Grief and Loss

All of a Sudden and Forever: Help and Healing After the Oklahoma City Bombing by Chris Barton, illustrated by Nicole Xu

Published by Carolrhoda Books, 2020

The story of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing which resulted in 168 deaths, including 19 children. The focus is on the Survivor Tree, which provided hope and healing and continues to through trees planted from its seeds. 40 pages; grades 2-6.

Bear Island by Matthew Cordell

Published by Feiwel and Friends, 2021

When Louise encounters a bear, she experiences fear, anger, and finally peace, emotions which mirror her healing after the loss of her dog. 48 pages; ages 4-8.

Golden Threads by Suzanne Del Rizzo, illustrated by Miki Sato

Published by Owlkids, 2020

A stuffed fox loses his home and best friend in a storm. When he’s rescued, his new friend repairs him with golden threads, incorporating the Japanese idea of wabi-sabi, finding beauty in things that are imperfect. 32 pages; ages 4-8.

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

Published by Dial Books, 2018

When Taylor’s beautiful block tower is accidentally destroyed, other animals want to try to re-create it, laugh, or ignore what happened. But the rabbit just listens as Taylor expresses anger, sadness, and finally, a plan to rebuild. 40 pages; ages 3-7.

When Sadness Is At Your Door by Eva Eland

Published by Random House Books for Young Readers, 2019

Sadness is portrayed as a green blobby creature, and there are tips on how to deal with it: give it a name and sit with it, find activities that you both enjoy like drawing or listening to music, or take a walk with it. One day you may wake up to find that it’s gone. 32 pages; ages 3-8.

Rodney Was a Tortoise by Nan Forler, illustrated by Yong Ling Kang

Published by Tundra Books, 2022

When Bernadette’s oldest friend, a tortoise named Rodney, passes away, Bernadette withdraws into a deep well of grief. It takes Amar, an empathetic boy in her class, to acknowledge her grief and help her remember some good times with Rodney. 40 pages; ages 4-8.

Ten Beautiful Things by Molly Beth Griffin, illustrated by Maribel Lechuga

Published by Charlesbridge, 2021

As Gram drives to her farm, she distracts Lily from her sadness by suggesting they look for ten beautiful things. Number ten? Gram and Lily making a new home together. 32 pages; ages 4-8.

Ida, Always by Caron Levis and Charles Santoso

Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016

Gus and Ida are polar bears who are also best friends. They explore their zoo home together even though Ida can’t see. As Ida’s health deteriorates, she and Gus have good days and tough days together until she dies. Gus continues to enjoy his days at the zoo but never forgets his good friend. 40 pages; ages 4-8.

The Rough Patch by Brian Lies

Published by Greenwillow Books, 2018

Evan the fox and his dog are inseparable friends who especially love working together in the garden until one day, “the unthinkable happened.” Evan shuts himself inside, then hacks his garden to pieces and lets the weeds grow. One day he notices a pumpkin vine and decides to let it stay. The result is a prize pumpkin at the fair. Which prize will he take: $10 or a new puppy? 40 pages, ages 4-8.

Remembering Ethan by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Tracy Nishimura Bishop

Published by Magination Press, 2020

Sarah misses her big brother, Ethan, but her parents never want to talk about him. She thinks this mean they don’t miss him as much as she does. When she shows them a picture she’s drawn of him, the walls come down, and the three are able to talk about him at last. Includes information about how children can cope with the loss of a sibling. 40 pages; ages 4-8.

Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Published by Roaring Brook Press 2018

Different shades of blue describe the relationship between a boy and his dog from the time the boy is an infant until he loses his dog as a young man. A young woman and a new dog help him to heal. 40 pages; ages 3-7.

Jenny Mei Is Sad by Tracy Subisak

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2021

Jenny Mei’s friend can tell that she’s sad even though Jenny sometimes acts silly or angry. Being sad is hard, but Jenny’s friend is always there for her. 40 pages; ages 4-8.

Saturdays Are for Stella by Candy Wellins, illustrated by Charlie Eve Ryan

Published by Page Street Kids, 2020

Saturdays are George’s favorite day because he gets to spend them with his grandmother Stella. Then one Saturday his parents tell him that Stella has died. Saturdays become George’s least favorite day until there is another change in his family: a new baby sister named Stella. George teaches Stella how to do some of the things he loved with his grandmother, and Saturdays become special again. 32 pages; ages 4-8.