Books about grief and loss for 9 to 12 year olds

The Shark Caller book cover

Books can help children to understand sad feelings. We’ve suggested some books that are excellent reads and can help children cope with tough emotions.

Also check out our booklists for 5 to 8 year olds and for Teens.

  • Stone

    Author: Finbar Hawkins
    Publisher: Zephyr
    Interest age: 12-16
    Reading age: 12+

    Ancient magic and folklore weave into a modern day story of a boy grieving for his father in this beautiful tale for older readers.

  • If You Read This

    Author: Kereen Getten
    Publisher: Pushkin
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 7-8

    Set on the colourful, sun-soaked island of Jamaica, this beautiful, compelling story combines an intriguing quest with a story of grief and heartache.

  • The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole

    Author: Michelle Cuevas
    Publisher: Simon and Schuster
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 7-9

    When 11-year-old space mad Stella visits NASA, the last thing she expects is for a black hole to follow her and live in her house as a pet. A heartwarming, sensitively funny and uplifting illustrated story of one girl's journey in confronting her grief.

  • A Monster Calls

    Author: Patrick Ness (From an idea by Siobhan Dowd) Illustrator: Jim Kay
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 11-14
    Reading age: 10+

    Connor's mum has cancer and life is changing. There is the nightmare, then there is school, where people avoid him, or persecute him. And then there is the immense, mythic Monster.

  • The Truth About Martians

    Author: Melissa Savage
    Publisher: Chicken House
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Mylo Affinito knows there's no such things as Martians... until an alien spaceship crash lands near his family's farm! A funny, warm tale which delicately deals with issues of grief, depression and tolerance.

  • Sadé and Her Shadow Beasts

    Author: Rachel Faturoti
    Publisher: Hodder (Hachette)
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Since her mum died, Sadé has been escaping to a magical imaginary land to deal with her grief - but the lines between the real world and her imagination start blurring as her feelings begin to get too much. A beautiful story that tackles big feelings in an accessible and relatable way.

  • The Shark Caller

    Author: Zillah Bethell Illustrator: Saara Katariina Söderlund
    Publisher: Fritha
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Following the death of her parents, Blue Wing moves in with Siringen, a gentle village elder. When a new girl arrives on the island, a surprisingly, sisterly bond begins to form. A beautiful novel exploring complex emotions of grief and guilt.

  • You Will Be Okay

    Author: Julie Stokes Illustrator: Laurène Boglio
    Publisher: Wren & Rook (Hachette)
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    This gentle guide for children experiencing feelings of grief and loss is written by Julie Stokes, a clinical psychologist and founder of childhood bereavement charity Winston's Wish.

  • The Haunting of Tyrese Walker

    Author: J P Rose
    Publisher: Andersen Press
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    A compelling mix of Caribbean folklore and the story of a boy’s overwhelming grief create extraordinary tension in this creepy ghost story set in Jamaica.