Books on Grief for Preschool and Early School Age Children

Where’s Jess?, by J. Johnson
In this picture book, a mother and father answer in simple and comforting ways a young child’s questions about death and the death of their new baby.

About Dying: An Open Book for Parents and Children Together, by Sara Stein
This book teaches about death, funerals, burial, and remembering by telling the story of two siblings who experience the death of a pet bird, and who later experience the death of their grandfather. It also features text for parents to help them deal with questions and issues children may have.

The Empty Place: A Child’s Guide through Grief, by Roberta Temes
In this book, a young boy talks about how empty he feels since his sister died and talks with a baby sitter who had a similar experience. It touches on guilt, lack of interest in old activities, and changes in parental behavior.

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, by Leo Buscaglia
This book shows the seasons of life using the story of Freddie the Leaf, who falls from the tree in autumn. It explains that leaves do not come back to life and that death is not the same as sleep.

Thumpy’s Story: A Story of Love and Grief Shared by Thumpy, the Bunny, by N. Dodge
This book tells a simple story with soft, expressive illustrations of two rabbit parents who help their surviving child by dealing sensitively with fears and questions. It is designed to help children and parents express their own grief, and is available as a coloring book and a work book in which the child can write and draw.

Lifetimes: A Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children, by Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen
This book talks about the various lengths of life spans for plants, animals, and people and says that dying is very much a part of living. It explains that there is a beginning and an end with living in between, and that sometimes things are too hurt or ill to continue living, so they die.

The Tenth Good Thing about Barney, by Judith Viorst
This book tells the story of a cat who dies and is buried. The child and father discuss heaven, and later they plant seeds in the garden. The father explains that Barney will become part of the ground and help plants grow, which they decide is a pretty good job for a cat.