Children’s Grief Resources and Books

Dealing with Illness, Grief & Loss

Frahm, Amelia (2001). Tickles Tabitha’s Cancer-Tankerous Mommy. Nutcracker Publishing Company.
Told through Tabitha’s eyes, this book uses candor and comic reality to dispel stereotypes and acknowledge the moody truths faced by families living with cancer.

Heegaard, Marge (1991). When Someone Has a Very Serious Illness. Minneapolis, MN: Woodland Press
This is a workbook created to help young children understand and accept the changes in their lives when a loved one is diagnosed with a life threatening illness.

Le Shan, Eda (1987). When a Parent is Very Sick. Little Brown and Co.
This book identifies the many responses a young person might have to a parent’s illness, hospitalization, or death.

Numeroff, Laura, & Harpham, Wendy (1999). The Hope Tree. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
Various kids describe their feelings and how they cope with their mothers’ breast cancer.

Parkinson, Carlolyn (1996). Mommy’s In the Hospital Again. Solace Publishing.
An honest caring depiction of how life can go on successfully for a child and family despite the painful experiences of dealing with the unpredictable course of mom’s illness in a gentle, easily understandable, and non-frightening fashion.

Parkinson, Carolyn (1991). My Mommy Has Cancer. Rochester, NY: Park Press.
A book for young children explaining cancer and why hospitalization is necessary. Written by a mother who has cancer.

Peterkin, Allen (1992). What About Me? New York, NY: Magination Press.
A book for siblings when a brother or sister has an illness.

Vigna, Judith (1993). When Eric’s Mom Fought Cancer. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman & Company.
A ski trip with his father helps a young boy who feels angry and afraid when his mother gets sick with breast cancer.


Specifically Children and Grief

Brown, Laurene Krasny and Brown, Marc Tolon (1996). When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death. Boston. The authors explain in simple language the feelings people may have regarding the death of a loved one and the ways to honor the memory of someone who has died.

Greenlee, Sharon (1993). When Someone Dies. Atlanta, GA: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
Great discussion starter. Attempts to describe the “goneness” created by death. (No more phone calls or birthday cards). Helpful suggestions for remembering and taking care of yourself.

Puttock, Simon and Bartlett, Alison (2001). A Story for Hippo. New York, NY: Scholastic Press.
A gentle and reassuring book for anyone who has ever lost a loved one. With beautiful simplicity, it answers difficult questions that even a very young child can understand and shows us how to keep the spirit of a cherished person alive forever.

Karst, Patrice and Stevenson, Geoff (2000). The Invisible String. Marina Del Rey, Calif.
Author Patrice Karst shows children that they are always loved, whether their parents are near or far. This lesson is perfectly suited for a variety of situations, including for military families while a parent is serving overseas as well as for coping with loss.

Greive, Bradley Trevor (2005). The Blue Day Book for Kids: A Lesson in Cheering Yourself Up. Kansas City, Mo: Andrews McMeel Publishing. The deceptively simple, imaginative story line reflects a child’s sensibility about the symptoms, causes, and cures for those times when children feel tired, grumpy, left out, or think that nothing ever goes as they planned.

Kaplow, Julie B. and Pincus, Donna (2007). Samantha Jane’s Missing Smile: A Story about Coping with the loss of a Parent. Washington, DC: Magination. Since her father died, Samantha Jane has become fearful and does not want to acknowledge her grief. Using examples from the natural world this book shows how to acknowledge feelings and give them a proper place in life.

Holmes, Margaret M. and Mudlaff, Sasha J. (2000). A Terrible Thing Happened. Washington, DC: Magination.
This gently told and tenderly illustrated story is for children who have witnessed any kind of violent or traumatic episode, including physical abuse, school or gang violence, accidents, homicide, suicide, and natural disasters such as floods or fire.

Bostrom, Kathleen Long and Kucharik, Elena (2000). What about Heaven?. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House.
The rhythmic rhyming book begins with questions kids ask about heaven and answers each one in a theologically accurate yet age-appropriate manner, including scriptures to reference.

Thomas, Pat (2001). I Miss You. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s.
Explores the difficult issue of death for young children.

