Death is a hard thing to talk about. However, death is a part of life. It comes fast or slow, whether we welcome it or not. To help ease the burden of difficult conversations with young children, here are some picture book titles that focus on loss, the process of death, dying and the aftereffects on individuals and communities.
Saturdays Are for Stella (2020)
Written by Candy Wellins, illustrated by Charlie Eve Ryan
Saturdays are for George’s Grandma Stella. Together, George and Grandma Stella go on amazing adventures, and it becomes a day of the week dedicated solely to George. However, one day, their Saturday doesn’t happen. George’s parents tell him the terrible news: there will be no more Saturdays with Grandma Stella.
Grandma Stella has passed away. Emotions begin to run high. George’s parents are upset. George is upset. George’s parents try to make things better, but it’s hard. A new member of their family is on the way, and, sometimes, George feels left out. However, once the new member arrives, George is introduced to a new Stella. Not a replacement, but a new member to love. Once again, Saturdays become dedicated to Stella. This is a story of both life and death, as a family loses their precious Grandma Stella but welcomes Baby Stella.
The Goodbye Book (2015)
By Todd Parr
As the cover of this book looks a little childish, I was not prepared to like it. I do, though. I think it’s one of my favorites.
The author uses pet fish to explain emotions surrounding death and grief. The pet fish loses his friend and goes through complex feelings and depression. The book validates these feelings and gives subtle advice to the reader.
Always Remember (2016)
Written by Cece Meng, illustrated by Jago
An old turtle passes away, and members of the turtle’s community join together to remember the turtle. Each tells a story of how the turtle changed their life. By using a turtle as a teaching device, this book shows how a community goes through grief and heals together.
Written by Pat Schwiebert
Tear Soup represents the big pot of emotions that comes with grief.
Tear Soup is something that people make when they go through heartache. Grandy, the main character, is making her own tear soup, as it is her grief and her mix is unique. Most people can only handle a cup of her soup, but close friends can handle quite a bit more.
The abstract representation shows positive ways people help others with grief as well as negative. It dives into all different ways to grieve and that every individual may need to grieve differently.
Want more book recommendations?
Check out the full book list: “Death, Dying, & Grieving Picture Books for Children“