16 Books That Talk About Death for Kids, Tweens, and Teens


Death is an inevitable and natural part of life, yet it can be difficult to discuss with children and young adults. Books can serve as a valuable resource to help them understand and process the concept of death as they grow up. Here are 16 books that address this emotional subject in an age-appropriate way for kids, tweens, and teens.

1. The Invisible String by Patrice Karst – A beautiful story about the unseen connection between loved ones even after they pass away.

2. Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children by Bryan Mellonie – This book explains death in a simple, comforting way, comparing lives to the lifecycles of plants and animals.

3. I Miss You: A First Look at Death by Pat Thomas – A gentle approach to help children understand the feelings that arise when they lose someone.

4. The Goodbye Book by Todd Parr – Vibrant illustrations coupled with comforting words help children process their feelings after a loss.

5. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson – A classic novel that respectfully addresses the theme of losing a close friend.

6. The Tenth Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst – The tale of a boy coming to terms with his cat’s death teaches children about coping mechanisms and ways to remember their loved ones.

7. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White – This timeless classic touches on themes of friendship, sacrifice, and the circle of life.

8. The Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia – A tender fable depicting the life and eventual death of a leaf called Freddie that highlights the beauty in nature’s cycles.

9. Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola – Based on true events, this heartfelt picture book explores feelings associated with losing beloved grandparents.

10. The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers – A poignant tale about facing the loss of loved ones and learning to open our hearts again.

11. The Memory Box: A Book About Grief by Joanna Rowland – With illustrations that inspire hope, this story helps children create their own memory box to honor those they’ve lost.

12. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen – A story of a girl finding her way through grief after her father’s death and finding support from unexpected places.

13. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher – This controversial but powerful book delves into the heavy topic of teen suicide and encourages thoughtful conversations about mental health.

14. The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson – After losing her sister, Lennie finds solace in unexpected places, such as poems left throughout her town and new relationships.

15. If I Stay by Gayle Forman – This novel explores the choices that one teen makes after losing her family in a car accident and being forced to decide whether to stay with the living or join her family in death.

16. Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine – Exploring grief through the eyes of a young girl with Asperger’s Syndrome, this novel illustrates one child’s quest for closure following a tragic school shooting.


Though the topic of death can be challenging to discuss with young people, these books offer powerful tools for starting important conversations and helping them cope with loss at different points in their lives. By exploring these narratives, young readers will gain insight into their emotions, develop empathy, and learn valuable life lessons about love, loss, and healing.

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