Johnson, Marvin and Johnson, Joy (2003). Where’s Jess?: For Children Who have a Brother or Sister Die. Omaha, NE: Centering Resource. A helpful resource for children who have lost a sibling through illustrations and easy to understand text.

Specifically Teens and Grief

Hanson, Warren (1997). The Next Place. Minneapolis, MN: Waldman House.
An inspirational journey of light and hope to a place where earthly hurts are left behind.

Loftis, Chris and Gallagher, Catherine (1997). The Boy Who Sat by the Window: Helping Children Cope with Violence. Far Hills, NJ: New Horizon. A story of a small boy whose classmate is killed by random gunfire includes coping skills and restores hope by instilling a message of peace.

Hipp, Earl (1995). Help for the Hard Times. Hazelden.
A guide that helps teens understand how they experience grief and loss; how our culture, in general, doesn’t often acknowledge their losses or give them tools to grieve; how they can keep their loss from overflowing.

Traisman, Enid Samuel (1992). Fire In My Heart, Ice In My Veins. Omaha, NE: Centering Corporation.
A journal for teenagers experiencing a loss. Just reading it will let them know that all of their feelings are normal even though some may feel crazy. Writing in it will help them explore their feelings and insure they will never forget.

Noel, Brook and Blair, Pamela (2000). I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping & Healing after the Sudden Death of a Loved One. Vancouver, WA: Champion.

Hughes, Lynne (2005). You are Not Alone. New York, NY: Scholastic Press.
The loss of a parent has been called “the loss that is forever” and young people who have suffered this loss feel especially different than those around them. This book reaches out to teens and people who care for them with understanding and compassion. Frank and accessible testimonials, along with discussion of what helps, what doesn’t, what “stinks,” and ways to stay connected to loved ones.

Wolfelt, Alan (2001). Healing Your Grieving Heart for Teens. Fort Collins, CO: Companion Press.
When you are a teen, the death of someone you love can be especially difficult. Being a teen is hard enough; being a grieving teen can feel completely overwhelming. This book was written to Who are Helping Children & Teens Affected by Grief or Life-Threatening Illness


Who are Helping Children & Teens Affected by Grief or Life-Threatening Illness

Fitzgerald, Helen (1992). The Grieving Child: A Parent’s Guide. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
A wonderful, readable book for parents to help understand how grief is different for children. Great suggestions for processing feelings, both within and without a group.

Heiney, Sue et. al (2001). Cancer in the Family. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society.
This book outlines valuable steps necessary to help children understand what happens when a parent has been diagnosed with cancer. “Hands-on-tools” help those affected by cancer, as well as their loved ones, face many of the dilemmas that come with the disease. A specially illustrated workbook designed just for kids helps even the youngest children record their thoughts and feelings so they can learn how to navigate through this emotional time.

Huntley, Theresa (1991). Helping Children Grieve. Minneapolis, MN: Augsurg Fortress.
This book will help you listen to children, answer their questions, and guide them in coping with their feelings. Also included are ideas for dealing with behavior changes that often accompany a child’s grief.

Linn, Erin (1990). 150 Facts About Grieving Children. The Publisher’s Mark,
Children do grieve, and with an intensity that would astound many adults. We are obligated to learn more about a child’s bereavement. We must begin to understand their world, their feelings, and their hurts.

McCue, Kathleen (1996). How to Help Children Through a Parent’s Serious Illness. St. Martin’s Griffin.
A thorough, but quick guide for parents and professionals, from diagnosis of an illness to resolution. Each chapter has a wonderful summary at the end. Topics covered include what to tell, how to deal with different ages children, and helpful hints for effective communication.

Wolfelt, Alan (1983). Helping Children Cope with Grief. Accelerated Development, Inc.
Written to assist adults in helping children deal with their thoughts and feelings on death. Especially helpful is its approach to naming and teaching the skills needed to help children share their grief.


Online Resources includes a variety of resources with a bilingual kit uses the power of Elmo and the Sesame Street Muppets to support grieving families. provides a national database of children’s bereavement centers along with resources.