Children’s books & resources to help with death, dying and illness

Below is a list of Australian books that may be helpful to assist children under 12 to better understand death and loss, or illness (particularly cancer):

  • The Tiny Star by Mem Fox (As a grand mother I also worried about how one day my death may impact my much loved grand children – and Mem had a similar worry. The Tiny Star with divine illustrations done by Freya Blackwood is a one in a million picture book. Poignant and perfect as a gift for any family).
  • Roses Are Blue by Sally Murphy
  • My Mum’s Got Cancer by Dr Lucy Blunt
  • Molly’s Memory Jar by Norma Spaulding
  • The Important Things by Peter Carnavas
  • The Balloon Cloud by Clare Hanlon
  • My Mum Has Breast Cancer by Lisa Sewards
  • What’s Dead Mean (activity book) by Doris Zagdanski
  • What About Me? by George Vlamakis
  • The Lilac Ladies by Jenny Hughes
  • Tiddycat by Josephine Croser
  • The Very Best of Friends by Margaret Wild
  • Lifetimes by Bryan Mellonie
  • Yesterday You Were Here by Melissa Little
  • Benson the Boxer by Karen Ferry
  • Finn’s Feather by Rachel Noble
  • Farewell Old Faithful by Claire Bickford
  • Happy Hearts by Jevita Nilson
  • Audrey’s Dad by Jean Muthukumaraswamy
  • Where are you Lydie? by Emma Poore
  • You, Me and the Rainbow by Petrea King (also see Petrea’s rainbow ritual for kids on the Quest for Life website)
  • Where are you Harry? by Sunny Ling
  • Is Heaven Farther Than the North Pole? by Molly Rubesh

Some other helpful titles available from overseas authors:

  • A Sky of Diamonds by Camille Gibbs
  • Ida, Always by Caron Levis and illustrated by Charles Santoso
  • I Wish I Could Hold Your Hand by Dr Pat Palmer
  • Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman
  • The Very Best of Friends by Margaret Wild
  • The Memory Tree by Britta Teckentrup
  • The Scar by Charlotte Moundlic
  • Heart in a Bottle by Oliver Jeffers
  • Frog Ballet by Amanda McCardie
  • Little Elephant Underfoot by Sally Grindley
  • What Happens When We Die by JR Becke
  • Always Remember by Cece Meng
  • My Yellow Balloon by Tiffany Papageorge
  • The Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Leo Bascaglia
  • Buddy and Bea by Len Saunders
  • The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
  • The Goodbye Book by Todd Parr
  • It Will be Okay by Lysa TerKeurst
  • My Superhero Grandpa by Michelle McAvoy
  • Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs by Tomie DePaola
  • Grandpa’s Stories by Joseph Coelho
  • Emily Lost Someone She Loved by Kathleen Fucci
  • Grief is Like a Snowflake by Julia Cook
  • Everett Anderson’s Goodbye by Lucille Clifton
  • Missing Mommy by Rebecca Cobb
  • Chester Racoon and the Acorn Full of Memories by Audrey Penn
  • The Rough Patch by Brian Lies
  • I’ll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm
  • Cat Heaven and Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant
  • The End of Something Wonderful by Stephanie Lucianovic
  • Where are you Lydie? by Emma Poore

Some other useful resources on supporting children through death and loss

Good Grief – an education program to support children and young people who are struggling with experiences of change, loss and grief.
Petrea King’s Quest for Life foundation has toolkits for children and adults, plus programs supporting people who are grieving.
Lion Heart Camp for Kids is a WA bereavement support program for kids aged 5-12.
The Australian Centre for Death and Bereavement has a comprehensive list of bereavement support services on their website.

Stand by Support is an Australian Government initiative, established in 2002 to meet the need for a coordinated community response to suicide. It is Australia’s leading suicide postvention program dedicated to assisting people and communities bereaved or impacted by suicide.

Grief Connect will provide you with accurate information, connect you to the right support and services, and offer comprehensive counselling so you can be empowered to move forward with life and address the challenges associated with losing a loved one.

If you know of other books or resources that you’ve found helpful to read with children please email to let us know at

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