Shanna Reeves Ph.D., LSSP

Living Through Losing

Resources for Children Dealing with Death and Loss

A few literary gems to help young ones process loss and websites for caregivers.

Posted Apr 13, 2020

Sometimes when we don’t have the words as parents, we turn to books not just to guide us but to help with the words to spark a conversation or to reassure with some calming, and perhaps even humorous, images. Here are some children’s books that I have found very useful in helping children with grief.  In no particular order, I’ve listed my top three below with a short description. 

*The Invisible String, by Patrice Karst and Joanne Lew-Vriethoff. Great for separation and loss for a variety of reasons, including a mention of divorce, distance/moving, and death. The basic premise is that when you love someone very much and when they love you, their love never goes away and there is an invisible string that connects your heart to theirs. Easy to understand and helps provide a metaphor that even young kids can use.

*The Next Place, by Warren Hanson. With beautiful illustrations and lyrical wording, this book is truly appropriate for any age who is dealing with grief due to the death of a loved one, or a cherished pet.  I have gifted it over the years to many friends who have dealt with losses of all types and have consistently heard that it was such a comfort. I have even heard of it being read to individuals in hospice to help ease their own anxiety over their imminent passing. It is so comforting, and I truly can’t recommend it highly enough. 

*My Big, Dumb, Invisible Dragon, by Angie Lucas and Birgitta Sif. This one is specific to parent loss for children as the main character loses his mother and soon finds a big heavy invisible dragon that comes to stay for a while, weighing him down and causing problems. But over time, his relationship with the dragon changes, and it serves as a beautiful metaphor with how our relationship with grief changes over time, and eases somewhat with time, though never fully leaves us. This may serve well in situations where your child has a friend who has suffered the loss of a parent. 

Getting through loss is so difficult and can be even more difficult when we are facing it as a family.  I’ve linked some useful online resources below.