Books can help us face our biggest fears and deepest grief. The following titles are some of my favorite books dealing with illness and death.
BOOKS FOR CHILDREN
Now One Foot, Now the Other
G. P. Putnam’s Sons
After his grandfather suffers a stroke, Bobby teaches him to walk again—just like his grandfather once taught him.
Ida B. and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World
The feisty Ida B. struggles to deal with her mother’s cancer and the changes it brings to her idyllic life.
A Pillow for my Mom
illustrated by Christine Ross
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
A girl misses her mother, who is sick and in the hospital.
The Hope Tree: Kids Talk
about Breast Cancer
Laura Numeroff, Wendy S. Harpham, M.D.
illustrated by David McPhail
Simon and Schuster
A group of children (depicted as animals) work through the emotions and difficulties they face when a parent has cancer.
Kids Write Through It: Essays from Kids who have Triumphed Over Trouble
Children share personal essays about their struggles through difficult times—from social struggles at school to the serious illness or death of a family member.
illustrated by Angela L. Chostner
Augsburg Fortress Publishers
A daughter works through her grief by remembering special details about her mother.
Blue Sky Press
In Dog Heaven, God gives dogs fields for running, along with biscuits in funny shapes and fluffy cloud beds.
illustrated by Janice Lee Porter
A young girl overcomes her reluctance to attend her grandpa’s funeral by talking about memories of their time together.
Jim’s Dog Muffins
illustrated by Ronald Himler
Star Bright Books
Jim’s classmates struggle to help him feel better after the death of his dog Muffins.
Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs
A young boy must say goodbye to his beloved great-grandmother.
I’ll Always Love You
A young boy deals with the death of his dog—the “best dog in the whole world.”
BOOKS FOR ADULTS
Helping Children Cope with the Loss of a Loved One: A Guide for Grownups
William C. Kroen, Ph.D., LMHC
Free Spirit Publishing
Living with Grief: Children and Adolescents
Edited by Kenneth J. Doka and Amy S. Tucci
Hospice Foundation of America