When children experience loss or grief, it can be difficult to know how to approach them.
While every child will be different, most experience the same kind of complicated emotions that adults do when dealing with loss. Many children act out when experiencing sadness, others stop talking and expressing emotion all together. Losing or being separated from a loved one is hard for anyone, but for young children and adolescents who are dealing with it for the first time, it’s important that they receive the right kind of support.
If you’re not sure how to talk to your child or a younger loved one about loss, a great resource to use is books on grief and loss. These books are targeted towards children and approach loss in a way that both focuses on the real emotions they are feeling, but also encourages them to move forward and deal with their loss in a healthy way.
Here are three books that can help kids talk about everything from death, loss, and all the stuff that comes with it.
Rabbityness by Jo Empson
Rabbityness is a unique picture book that focuses on the good things that the people we become separated from can leave behind. The book follows Rabbit who uses his creative talents to make his friends lives more colorful and vibrant. By the end of the book however, Rabbit has disappeared and his friends are left to dealt with his absence. Though they feel the sadness of losing Rabbit, his friends are also able to appreciate what he gave to them, and are thankful for the time that they had with him. The book is light hearted yet very powerful, and as a picture book, it’s perfect for young children who may not be able to read or are more engaged by images.
The Elephant in the Room by Amanda Edwards
Edwards book not only provides messages of healing and love, but it also gives practical strategies for children who are ready to begin the journey to recovery after experiencing a tragedy. Edwards has an M.A in early childhood education, and bases the events in the book off of research done in social-emotional development in children. The book covers a wide range of circumstances, such as death, hospitalization, foster care, and separation, that could happen which would cause children to experience grief. The main character of the book is also gender neutral, making it relatable for children of all genders.
I Miss You: A First Look at Death by Pat Thomas
A popular book used in grief counseling, Thomas’ book gives an in depth look into the different emotions that kids feel when dealing with loss. The book focuses on how interactions between loved ones like family members, friends, and teachers are important during times of sadness. With simple storylines and colorful illustrations, Thomas’ book provides a great introduction into the first steps of dealing with grief. It’s simple, empathetic, and is also great for families of any religious or spiritual belief as it takes an unbiased approach to the afterlife. This book is best for kids in preschool and early elementary school.