This list includes books and resources for adults supporting bereaved children and families, including those with special educational and additional needs.  It also includes a section on managing different emotions and feelings. 

See also our separate list of books and resources for children and young people.

For further help in finding resources, email [email protected] or call our Helpline on 0800 02 888 40.

Please note: inclusion on this list does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement by Child Bereavement UK, as we are aware that whether a book is helpful or not is subjective and as such is a decision that can only be made by the individual reader.

When your partner dies: Supporting your children

Child Bereavement UK

A short booklet which offers guidance for a surviving partner when parenting their bereaved children as well as coping with their own grief. It was developed with help from bereaved families and was originally funded by BBC Children in Need. Also useful for GP surgeries, Health visitors etc.

Download a copy here

Children, Grief and Creativity (with Julia Samuel MBE)

A short animated film Click here to watch on YouTube.

This film offers practical advice on ways to support bereaved children and suggests that creativity can help them process their loss. It is enriched by the wisdom and words of psychotherapist Julia Samuel MBE, Founder Patron of Child Bereavement UK and bestselling author, and the research of Lesel Dawson, an Associate Professor at the University of Bristol. It is animated by Gary Andrews (@GaryScribbler), creator of ‘Doodle-a-Day’ and Finding Joy, a collection of illustrations documenting his life with his two children after his wife, Joy, suddenly died from sepsis. Gary’s children, Lily and Ben, feature in the film. Rachel Hare was the Research Associate on this project and the film was funded by the Brigstow Institute, University of Bristol.

You Just Don’t Understand: Supporting bereaved teenagers

Helen Mackinnon

The transition from childhood to adulthood can be a challenging process at the best of times. This booklet aims to help you understand what is normal adolescent development, and to recognise the additional problems teenagers may face if someone important dies during these years.

Buy from Amazon

Tough Stuff Journal - Someone has died

Pete English

Designed in free form for a bereaved young person to work through on their own or with a trusted adult, this journal asks questions and invites the young person to express feelings and emotions that are otherwise difficult to articulate. Useful for schools, youth leaders, parents or anyone working with a bereaved child or young person from 9 to 13 years old.

Available to buy from

Someone Very Important Has Just Died: Immediate Help for People Caring for Children of All Ages at the Time of a Close Bereavement 

Mary Turner

This short book tackles the sensitive issues of what to tell children, how far to include them in the events immediately after the death, and how to tend to their physical and emotional needs. The material is suitable for anyone regardless of their background and beliefs, and is supplemented with information on where to go to obtain longer term bereavement support.

Buy from Amazon

Talking About Death: A Dialogue Between Parent and Child

Earl Grollman

This guide to helping children cope with death includes an illustrated, read-along story, and discusses coping with a child’s anger, denial or guilt, and how to discuss funerals, cemeteries and grief.

Buy from Amazon

Grief in Children: A Handbook for Adults

Atle Dyregov

This fully updated second edition of “Grief in Children” explains children’s understanding of death at different ages and gives a detailed outline of exactly how the adults around them can best help them cope.

Buy from Amazon

The Little Book of Bereavement for Schools

Ian Gilbert

A short, personal account of the way various schools tried to support the author’s three children after the death of their mother.  A book for a parent to take into any school which is seeking to support grieving pupils. It opens with a brief 15-point guide which would be a helpful starting point.

Buy from Amazon

Supporting Teenagers Through Grief And Loss: Practical Ideas & Creative Approaches

Anna Jacobs

A wealth of advice and helpful suggestions for those helping children through bereavement and loss. This book gives an overview of different behaviours you may encounter in school and how to respond, as well as discussing questions children may ask and how to answer them. Children's understanding of death varies according to stage of development and the author provides guidance on age-appropriate, honest responses along with a toolkit of creative and arts activities to help children examine and understand their emotions, physical feelings and memories.

Buy from Amazon

Feelings and Emotions

The Huge Bag of Worries

Virginia Ironside

The usually happy Jenny has started to have lots of worries until they grow into a huge bag of worries that follow her everywhere. They are there when she goes swimming, when she is watching TV, and even when she is in the lavatory. Jenny decides they will have to go. But who can help her?

Buy from Amazon

Silly Billy

Anthony Browne

Billy is a bit of a worrier. He worries so much he can’t sleep. Luckily Grandma knows just what he needs to help him overcome his fears. And once Billy learns Grandma’s secret, he finds he never has to worry again.

Buy from Amazon

What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety

Dawn Huebner 

This book guides children and parents through the cognitive-behavioural techniques most often used in the treatment of anxiety. Lively metaphors and illustrations make the concepts and strategies easy to understand, which clear how-to steps and prompts do draw and write help children master new skills related to reducing anxiety.

Buy from Amazon

Relax Kids: Aladdin’s Magic Carpet and other Fairytale Medications for Children

Marneta Viegas

Using well-known and loved fairy tales, this publication is a gentle and fun way of introducing children to the world of meditation and relaxation. It is designed to counteract some of the tensions with which we are all familiar at the end of a busy day, and offers parents and children together some quality time to relax and share.

Buy from Amazon

A Nifflenoo Called Nevermind

Margot Sunderland

Nevermind always carries on whatever happens! Each time something horrible happens to him he just tucks his feelings away and carries on with life. Find out what happens to Nevermind and how he begins to understand that his feelings do matter, how he learns to express them and stand up for himself.

Buy from Amazon

How Hattie Hated Kindness

Margot Sunderland

This is a story for children locked in rage or hate. Hattie lives by herself on an island. She likes anything hard and spiky. Lots of people try to bring kindness to Hattie on her island, but each time she is very horrid to them, so after a while they all stop coming to the island. Hattie is very alone. But the lapping-water-over-her-toes helps Hattie to understand that because she'd been a very sad and frightened little girl in a too hard world, she had become hard too, so that the awful fear and the awful pain would go away. In the end, Hattie builds a bridge to the warm and cosy world across the water.

