For Children

Dealing with Illness, Grief & Loss


Tickles Tabitha’s Cancer-Tankerous Mommy.  Frahm, Amelia (2001). 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.


When Someone Has a Very Serious Illness.  Heegaard, Marge (1991). 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.


The Hope Tree.  Numeroff, Laura, & Harpham, Wendy (1999). New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Children describe their feelings and how they cope with their mothers’ breast cancer.


Mommy’s In the Hospital Again. Parkinson, Carolyn (1996). 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.


When Eric’s Mom Fought Cancer. Vigna, Judith (1993). 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.


My Mommy Has Cancer. Parkinson, Carolyn (1991). Rochester, NY: Park Press.

A book for young children explaining cancer and why hospitalization is necessary. Written by a mother who has cancer.


What About Me?  Peterkin, Allen (1992). New York, NY: Magination Press.

A book for siblings when a brother or sister has an illness.


When a Parent is Very Sick.  Le Shan, Eda (1987). Little Brown and Co.

This book identifies the many responses a young person might have to a parent’s illness, hospitalization, or death.


Children and Grief


Samantha Jane’s Missing Smile: A Story about Coping with the loss of a Parent. Kaplow, Julie B. and Pincus, Donna (2007). 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.


The Blue Day Book for Kids: A Lesson in Cheering Yourself Up. Greive, Bradley Trevor (2005). 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.


Where’s Jess?: For Children Who have a Brother or Sister Die. Johnson, Marvin and Johnson, Joy (2003). Omaha, NE: Centering Resource.

A helpful resource for children who have lost a sibling through illustrations and easy to understand text.


A Story for Hippo.  Puttock, Simon and Bartlett, Alison (2001). 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.


I Miss You.  Thomas, Pat (2001). Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s.

Explores the difficult issue of death for young children.


A Terrible Thing Happened. Holmes, Margaret M. and Mudlaff, Sasha J. (2000). 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.


The Invisible String.  Karst, Patrice and Stevenson, Geoff (2000). 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.


What about Heaven?  Bostrom, Kathleen Long and Kucharik, Elena (2000). 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.


When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death. Brown, Laurene Krasny and Brown, Marc Tolon (1996). 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.


When Someone Dies. Greenlee, Sharon (1993). Atlanta, GA: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.

This book is a 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.