Guiding Your Child Through Loss: 5 Healing Books that Offer Grief Support

Loss can be especially challenging for young minds to wrap their heads (and hearts!) around. And while death is the most obvious, children will grieve over almost anything: a best friend who moves to a new school, a neighbor’s pet who runs away, a stuffed animal that gets eaten by the washing machine, or a beloved teacher who won’t be moving up a grade when your child does. During these heartfelt times, you’ll want to offer grief support, understanding, and the resources your child needs to process their feelings so they can move beyond grief.

Sometimes, it’s tempting to let time take care of the healing for you. After all, children are resilient; they’ll get over it, right? Indeed, most children do, but not without internalizing significant wounds if they aren’t able to actively work through their sadness. Taking a thoughtful approach to grief support will ensure your child emerges on the other side in a healthier—and more peaceful—frame of mind. 

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Daily Mom Parent Portal: Grief Support

Books are an excellent place to start as you assemble your grief support strategy. Between the covers of a truly thoughtful book on loss, your child will find relatable stories and valuable insights to help make sense of their experience and take comfort in knowing they’re not alone.

BOOKS ON GRIEF SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN

Below you will find 5 highly recommended books that focus on grief support for children. Each book tackles grief support from a unique perspective, addressing various aspects of the grieving process and providing valuable lessons on hope, healing, and feeling happy again. Whether a child has experienced the loss of a family member, a pet, or a significant change in their lives, these books offer space for them to explore their emotions, ask questions, and find a safe place to experience their sadness.

It’s important to be aware that the type of grief support each child may need is personal; your child may respond differently to these books and coping strategies than another child might. As you explore these five titles, consider your child’s age, maturity, and emotional makeup. Remember, the most significant grief support you can offer is to simply be there, listening to your child’s thoughts and feelings and letting them know they’re being heard. So don’t worry about finding the ‘perfect’ book! 

5 BOOKS THAT OFFER GRIEF SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN

  • The Invisible String by Patrice Karst: This book explores the concept that we are all connected by an invisible string of love, even when someone we love has died. This concept offers comfort and reassurance to children who may be feeling separated from a loved one, and your child can even create their own invisible string, connecting to their missing person or ‘piece.’
  • The Memory Box: A Book About Grief by Joanna Rowland: This story follows a young girl as she deals with the loss of her grandmother, exploring various emotions associated with grief. It reminds your child how special memories are.
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Daily Mom Parent Portal: Grief Support
  • Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children by Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen: This book presents death as a natural part of life by explaining how all living things have a beginning, a middle, and an end. It discusses the different lifetimes of plants, animals, and people, helping children understand the cycle of life.
  • Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss by Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeKlyen: “Tear Soup” is a metaphorical book that follows a woman as she makes a pot of soup after experiencing a mysterious loss (which is never actually revealed). It encourages children to understand that grief takes time and that everyone’s grief is unique.
  • Ida, Always by Caron Levis: “Ida, Always” tells the story of two polar bears, Gus and Ida, who are best friends at the zoo. When Ida becomes sick and passes away, Gus learns to cope with his grief and cherish the memories they shared.

These five books can offer your child grief support through relatable stories, comforting messages, and age-appropriate language. But they aren’t just a resource for kids. As you flip through them, you’ll begin to get a feeling of grief through the eyes of a child. You’ll uncover the many questions and emotions your child may be experiencing, some of which you may not have thought of before. Not unlike lowering yourself to the floor to play blocks or trains with your kiddo, these treasured books will offer a new perspective for you to think about as you talk to your child. 

Daily Mom Parent Portal: Grief Support

GRIEF SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN TAKES A VILLAGE

As you well know, books alone cannot heal the pain of grief, although they may offer a key insight that will resonate with your child. Grief support and understanding from caring adults—such as parents, guardians, teachers, and counselors—are crucial in helping children move through their grief. Creating a safe and open space for children to express their emotions, answering their questions honestly, and offering LOTS of hugs are all part of a child’s healing journey.

By combining the power of literature, compassionate support, and a nurturing environment, we can help children honor those they’ve lost, understand their emotions, and eventually find their way towards healing. Offering intentional grief support to your child helps them learn to cope with suffering, a tool they’ll come back to over and over as they face the challenges life is sure to bring. As a parent, this will be one of many times you will stand beside your child, reminding them they’re not alone and that hope and healing are possible even in the face of loss.

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Guiding Your Child Through Loss 5 Healing Books That Offer Grief Support
Mary Follin
Mary Follin
Mary Follin is the founder and developer of Teach Your Child to Read™ , an online phonics-based program for teaching children ages 3-6 to read. She is also a parenting advice columnist for Fredericksburg Parent & Family, and the author of Ethyr, winner of a 2018 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. Her parenting advice column, 'ASK MOM,' won a 2021 Parenting Media Association Award.

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