car wreck. She and her father travel across the country in a school bus, forging relationships with all kinds of people coping with their own personal tragedies along the way. Eventually they must return home and find a new happy-ever-after in spite of their loss and grief. A moving chapter book for the 9+ reading group.
A National Bestseller and School Library Journal Best Book, The Line Tender is a remarkable story about a young girl striving to keep her mother's memory alive by following in her footsteps. Her mother died suddenly during a marine biology expedition. Five years later and still grappling with her mother's death, a girl decides to continue her mother's research and restore her legacy. A deeply moving chapter book about death for advanced readers.
After her father killed her mother, a young teen and her brother are sent off to live with their grandparents. Forced to navigate a strange new life, while holding onto deep, dark secrets, she starts to see some hope in new friendships and a new beginning. Intense, tragic, and painful story that portrays the realistic struggles of adolescents coping as best they can with the cards they are dealt. This book is geared toward 13+ readers.
A beautiful picture book about a garden that is the foundation for healing after a mom and wife pass away. A little girl and her father channel their grief into bringing back to life a garden that is overgrown and neglected. They experience hope for their future when their special place blooms again and fills up with bumblebees and butterflies.
Kids who are trying to make sense of the grief they feel when a parent dies will have questions that are difficult to answer. Reading books by experts, therapists, and others who have endured this same hardship is a good way to help young children begin their healing journey.
A lyrical picture book about death that will soothe children who have never-ending questions about death. Elements of nature are woven throughout the prose that consists questions and answers. Spiritual themes will open up conversation between you and a child who is seeking insight about what happens to a person after he or she dies.
A short, easy picture book about death appropriate for preschool and young elementary children. The gentle story addresses the need to talk about feelings and emotions around the loss of a parent.
A tender picture book that reassures young children that their parent's love will be with them always. Heartfelt and on point, the author delivers a message that applies to all the events in a child's life when there is separation from a parent. Death is not expressly addressed, but the story applies to the loss of a parent just the same.
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Gentle Children's Books about Death of a Mother or Father
Helping a child through grief after a mother or father dies is a deeply complicated, immeasurably sad process. Reading children's books about the death of a mother or father is an effective way to facilitate communication with the child. It's important to read a variety of books on the topic of death since each one offers a unique opportunity and perspective on the subject. For more reading on the subject of illness and death, here are some helpful children's books about cancer.
Some of these books about death deliver optimistic messages of hope. Other children's books focus on the devastating grief a child left behind is experiencing. Concepts of a heaven or afterlife are often introduced...sometimes in religious terms...and sometimes metaphorically. All of these books about a parent dying can help in your child's emotional healing journey.
Check out more Best-Selling Children's Books about Death
Helping Your Child Cope after the Death of a Parent
The death of a parent is one of the most devastating experiences for a child. We'd like to share some suggestions that can help guide your conversations and give you some things to consider when helping a young, grieving child.
Encourage your child to express emotions using words.