Family Related Resources

Often children have difficulty processing some of their feelings and emotions associated with their grief and loss. The following stories and resources were written to help children learn and understand more about death and dying which may assist with their abilities to process their grief and loss.

We strongly encourage adults to accompany children when reading these books. Doing so may trigger questions and conversations about death and dying.

Many of these resources have been tried and tested by children, parents and health professionals however this resource list is by no means exhaustive.

Online Book sellers are available for purchasing some of these resources.

Resources to use with families

Also available in Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese & Vietnamese

Palliative Care Australia (PCA) together with the Paediatric Palliative Care Australia and New Zealand Corporation updated and developed 'A Family Companion' & factsheets to support people needing and providing paediatric palliative care.

Useful links

Books for families

  • Gentle willow a story for children about dying. By Joyce Mills and Michael Chesworth. Magination Press: New York (1994). (5 to 8 years)
  • I had a friend named Peter - Talking to children about the death of a friend. By Janice Cohn and Gail Owens. Morrow Junior Books: New York. (1987)
  • Beginnings and endings with lifetimes in between. By Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen. Puffin Books: Melbourne (2005). (3 to 6 years)
  • How I feel: A Coloring book for grieving children. By Alan Wolfelt. (3 to 8 years).
  • Goodbye forever. Bereavement Activity Book (K-2). By Jim and Joan Boulden. Boulden Publishing.
  • Saying goodbye. Bereavement Activity Book. Boulden Publishing.
  • When Someone Very Special Dies, Children Can Learn to Cope with Grief by Marge Eaton Heegaard.
  • The next place. By Warren Hanson. Waldman House Press (1997).
  • When dinosaurs die: A guide to understanding death. By Laurene Krasny Brown and Marc Tolon Brown. Demco Media (1998).
  • I miss you: A first look at death. By Pat Thomas. Barron’s Educational Series (2001).
  • The invisible string. By Patrice Karst. DeVross Publications (2000).
  • Adam gets back in the game. By Greg Adams. EtAlia Press (2019).
  • My many coloured days. By Dr. Seuss. (1998).
  • Fox & Goldfish. By Nils Pieters. Book Island Limited (2016).
  • How teenagers cope with grief - Something I’ve never felt before. By Doris Zagdanski. Hill of Content: Melbourne (1990).
  • The grieving teen: A Guide for Teenagers and Their Friends. By Helen Fitzgerald Touchstone, (2000).
  • Straight talk about death for teenagers. By Earl Grollman. Beacon Press: Boston (1993).
  • Thoughts - A teenager’s response to a crisis. By Darren Crewe. Ronald McDonald House: Melbourne (1997).
  • The grief book: strategies for young people. By Elizabeth Vercoe & Kerry Abramowski. Black Dog Books (2004).
  • When a friend dies: A book for teens about grieving and healing. By E. Gootman & Pamela Espeland. Turtleback Books (2005).
  • What on earth do you do when someone dies? Trevor Romain Free Spirit Publishing (2003).
  • Two weeks with the Queen. By Morris Gleitzman. Pan Macmillan: Sydney (1989).
  • Where’s Jess: For Children Who Have a Brother or Sister Die. By Marvin Johnson, Joy Johnson, Jody Goldstein Centering Corporation 1982. A short simple story to help children ages 2–5 years cope with infant sibling loss.
  • Am I still a Sister? By Alicia Sims
    An 11 year old girl tells the story about her brother who died from brain cancer.
  • Shelter from the storm - Caring for a child with a life-threatening condition. By Joanne Hilden and Daniel Tobin. Da Capo Press: Cambridge (2009).
  • Living with a seriously ill child. By Jan Aldridge. Sheldon Press: London (2007).
  • A child dies: A portrait of family grief. By Joan Hagan Arnold and Penelope Buschman. The Charles Press Publishers: Philadelphia (1994).
  • Are you sad too? Helping children deal with loss and death. By Dinah Seibert, Judy Drolet and Joyce Fetro. ETR Associates: California (1993).
  • Talking about death – A dialogue between parent and child. By Earl Grollman. Boston: Beacon Press (1990).
  • After the death of a child: Living with loss through the years. By Ann Finkbeiner. Johns Hopkins University Press (1998).
    A comforting book that examines the continuing love a parent feels for their child and ways to preserve that bond even after death.
  • After the loss of a child: a resource for parents of children in palliative care. Melbourne, Victoria: Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement; 2015.
  • The worst loss: How families heal from the death of a child. By Barbara Rosof Holt McDougal Publisher (1995).
    A practical book by a child psycho-therapist who has worked with bereaved families.
  • The bereaved parent. By Harriet Sarnoff Schiff New York Crown Publishers Inc. (1977).
    A classic book written by a bereaved mother for parents whose child has died and for all who want to help them.
  • Coping with grief. By Mal McKissock & Dianne McKissock. ABC Books for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (1995).
  • 35 ways to help a grieving child. By Amy R. Barrett & Dougy Centre for Grieving Children. Dougy Centre for Grieving Children (1999).
  • Beyond words – Grieving when your child has died. By Andrew Thompson & Tricia Irving Hendry. Skylight: New Zealand (2012).
  • Grandparents cry twice: Help for bereaved grandparents. Mary Loud Reed. Baywood Publishing Company (2000).
  • When a grandchild dies: What to do, what to say, how to cope. By Nadine Galinsky. Gal in Sky Publishing Company (1999).

Page updated 2 July 2021


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Print and share the list of books with families