Picture Books to Help us Deal with Loss (nonfiction picture book challenge)

I know these are not all nonfiction books, but they are all books that can help deal with all too real, difficult times. 

A short while ago our school was faced with the death of one of our own. While we already had some books that dealt with this kind of loss, I felt our collection needed some enhancement. These are some of our new titles. 

Lifetimes: the beautiful way to explain death to children by Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen

This is a truly beautiful book. It deals matter-of-factly with the concept of death. Flowers, trees, rabbits, butterflies and humans are seen within the following context,

"There is a beginning 
and an ending for everything
that is alive.
In between is living."

Each page of text is accompanied by a beautifully soft illustration. The repetition of the phrase, "It is the way they live and it is their lifetime" provides a sense of normality and solace in the midst of the reality of mortality. 

The Scar by Charlotte Moundlic

This story is told from the perspective of a young boy. My eyes filled with tears as I read his reactions to, and interpretations of, his mother's death and his father's grief. It doesn't make light of the heaviness at a time like this, but it does leave the reader filled with hope by the end.

Rudy's Pond by Eve Bunting illustrated by Ronald Himler

A young girl has to deal with the sickness and death of her best friend. I like how the teacher made space for the children to deal with their loss. They wrote poetry and put it in a book. They created a pond and hung a hummingbird feeder above it. I love the moments of magical thinking that happen at times like this.

Harry and Hopper by Margaret Wild and Freya Blackwood

Margaret wild has the capacity to tackle hard topics with such grace. This book is no exception.  When Harry's dog, Hopper, dies in an accident, Harry has a hard time letting go. Afraid to sleep in his lonely bed, Harry spends his nights on the living room sofa. In his dreams Hopper returns to play with him. Over time the dog fades until Harry is able to say goodbye. Harry's relationship to his father is a beautiful counterpoint to the loss.


  1. Beautiful new additions Cheriee. I agree that it is so crucial that these titles are in our library/classroom/home collections. Harry and Hopper is so special. And, The Scar, sigh. I own my own copy. I don't know Lifetimes. But will look for it. Thanks for sharing these here.

    1. Thanks Carrie, I have a few more. Lifetimes is one of those golden oldies - a beautiful read.

  2. Hi there Cheriee, we just had a reading theme on death and dying a few months back, and so a few of your titles here are quite familiar to me, particularly the fiction picturebook titles The Scar, Harry & Hopper as well as Rudi's Pond - all very beautiful. :)

    1. Hi Myra, thanks. I've also just finished The Invisible String. Have you read it? Not so much about dying, but a lovely book on how we are always connected.