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Books about grief and loss

Milo and the Restart Button

Books can help children to understand sad feelings – from losing a cherished toy to the death of a family member.

We've suggested a few books to help them cope, prepare for future tough times, or just enjoy a good book together now.

  • Mum's Jumper

    Author: Jayde Perkin
    Publisher: Book Island
    Interest age: 4-8
    Reading age: 5+

    Jayde Perkin's sensitive and thoughtful picture book about the way grief feels, and the death of a parent for a young child, is very well handled. It's a calm and touching portrayal of the ways we can remember the ones we've lost.

  • Badger's Parting Gifts

    Author: Susan Varley
    Publisher: Andersen Press
    Interest age: 4+
    Reading age: 7+

    When Badger dies, his friends are very sad, but one by one, they recall the special things he gave them during his lifetime. Now 35 years old, Badger's Parting Gifts has been used by countless families experiencing bereavement to help talk about their feelings.

  • Grandpa Was an Astronaut

    Author: Jonathan Meres Illustrator: Hannah Coulson
    Publisher: Barrington Stoke
    Interest age: 4+
    Reading age: 7+

    Sherman is fascinated by the moon - all the more so because he knows someone who has actually been there, his Grandpa!

  • The Building Boy

    Author: Ross Montgomery Illustrator: David Litchfield
    Publisher: Faber & Faber
    Interest age: 5+
    Reading age: 4+

    The boy loves his grandmother dearly. Best of all, he loves the stories about her life as a prize-winning architect. One day, she promises she'll build him an extraordinary house. Now his grandmother's gone, and he's heartbroken. But in her garden there are bricks and girder and he begins to build….

  • Michael Rosen's Sad Book

    Author: Michael Rosen Illustrator: Quentin Blake
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 6+
    Reading age: 6+

    The subject of bereavement is treated in an unusual way in Michael Rosen's Sad Book, which deals with the death of the author's own son.

  • Seal Surfer

    Author: Michael Foreman
    Publisher: Andersen Press
    Interest age: 5-8
    Reading age: 6+

    A welcome re-publication of Foreman's timeless and evocative account of a boy's relationship with life and death.

  • Lob

    Author: Linda Newbery Illustrator: Pam Smy
    Publisher: David Fickling Books
    Interest age: 8+
    Reading age: 8+

    Lucy and her beloved grandfather enjoy gardening together, and Lucy becomes aware that she, like him, can sense-see a small figure who helps with the gardening.

  • The Cat Mummy

    Author: Jacqueline Wilson Illustrator: Nick Sharratt
    Publisher: Yearling
    Interest age: 8+
    Reading age: 8+

    A deceptively simple tale which explores the issue of bereavement for younger readers.

  • The Heart and the Bottle

    Author: Oliver Jeffers
    Publisher: HarperCollins
    Interest age: 6+
    Reading age: 7+

    An inquisitive little girl, who is enchanted by the world around her, is badly shaken when she loses someone she loves.

  • Granpa

    Author: John Burningham
    Publisher: Random House
    Interest age: 3-8
    Reading age: 4+

    A sensitive and moving exploration of the relationship between a young girl and her grandfather.

  • Vicky Angel

    Author: Jacqueline Wilson Illustrator: Nick Sharratt
    Publisher: Random House
    Interest age: 8+
    Reading age: 9+

    A moving novel about guilt and bereavement, written with humour and sensitivity.

  • Milo and the Restart Button

    Author: Alan Silberberg
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books
    Interest age: 7+
    Reading age: 7+

    Silberberg's novel is funny, sad, and empowering for young readers who have suffered bereavement. His comical illustrations and lists both lighten and extend the text.

  • My Henry

    Author: Judith Kerr
    Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
    Interest age: 4+
    Reading age: 7+

    Unconventional subject matter for the very young is presented with gentle humour and a sense of great joy

  • Rabbityness

    Author: Jo Empson
    Publisher: Child's Play
    Interest age: 2-5
    Reading age: 5+

    This beautifully illustrated, simple book will engage young readers, and address the sorrow of any bereavement they experience.

  • Grandad's Island

    Author: Benji Davies
    Publisher: Simon and Schuster
    Interest age: 5+
    Reading age: 7+

    A subtle story about love and loss enhanced by delightful illustrations.