Navigating Childhood Grief: A Curated List of Books to Help Young Minds Understand Loss

Untitled design 2024 04 08T090105.497 - Navigating Childhood Grief: A Curated List of Books to Help Young Minds Understand Loss

The journey through grief is a path no one wishes to walk, especially for children who face the bewildering terrain of loss for the first time. At Rowley Funerals, we understand the profound impact the death of a loved one can have on a young soul. To aid in this delicate time, literature can serve as both a guide and a solace, providing a gentle means to explore and express feelings of sadness and confusion. This article offers a carefully selected list of books, each chosen for its ability to help children navigate the complex emotions associated with losing someone dear.

1. “The Heart and the Bottle” by Oliver Jeffers Oliver Jeffers tenderly explores the themes of love, loss, and the protective barriers we build around our hearts to avoid pain. Through its poignant narrative and illustrations, this book offers a gateway for children to understand the process of grief and the importance of keeping memories alive.

2. “Goodbye Mog” by Judith Kerr Judith Kerr’s beloved character Mog the cat takes her final journey, providing a gentle introduction to the concept of death for young readers. Kerr handles the subject with sensitivity and grace, making it an excellent tool for parents to discuss loss with their children, reassuring them of the continuing presence of loved ones in our memories.

3. “Michael Rosen’s Sad Book” by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Quentin Blake This powerful book delves into the depth of Michael Rosen’s sadness following the death of his son Eddie. Rosen’s honest and straightforward narrative, combined with Blake’s expressive illustrations, captures the essence of grief in a way that resonates with both children and adults, encouraging the expression of feelings often hard to articulate.

4. “Badger’s Parting Gifts” by Susan Varley Susan Varley’s classic tale addresses the impact of a loved one’s life through the gifts they leave behind. Badger’s friends remember him through the precious memories and lessons he imparted, teaching young readers about the positive legacy of those who have passed and the healing power of remembrance.

5. “Water Bugs and Dragonflies: Explaining Death to Young Children” by Doris Stickney Using the metaphor of water bugs’ transformation into dragonflies, this book offers a simple yet profound way to explain the concept of death to children. It’s a comforting narrative that helps demystify death, presenting it as a natural part of life and a transition to a beautiful state of being.

6. “Grandad’s Island” by Benji Davies With warmth and imagination, Benji Davies tells the story of a young boy and his grandad, exploring themes of loss and the eternal bond of love. The vibrant illustrations and adventurous tale provide a heartwarming approach to discussing the departure of a loved one with children.

The Role of Books in Grieving and Healing

Books like these serve multiple roles in a child’s grieving process. They act as mirrors reflecting the child’s own experiences, validating their feelings of sadness, confusion, or even anger. They also serve as windows into the experiences of others, showing that they are not alone in their feelings. Perhaps most importantly, they open doors to conversations about death and loss, topics often difficult to broach.

In choosing books to share with a grieving child, it’s essential to consider their age, maturity level, and the nature of their relationship with the deceased. Encourage children to express their thoughts and feelings after reading, whether through discussion, drawing, or other creative outlets, facilitating a healthy grieving process.


At Rowley Funerals, we recognise the crucial role that understanding and compassion play in supporting children through the loss of a loved one. By offering a handpicked selection of books, we aim to provide resources that comfort, enlighten, and encourage healing dialogue. Each story is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, offering hope and understanding to young readers navigating through their grief. In sharing these narratives, we hope to not only ease the burden of loss but also to celebrate the enduring power of love and memory.