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Books on Grief and Loss

books on grief and loss

Bereavement can be so isolating. Sometimes it can be a huge help to see the pain and loss you are currently experiencing mirrored in the stories of others. If you are supporting a bereaved child or adolescent you may be searching for the right words. Often a book shared together can help open the door to talking about the person they have lost and expressing these new difficult feelings. 

On this page our librarian recommends books about grief and loss that cover a range of experiences and relationships. Click on the headings below to jump to your preferred section:

Children's Grief

Noodle loses dad

By Sarah Corbett Lynch (2019)

Young Limerick author, Sarah Corbett Lynch (13) has written this self – affirming book exploring loss, bereavement, blended families and grief. In this her first book of the Boogawooga series, Noodle lives in the Woodland forest with her family when she loses the most important person in her life – Boogawooga. Noodle and her brother Paws then go on a journey to Acorn Island.
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noodle loses dad

Badger’s parting gifts

By Susan Varley (2013)

Badger is so old that he knows he must soon die, so he does his best to prepare his friends. When he finally passes away, they are grief-stricken, but one by one they remember the special things he taught them during his life. By sharing their memories, they realise that although Badger is no longer with them physically, he lives on through his friends.
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badgers parting gifts

Water bugs and dragonflies:
Explaining death to young children

By Doris Stickney (1997)

How can we answer the many questions young children have about death? Doris Stickney and her minister husband were looking for a meaningful way to explain to neighborhood children the death of a five-year-old friend — an explanation that would satisfy not only the children but adult minds as well. While they were preparing for the child’s memorial service, the fable of the water bug that changed into a dragonfly came to mind.
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water bugs

Building continuing bonds for grieving and bereaved children

By Brenda Mallon (2018)

The period following the death of a friend or loved one can be tumultuous for anyone, but can be especially difficult for children, with lasting effects if the loss is not acknowledged or supported. This book emphasises the importance of listening to children and helping them to create positive bonds that can sustain them as they go through their lives.
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building bonds

A parent’s guide to raising grieving children

By Phyllis R. Silverman (2009)

 In this deeply sympathetic book, Phyllis R. Silverman and Madelyn Kelly offer wise guidance on virtually every aspect of childhood loss, from living with someone who’s dying to preparing the funeral; from explaining death to a two year old to managing the moods of a grieving teenager; from dealing with people who don’t understand to learning how and where to get help from friends, therapists, and bereavement groups; from developing a new sense of self to continuing a relationship with the person who died.
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parents guide raising grieving children

 A child’s grief

By Julie A. Stokes (2009)

Supporting a Child When Someone in Their Family Has Died
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a childs grief

Grieving the Death of Someone Close

Tell me the truth about loss

By Niamh Fitzpatrick (2020)

A beautiful and hopeful book for when life isn’t what you expect it to be. In March 2017, Niamh Fitzpatrick’s life fell apart overnight. Her beloved sister Dara was killed in a helicopter crash. Soon afterwards, Niamh’s marriage disintegrated, and she feared she would lose her house, beside her remaining family. Life as she knew it had ended and the cumulative loss, in terms of impact, was staggering. A psychologist for many years, Niamh guides clients on their journey to overcome the worst of times in their lives. She had to draw on this skillset herself, first to survive and then, in time, begin to thrive after such significant loss. Tell Me the Truth About Loss documents a psychologist’s journey through loss, grief and the hardest of times, finding hope along the way.
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tell me the truth about loss

Irish stories of loss and hope

A number of well-known poets and artists contributed to this book including Seamus Heaney, Brendan Kennelly, Rita Ann Higgins, Carol Ann Duffy and Fiona Looney (2006)

Irish Stories of Loss and Hope is a collection of stories, art and poetry published by Irish Hospice Foundation in 2006. The idea was developed by Dr Susan Delaney and intended to be used as a resource for bereaved people.

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irish stories of loss and hope

Adolescent Grief

When a friend dies: A book for teens about grieving and healing

By Marilyn Gootman (2005)

The death of a friend is a wrenching event for anyone at any age. Teenagers especially need help coping with this painful loss. This sensitive book answers questions grieving teens often have, like How should I be acting? Is it wrong to go to parties and have fun? and What if I can’t handle my grief on my own.
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when a friend dies

Still here with me: Teenagers and children on losing a parent

By Suzanne Sjöqvist (2006)

Winner of the Young Minds Book Prize 2007 This book is a moving and thoughtful anthology of the experiences of thirty-one children and teenagers who have lost a parent. In their own words, children and young people of a variety of ages talk openly and honestly about losing their mother or father. They describe feelings of pain, loss and anger, the struggle to cope with the embarrassed reactions and silence of others, and the difficulties involved in rebuilding their lives.
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still here with me

Healing your grieving heart for teens

By Alan D. Wolfelt (2001)

With sensitivity and insight, this series offers suggestions for healing activities that can help survivors learn to express their grief and mourn naturally. Acknowledging that death is a painful, ongoing part of life, they explain how people need to slow down, turn inward, embrace their feelings of loss, and seek and accept support when a loved one dies.
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Healing your grieving heart for teens

Talking to Children about Death

Talking about death: A dialogue between parent and child

By Earl A. Grollman (2011)

Why do people die? How do you explain the loss of a loved one to a child? This book is a compassionate guide for adults and children to read together, featuring a read-along story and answers to questions children ask about death.
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talking about death

Talking with children and young
people about death and dying

By Mary Turner (2006)

Talking with Children and Young People about Death and Dying is a popular resource designed to help adults talk to bereaved children and young people. Mary Turner explains the various aspects and stages of bereavement and offers useful insights into the concerns of children experiencing grief or facing an imminent bereavement.
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talking with children about death

How do we tell the children?
A step-by-step guide for helping
children and teens cope when
someone dies

By Dan Schaefer and Christine Lyons (2010)

Many children’s lives are touched by a serious illness within their families, and some will be faced with the loss of a parent or grandparent, or the death of a sibling or beloved pet. How can adults help young people cope with these losses? How do they explain and console in language that a child can understand?
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how do we tell

Bereaved by Suicide

A special scar: The experiences of people bereaved by suicide

By Alison Wertheimer (2001)

What happens to those left behind by suicide? In a society where suicide is often viewed with fear or disapproval, it can be difficult for those personally affected by a suicide death to come to terms with their loss and seek help and support. A Special Scar looks in detail at the stigma surronding suicide and offers practical help for survivors, relatives and friends of people who have taken their own life.
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a special scar

After suicide: Help for the bereaved

By Sheila Clark (1995)

World suicide statistics have become frightening. There are thousands of people who have lost a relative or friend through suicide. This book has been written in response to the needs of people who have lost a loved one through suicide. It is intended to help people understand the emotions they may face, provides suggestions for practical help and assists them to build a new life again. The format of the book is unique with information provided in small packages so as to be easily assimilated by the distressed reader.
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Echoes of suicide

By Siobhan Foster-Ryan (2001)

What is it like to lose a loved one through suicide? How do we talk with children? Where is faith in all this? These are just some of the questions addressed in this unique gathering of experiences and perspectives on suicide.
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Grieving the Death of a Child