We have created Amazon links to these recommended books (highlighted in red). Simply click on the title to learn more about each book via Amazon.
Specifically for Bereaved Parents
Bearing the Unbearable by Joanne Cacciatore, Ph. D. This book is filled with short chapters revealing how grief can open hearts to connection and compassion. Dr. Cacciatore, a bereaved mother herself, created the Miss Foundation and offers healing advice and guidance to thousands of bereaved people.
After The Death of a Child: Living with Loss Through the Years by Ann K. Finkbeiner. This book examines long-term parental bereavement through the stories of those who have lost their children; the author lost her son in a train accident when he was 18 years old.
Guests of My Life by Elizabeth Watson. Poetry and prose of six important writers who share their struggles with loss and grief. The author lost her daughter in a car accident; she and other family members were in that car and all other family members survived.
Empty Cradle, Broken Heart by Deborah L. Davis, Ph. D. This book offers reassurance to parents surviving miscarriage, stillbirth, or the deal of their infant. It is a supportive and gentle guide.
From Father-to-Father Letters from Loss Dad to Loss Dad by Emily R. Long. A simple book of letters written for grieving fathers from other grieving dads. Fathers from around the world share their hearts to bring comfort to other dads who have suffered life’s greatest loss.
Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back by Kelly Farley with David Dicola. This is an honest book written by a grieving father that helps other grieving dads realize that they are not alone and discusses how a father’s grief is often invisible in society.
Learning to Dance in the Rain: A True Story About Life Beyond Death by Lori and Brian McDermott. This is a personal story of the sudden death of this couple’s adult daughter and how they continue traveling this grief journey together.
Five Cries of Grief by Merton P. Strommen and A. Irene Strommen. This book accounts the grief journey of a couple who loses their adult son suddenly in 1986.
Navigating Life: Living with Purpose after Catastrophic Loss by Kelly & Jan Kovaleski. This is the personal story of a Rochester, NY area couple whose teenage son passed away due to cancer. It shares their struggle to find purpose and direction following this devastating loss. Kelly and Jay are a wonderful couple who have joined us in gatherings over the years.
The Beauty of a Grieving Mother: Mothers Share their Stories of Finding Hope after the Loss of a Child created by Elly Sheykhet. This is an anthology of ten broken-hearted mothers who share their grief journeys following the loss of their child. Their life stories are varied but the connection all grieving parents share is expressed in this beautiful book. Tracy Montesano, one of “our own” lovely, bereaved mothers, shares the loss of her beloved Colin in this anthology.
When the Bough Breaks: Forever After the Death of a Son or Daughter by Judith R. Bernstein, PhD. The author, a bereaved mother herself, delves into every aspect of child loss grief with numerous bereaved parents in this touching and thorough collaboration.
Beyond Tears, Living After Losing a Child, A Collaboration with Ellen Mitchell. Nine bereaved mothers share their experiences and wisdom in this supportive book.
A Broken Heart Still Beats: After Your Child Dies by Anne McCracken and Mary Semel. A collection of poetry, fiction, essays, and personal accounts written by well-known people and others who have experienced loss compiled by a journalist and a social worker who have both lost a child.
The Worst Loss: How Families Heal from the Death of a Child by Barbara D. Rosof. This is a source of practical advice and the down-to-earth story telling of several grieving families’ experiences with the loss of their child.
After the Death of a Child: Living with Loss Through the Years by Ann K. Finkbeiner. The author, a bereaved mother herself, speaks with 30 other families who also suffered the loss of their child. She shares their stories and incites in this book.
After the Darkest Hour the Sun Will Shine Again, A Parent’s Guide to Coping with the Loss of a Child by Elizabeth Mehren. This author shares her own grief story as well as other grief stories, both contemporary and historical in this guide.
Finding Hope When a Child Dies: What Other Cultures Can Teach Us by Sukie Miller, PhD. This book shares various cultures’ beliefs around death and grieving that brings comfort to a grieving heart. She draws from years of clinical experience and hundreds of case studies.
Collections of Poetry for Bereaved Adults
The Poems of Sascha Wagner Sadly, this is not currently available, but if you find it in a used bookstore, grab it!! This book of poetry was published by The Compassionate Friends, Inc. Sascha Wagner grieved the loss of two of her children in her lifetime. Many of these poems have been shared around the world to bring solace and comfort.
Stars in the Deepest Night by Genessee Bourdeau Gentry. A collection of beautiful poetry written by a bereaved mother. It has been embraced by The Compassionate Friends, Inc. and many of her poems have been shared, bringing solace to many suffering on this grief journey.
It’s Ok That You’re Not OK by Megan Devine. This book offers a realistic view on how to survive the loss of a loved one, though society often believes we should return to normal following such a loss.
Safe Passage: Words to help the Grieving (Healing Meditations, Meditations for Grief and Healing after Loss) by Molly Fumia. This is a grief recovery handbook that guides the reader through the grieving process that leads to healing.
Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. This is filled with a widow’s personal insights and a male psychologist’s eye-opening research on finding strength after loss.
Finding Meaning, The Sixth Stage of Grief by David Kessler. This book introduces a critical sixth stage of grief – meaning. His years of experience supporting the grieving, as well as his own personal experiences with death, bring insight and poignancy to this book.
