The Best Picture Books to Help a Child Understand Death

shelved under Children's Books

Talking about death with young children is difficult.  Here are three picture books on the subject that strike just the right note.


Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs

illustrated by Tomie dePaola

Barbara Radisavljevic from Templeton, CA says:

This book shows the love and care which exists in healthy families; it shows that people are still important parts of families when they become old and disabled. It's been years since I've read this, but that's what I took away from it.


The Tenth Good Thing About Barney

by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Erik Blegvad

J. Barber says:

This is a lovely book to help children deal with the loss of a beloved cat. It shows children that it is appropriate to have compassion for animals, since some people make fun of animal owners when they experience loss. The book helps teach how to grieve in a positive way. Whenever I have lost a cat, this is one of the things I read to help me cope, and it has been decades since I was a child.


Tough Boris

by Mem Fox, illustrated by Kathryn Brown

A perfectly-told wordless story that shows the tender side of a very tough pirate.

This book also appears on The Best Picture Books about Pirates!