This booklist has been compiled over the years as my children have lost loved ones and have started relationships with the seniors at our local nursing home. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, I am so very sorry. I hope that you and your children will find books in here that will bring some comfort and peace as you learn to live this new life without that special person.
Books that deal with Aging and Friendships with the Elderly
The Tide by Clare Helen Welsh (ages 4 and up) is a book that deals with dementia. The grandad in the book is starting to forget things and it causes some emotions in his granddaughter. This is a beautiful story is about how the people we love will always love us, even if they start to lose their memory. Below you can listen to the author read her story in her beautiful accent.
Mr. George Baker by Amy Hest (ages 5 and up) is a book about a special friendship between a 100 year old man and a young neighbor boy. The boy describes how wonderful his friend George is and shares that he is 100 but never learned to read. The two go to school together on the bus and George goes to a special adult classroom to learn how to read. This book is just beautiful and a favorite of mine!
Sunshine Home by Eve Bunting (ages 4 and up) is the story of a boy going to see his grandmother in the nursing home for the first time. She has fallen and can no longer live at home and he is scared about visiting her in the nursing home and worried that she has changed. The boy finds out that his grandmother is still the same wonderful person she always has been. This book does a great job of describing what nursing homes are like to ease nervous feelings that little ones may be experiencing.
Miss Tizzy by Libba Moore Gray (ages 3 and up) is the story about a wonderful elderly neighbor named Miss Tizzy. Miss Tizzy is so loved by the children in her neighborhood and she leads them in daily activities, games and projects. When Miss Tizzy gets sick, the children are very sad. They come together to show her the same love she has shown them with daily acts of kindness. This is such a beautiful book about friendship.
The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy (ages 4 and up) is the story about the relationship between a child and her grandmother who lives with her. Her grandmother starts a patchwork quilt and her granddaughter, Tanya, offers to help. They collect scraps from all over the place, each scrap a reminder of something special in their life. When grandma gets sick, Tanya is determined to keep the quilt going. When grandma is feeling better, she is able to finish the quilt and they are left with a beautiful keepsake.
The Old Woman Who Named Things by Cynthia Rylant (ages 4 and up) is a beautiful book about a lonely older woman who loves to name things. She has outlived all of her friends and so she is very much alone and names only things that can outlive her (her car, chair etc.). A puppy comes into her life one day and things begin to change. This book will inspire your and your children to reach out to the elderly people in their life who may be lonely.
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox (ages 4 and up) is the story about a boy who lives next door to a nursing home. He knows all of the people who live there and runs errands for them. He has a very special relationship with one resident, Miss Nancy, who has lost her memory. Wilfrid does not know what a memory is, so he goes on a quest through the nursing home to find out so that he can help Miss Nancy. I LOVE this sweet story so much.
Books for Children Dealing with Death and Grief
The Dragonfly Story by Kelly Owen (ages 3 and up) is a beautiful book for ALL ages. This book is based on a well shared short story by an unknown author (Click Here for one version). I found this short story when I lost my sister in-law to breast cancer 10 years ago. My son was 3 at the time and this story brought all of us so much comfort and peace at the time.
The Goodbye Book by Todd Parr (ages 2 and up) is a great book to explain loss to young children. It is simple, easy to understand and yet so powerful. The book goes through the different emotions that your child might be feeling as they go through the grieving process. It is such a great book!
God Gave us Heaven by Laura J. Bryant and Lisa Tawn Bergren (ages 3-7) is a sweet story and does a great job of explaining the concept of heaven for little ones. It is a Christian book, so that may not be appropriate for your family.
Something Sad Happened: A Toddler’s Guide to Understanding Death by Bonnie Zucker (ages 2-4) is a very simple and sweet book about losing a loved one. In this book the child looses his grandmother and the mother explains death in terms that a child can understand and also explains the feelings of grief that may be felt with the loss.
This book is on YouTube but the video creator would not let me post it here. A quick search will help you to find the video.
The Invisible String by Patrice Karst (ages 4 and up) is a wonderful story about the invisible string that connects you to the people you love, even if they are not physically with you. This book can be used to not only deal with death but for children who have anxiety about thunderstorms or being separated from their parents. This is a book we have on our bookshelf.
Life is Like the Wind by Shona Innes (ages 4 and up) is a simple story about what it means to be alive. The book was written by a child psychologist and compares life to the wind. It deals with feelings of grief in ways that children can understand. This book is for all faiths in that it discusses in simple terms the different beliefs of what happens when someone dies.
Memory Box: A Book About Grief by Joanna Rowland (ages 4 and up) is a beautiful book that follows a little girl through her grief. She creates a memory box of mementos that remind her of the loved one she has lost. This book is a great conversation starter to discuss grief and the beauty of the memories we keep. The end contains pages to help parents guild their children through the grief process. This is a book we have on our bookshelf.
Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children by Bryan Mellonie (ages 5 and up) explains the concept of death as a cycle of beginnings, endings and the life in between. The book begins by using examples from nature to help explain this difficult concept to children. The book ends with gently discussing the life cycle of people. This is a book we have on our bookshelf.
Anna’s Big Wish by Tracy Harding–I have not read this book but it was recommended to me a few weeks ago as a good resource to help children with loss. 100% of the proceeds of the book go to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Visit the website to learn more about the book and check out the bereavement resources for children on their site. https://annasbigwish.com/