Often children have difficulty processing some of their feelings and emotions associated with their grief and loss. The following stories and resources were written to help children learn and understand more about death and dying which may assist with their abilities to process their grief and loss.
We strongly encourage adults to accompany children when reading these books. Doing so may trigger questions and conversations about death and dying.
Many of these resources have been tried and tested by children, parents and health professionals however this resource list is by no means exhaustive.
Online Book sellers are available for purchasing some of these resources.
Resources to use with families
Also available in Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese & Vietnamese
Palliative Care Australia (PCA) together with the Paediatric Palliative Care Australia and New Zealand Corporation updated and developed 'A Family Companion' & factsheets to support people needing and providing paediatric palliative care.
Books to use with young children
- Gentle willow a story for children about dying. By Joyce Mills and Michael Chesworth. Magination Press: New York (1994). (5 to 8 years)
- I had a friend named Peter - Talking to children about the death of a friend. By Janice Cohn and Gail Owens. Morrow Junior Books: New York. (1987)
- Beginnings and endings with lifetimes in between. By Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen. Puffin Books: Melbourne (2005). (3 to 6 years)
- How I feel. By Alan Wolfelt.
- Goodbye forever. Boulden Publishing.
- Saying goodbye. Boulden Publishing.
- When someone very special dies. By Marge Heegaard.
- The next place. By Warren Hanson. Waldman House Press (1997).
- When dinosaurs die: A guide to understanding death. By Laurene Krasny Brown and Marc Tolon Brown. Demco Media (1998).
- I miss you: A first look at death. By Pat Thomas. Barron’s Educational Series (2001).
- The invisible string. By Patrice Karst. DeVross Publications (2000).
- Adam gets back in the game. By Greg Adams. EtAlia Press (2019).
- My many coloured days. By Dr. Seuss. (1998).
- Fox & Goldfish. By Nils Pieters. Book Island Limited (2016).
Books for older children and teenagers
- How teenagers cope with grief - Something I’ve never felt before. By Doris Zagdanski. Hill of Content: Melbourne (1990).
- The grieving teen. By Helen Fitzgerald.
- Straight talk about death for teenagers. By Earl Grollman. Beacon Press: Boston (1993).
- Thoughts - A teenager’s response to a crisis. By Darren Crewe. Ronald McDonald House: Melbourne (1997).
- The grief book: strategies for young people. By Elizabeth Vercoe & Kerry Abramowski. Black Dog Books (2004).
- When a friend dies: A book for teens about grieving and healing. By E. Gootman & Pamela Espeland. Turtleback Books (2005).
- 10 pack journals: What on earth do you do when someone dies? Trevor Romain Company (2008).
Books for siblings
- Two weeks with the Queen. By Morris Gleitzman. Pan Macmillan: Sydney (1989).
- Where’s Jess. By Joy and Mary Johnson
A short simple story to help children ages 2–5 years cope with infant sibling loss.
- Am I still a Sister? By Alicia Sims
An 11 year old girl tells the story about her brother who died from brain cancer.
Books for parents
- Shelter from the storm - Caring for a child with a life-threatening condition. by Joanne Hilden and Daniel Tobin. Da Capo Press: Cambridge (2003).
- Living with a seriously ill child. By Jan Aldridge. Sheldon Press: London (2007).
- A child dies: A portrait of family grief. By Joan Hagan Arnold and Penelope Buschman. The Charles Press Publishers: Philadelphia (1994).
- Are you sad too? Helping children deal with loss and death. by Dinah Seibert, Judy Drolet and Joyce Fetro. ETR Associates: California (1993).
- Talking about death – A dialogue between parent and child. By Earl Grollman. Boston: Beacon Press (1990).
- After the death of a child: Living with loss through the years. By Ann Finkbeiner
A comforting book that examines the continuing love a parent feels for their child and ways to preserve that bond even after death.
- After the loss of a child: a resource for parents of children in palliative care. Melbourne, VIC: Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement; 2015.
- The worst loss: How families heal from the death of a child. By Barbara Rosof
A practical book by a child psycho-therapist who has worked with bereaved families.
- The bereaved parent. By Harriet Sarnoff Schiff New York Crown Publishers Inc. (1977).
A classic book written by a bereaved mother for parents whose child has died and for all who want to help them.
- Coping with grief. By Mal McKissock & Dianne McKissock. ABC Books for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (1995).
- 35 ways to help a grieving child. By Amy R. Barrett & Dougy Centre for Grieving Children. Dougy Centre for Grieving Children (1999).
- Beyond words – Grieving when your child has died. By Andrew Thompson & Tricia Irving Hendry. Skylight: New Zealand (2012).
Books for grandparents
- Grandparents cry twice: Help for bereaved grandparents. Mary Loud Reed. Baywood Publishing Company (2000).
- When a grandchild dies: What to do, what to say, how to cope. By Nadine Galinsky. Gal in Sky Publishing Company (1999).
Page updated 21 January 2020