5 Kids Books About Death That Can Help You Explain the Concept to Your Child

If you’re looking for ways to explain the concept of death to your child, consider these five kids books about death.

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The Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia

This book follows the life of a leaf named Freddie, from bud to death, and uses this simple story to explain the concept of death and dying to children. While it does not sugarcoat the subject, it does provide a gentle introduction that can help kids understand what happens when someone dies.

The Tenth Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst

From the creator of the beloved “Lulu” books comes a story to help children grapple with the death of a pet. When Mr. Hugh dies, his cat Barney is very sad. To make her feel better, her mother asks her to list ten good things about Barney.

This sweet story shows children that despite the pain of losing a pet, there are always happy memories to cherish.

The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy

Many people consider The Death of Ivan Ilych to be one of the greatest works of literature ever written, and for good reason. Tolstoy’s novel tells the story of a man who is dying and comes to grips with his own mortality. It is a beautiful and moving work that can help adults and children alike understand the concept of death.

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

This coming-of-age novel follows the story of a boy and his two dogs who become hunting partners in the Ozarks. After a tragic accident, one of the dogs dies, leaving the boy to grapple with his grief. While the book is written for children, it does not shy away from complex emotions and can be used to start a discussion about death with your own child.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

When her body is found, the detectives assigned to the case realize that they are dealing with a particularly brutal murder. The Lovely Bones follows the investigation and its aftermath from the perspectives of the victim’s family, friends, and killer.

As they each grapple with their own grief, they also must deal with suspicions, media attention, and their own personal demons. Told from the point of view of 14-year-old Susie Salmon, The Lovely Bones is a haunting story about love, loss, and redemption.

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