Healing After Loss, Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief by Martha Hickman. This book offers strength and comfort to anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one.
A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis. This is an honest reflection on the fundamental issues of life, death, and faith during loss.
Only Gone from Your Sight: Jack McAfghan’s Little Guide to Pet Loss and Grief by Kate McGahan. This little book will help you know how to make the right decisions when you lose a pet or human loved one, stay strong in your time of loss, and ultimately to move forward by using the power of your love instead of the limits of your mind.
For Bereaved Toddlers/Preschool Children
Something Very Say Happened: A Toddler’s Guide to Understanding Death by Bonnie Sucker (Ages 2-4)
We Were Gonna Have a Baby, but We Had an Angel Instead by Pat Schwiebert (Ages 3 & up)
The Goodbye Book by Todd Parr (Ages 3-6)
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. This book is often used to reassure anxious children heading off to school, but it's special to us as a reminder that we’re connected to our angel by love. (Ages 3-7)
Where Do People Go When They Die? by Mindy Avra Portnoy (Ages 3-8)
For Bereaved Early School Age/Elementary Children:
For Heaven’s Sake by Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso (Ages 4-6)
The Invisible String by Patrice Karst (Ages 4-8)
When Dinosaurs Die by Laurie Krasny Brown (Ages 4-8)
Ida Always by Caron Levis (Ages 4-8)
When Something Terrible Happens: Children Can Learn to Cope with Grief by Marge Heegaard (Ages 4-8)
Water Bugs and Dragonflies: Explaining Death to Children by Doris Stickney & Gloria Claudia Ortiz (Ages 4-8)
A Terrible Thing Happened by Margaret Holmes & Sasha Mudlaff (Ages 4-8)
Lifetimes: A Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children by Bryan Mellonie (Ages 5-8)
The Next Place by Warren Hanson (Ages 5-8)
And God Cried Too: A Kid’s Book of Healing and Hope by Marc Gilman. Little Angel Mike is a guardian-angel-in-training and doesn’t understand how God can let bad things happen. This title is currently out of print, but used hard copies may be found on Amazon Smile. (Ages 7-10)
For Bereaved Middle School Children/Teens/Young Adults:
In Loving Memory: A Child's Journey to Understanding a Cremation Funeral and Starting the Grieving Process by Lacie Brueckner, Katherine Pendergast and Kat Socks. When 10-year-old Harper loses her grandmother, she learns about grief and how her family will honor her beloved grandmother. (Ages 10 and up)
When Someone Very Special Dies: Children Can Learn to Cope with Grief by Marge Heegaard (Ages 9-12)
The Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (Ages 8-12)
When a Friend Dies: A Book for Teens About Grief & Healing by Marilyn Gootman (Ages 11 and up)
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (High School age)
Helping Teens Cope with Death by The Dougy Center for Grieving Children. Also visit HERE for more resources.
“Talking To Children About Death: How to Help Your Child Cope with the Loss of a Loved One” By Marilyn Sargent. We searched online for this pamphlet and found a version from Purdue University that is readable but belongs to Purdue University.
“Answers to A Child’s Questions About Death: Truthful Answers to Hard Questions Children Have About Death” By Peter Stillman
Cartoons/Movies that address or include the death of a loved one:
Coco by Walt Disney. When a 12-year-old boy is accidentally transported to the Land of the Dead, he seeks his great-grandfather’s help. The book is available on Amazon Smile.
Book of Life by 20th Century Fox Animation. The story follows a bullfighter who, on the Day of the Dead, embarks on an afterlife adventure. (Mexican culture)
Big Hero 6 by Walt Disney A young robotics prodigy loses his brother and together with his brother’s healthcare provider robot, forms a superhero team. A book series involving these characters is available on Amazon Smile.
Onward by Walt Disney. Two elf brothers set out on a quest to find an artifact that will temporarily bring back their deceased father for 24 hours.
Jack Frost by Warner Bros. A movie starring Michael Keaton about a rock musician dad gets another shot at family time when he is reincarnated as a jolly snowman.
The Land Before Time by Universal Pictures. The story follows a young, orphaned dinosaur, who is guided by the spirit of his mother as he embarks on a journey to the Great Valley.
Bambi by Walt Disney. A tale that follows a young deer who experiences adventures with new friends, and also valuable lessons about love, loss, and life.
Moana by Walt Disney. A young teenager embarks on a daring adventure across the ocean, fulfilling the ancient quest of her ancestors, finding her strength, and being guided by the spirit of her grandmother.
Finding Nemo by Walt Disney. After the passing of his mother, Nemo is taken from his reef and his dad bravely sets out on an epic journey to find him.
Up by Walt Disney. A touching story that follows an elderly man who is determined to achieve a life-long dream in his wife's honor after she passes away.
The Lion King by Walt Disney. After his father passes away, young Simba must overcome his fears and step into his new responsibilities of the throne.
My Girl by Sony PIctures. This story follows an 11-year-old girl who navigates adolescence, unlikely friendships, and what it's like to experience death and loss of close family and friends.
Little Women by Sony Pictures. A story about a group of sisters who find love, find their place in the world, and experience loss after one of the sisters passes away from a long illness.