Books about death for toddlers [8 Recommendations]

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Death sometimes comes at the wrong time and probably there’s no worse timing for death than taking away a parent when they still have a toddler (or taking away their favorite pet).

And after death comes the most herculean task of explaining death to the toddler whether you’re the parent who has been left behind (by a partner) or grandparents (if the toddler has been orphaned), or you are a parent who wants to tell your child that their pet is dead.

Now, books can help if you really do not know how to relay the terrible news to the toddler – you must make them understand that the deceased/dead pet is gone forever.

That brings me to what this article is all about: Good books about death for toddlers.

We have a few we recommend and I have reviewed them below:

Books about death for toddlers

Scroll down to see the wonderful Books about death for toddlers:

Fall of Freddie the Leaf (Leo Buscaglia)

This is a wonderful book that has helped so many toddlers and adults to come to grips with life and the sadness of a sudden death.

To be clear, the book has a strikingly simple story for your toddler to understand and he/she will begin to get a good idea that the departed won’t be coming back.

This book is a story about Freddie and his companions(these are all actually leaves)  as their lives change with the passing seasons and the coming of the usually bitter winter (when Freddie will be the last leaf to fall to the ground and pass on).

I should add that the book features beautiful nature photographs that will brighten your boy/girl’s mind amid the gloom.

Check it out


The Goodbye Book (Todd Parr)

This is a great book for your toddler to walk him/her through the confusing feelings they may have while struggling with the final goodbye especially, for a loved one like a parent or a close relative.

It helps understand the grieving process and Todd actually goes to great lengths to remind kids that things will eventually get better despite that they’re feeling hollow and abandoned presently.

In fact, Todd Parr slyly gives toddlers ideas about things they can do when the pain of loss subsides.

Also, Todd makes it clear that Goodbyes can be done with love by remembering many of the beautiful moments that the deceased (parent/close relative) brought to your toddler’s life.

Preview it

Badger’s Parting Gifts (Susan Varley)

In this book there is an old badger who knows he will soon die, so he does his best to prepare his friends.

Later on, the day comes and he finally passes on.

And yes, the grief is there but by remembering the special things he taught his buddies during his life, things get way better.

It’s a really good book that will help your toddler know that even though the dead person is no longer with them, he/she left behind amazing memories that they will cherish forever.

The most important message in the book is that even though the loved ones are no longer with the little one physically, they live on in their minds through their wonderful memories (memories never die!).

Check it out


Water Bugs and Dragonflies (Doris Stickney)

This is another awesome book that does not shy away from the subject of death.

What I like most about the book is that it explains death to young children through cute colorings throughout.

I should add that the author clearly wants to make kids understand dying in a real and loving way- it even speaks of the hope of heaven and encourages children to imagine the good life that we are ushered into when we die.

See what other are saying about it


Bear’s Last Journey – Udo Weigelt/Cristina Kadmon

This is an extremely informative book about dying and grief for young brains.

It tells a story of an old bear who is very sick and has gathered his friends and tells them that he is almost dying.

Now, there are different reactions from his friends – some friends are not happy about him dying but others are at peace because they know we will all finally die.

When he dies, all the animals are saddled by the terrible news and there is a little fox that is the most upset, hurt, angry, and confused.

How the animals deal with the loss of their friend is a moving story about death, grieving, and the solace to be found in one’s memory.

You don’t want your toddler to miss this book.

Preview it


Lifetimes -Bryan Mellonie

This book articulates a lot about life and death in a sensitive, caring, and delicate way to children- it clearly says that dying is as much a part of living as being born is.

Indeed, it educates your toddler about the beginning, the ending, and the living in between – and there are some cute illustrations inside (from plants, animals, and people) that make it easy for you to explain death to your toddler.

Unsurprisingly, it has loads of raving reviews on Amazon (See them)


The Tenth Good Thing About Barney-Judith Viorst

This is a great story for children grieving the loss of a loved one (father, mother, relative, or even a pet).

In this story, a child’s most loved cat-Barney- dies so the little boy is very sad and cries hopelessly.

The mom at some point asks the boy to think of 10 nice things to say about his cat.

He is a wise boy and he manages to say nine things.

Then his father chips in and talks about what will happen to Barney after being buried as the 10th thing.

This gave the little boy a new understanding of what passing on means.

It is likely to do the same to your toddler if you’re struggling to speak to them about the recent loss of a dear one.

Check it out

The Dead Bird-Margaret Wise Brown/ Christian Robinson

This gorgeously-illustrated book tells the story of kids who found a dead bird.

Upon the heart-breaking discovery, the kids carried it to the woods and buried it.

They then covered the grave with woods and flowers and finally placed a rock.

The quarter made these writings on the rock: ‘here lies a bird that is dead’.

It does not end there- they united after many days and put fresh flowers and sang songs.

I should add that the story is so sweet and super easy for a kiddo as young as 3-years to understand

Check it out


Books about death for toddlers -Final words

Death is unavoidable, and worst of all, death never chooses who it will happen to (it happens to anyone) regardless of age and gender.

Of course, the hard part is explaining death to a toddler and that’s where the above books about death for toddlers come in.

Check them out (I have added the links to them) and go for the book that you feel will do the trick.


Books to explain death to a child- 10 insightful books 

Helping a child deal with death of a parent- useful tips and strategies


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