Buy from Amazon

A Volcano in My Tummy: Helping Children to Handle Anger

Éliane Whitehouse and Warwick Pudney

This book presents a clear and effective approach to helping children and adults alike understand and deal constructively with children's anger. By carefully distinguishing between anger the feeling, and violence the behaviour, this accessible book, primarily created for ages 6 to thirteen, helps to create an awareness of anger, enabling children to relate creatively and harmoniously at critical stages in their development. Through activities, stories, articles, and, A Volcano in My Tummy gives the tools needed to put aside our problems with this all-too-often destructive emotion, and to have fun while we're at it.

Buy from Amazon

The Red Beast: Controlling Anger in Children with Asperger's Syndrome

K.I. Al-Ghani

Although written for children with Asperger’s syndrome, this book has been helpful for other children, young people and even adults who struggle with anger.

This vibrant fully illustrated children's storybook is written for children aged 5+ but can also be helpful for older children and young people, and is an accessible, fun way to talk about anger, with useful tips about how to 'tame the red beast' and guidance for parents on how anger affects children.

Buy from Amazon

A Terrible Thing Happened

Margaret M Holmes

Sherman saw the most terrible thing happen. At first he tried to forget about it, but soon something inside him started to bother him. He felt nervous for no reason. Sometimes his stomach hurt. He had bad dreams. And he started to feel angry and do mean things, which got him in trouble. Then he met Ms. Maple, who helped him talk about the terrible thing that he had tried to forget. Now Sherman is feeling much better.

This gently told and tenderly illustrated story is for children who have witnessed any kind of violent or traumatic episode, including physical abuse, school or gang violence, accidents, homicide, suicide, and natural disasters such as floods or fire.

An afterword by Sasha J. Mudlaff written for parents and other caregivers offers extensive suggestions for helping traumatized children, including a list of other sources that focus on specific events.

Buy from Amazon

Why Do We Have to Move?

Joy O'Neill

Written to support any child worried about moving, especially for families in the Armed Forces.

Buy from Amazon

Culture and beliefs

Caring for Dying People of Different Faiths

Julia Neuberger

Now in its third edition this book covers the practical and ethical issues surrounding caring for people with different faiths. It outlines the various cultures of Jewish, Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist faiths, which are of relevance to health and healthcare, and gives practical advice on providing care in a culturally appropriate manner. Considerably expanded and now including a new chapter on Humanism, it will be essential reading for all healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and other hospital and hospice staff treating people with different faiths.

Palliative Care for South Asians: Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs: A Practical Guide

Rashid Gatrad, Erica Brown and Aziz Sheikh

This book aims to describe the needs of palliative care patients from south Asia minority ethnic and faith traditions. Chapters include: Understanding diversity in context, Palliative care needs of south Asians – similarities and differences; Muslims; Hindus; Language of religious symbolism.

Buy from Amazon

We Need to Talk About the Funeral: 101 Practical Ways to Commemorate and Celebrate Life

Simon Smith and Jane Morell 

This book informs about the wide choices available when arranging a funeral. It offers guidance about how to make a funeral ceremony that both commemorates and celebrates a life, and provides comfort, inspiration and good memories.

Buy from Amazon

Special educational and additional needs

A Special Kind of Grief

Sarah Helton

Children with SEND (special educational needs and disabilities), especially those in special schools, often experience grief at a much younger age than others, as some of their peers are more likely to have life-limiting medical conditions. This book provides all the resources that educational professionals need to ensure their community is fully prepared to acknowledge and support pupil bereavement and loss.

Buy from Amazon

Remembering Lucy: A Story about Loss and Grief in School

Sarah Helton

This touching short story will help children with SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) aged 3+ understand feelings caused by death and loss, and the illustrations help convey the complex experience of bereavement in a simple and clear way. Included is a teacher’s guide to talking about bereavement, grief and loss, making this the ideal aid for teachers and support staff at SEND schools and colleges.

Buy from Amazon

Interventions with Bereaved Children

Smith and Pennells   

A resource with lots of practical ideas. Twenty contributors share effective ways of supporting and helping bereaved children. Chapter 13 is titled, “Helping Families and Professionals to Work with Children who have Learning Difficulties.”

Buy from Amazon

Autism and Loss

R V Forrester-Jones

“Autism and Loss” is a complete resource that covers a variety of kinds of loss, including bereavement. It includes factsheets and practical ideas which families and professional carers may find useful.

Buy from Amazon

Finding Your Own Way to Grieve

Karla Helbert 

A creative activity workbook for grieving children and teens on the Autistic Spectrum. The clear concise language will help adults communicate with children around the abstract concepts of death and grief.

Buy from Amazon

Let's Talk About Death

Down’s Syndrome Scotland

A booklet about death and funerals for young people and adults who have a learning disability. Includes some simple text on why people die, what happens at funerals and possible grief reactions. Photographs support the text.

Download from Down's Syndrome Scotland

When Mum Died

Hollins and Sireling

This book takes an honest and straightforward approach to death and grief in the family. The pictures tell the death of a parent in a simple but moving way. “When Mum Died” shows a burial. The approach is non-denominational. Suitable for young people and adults with a learning disability.

Buy from Books Beyond Words

When Dad Died

Hollins and Sireling

This book take an honest and straightforward approach to death and grief in the family. The pictures tell the death of a parent in a simple but moving way. The approach is non-denominational. Suitable for young people and adults with a learning disability.

Buy from Books Beyond Words

When Somebody Dies

Hollins and Sireling    

Using pictures, the book tells the story of Mary who is very upset when someone she loves dies. She is encouraged by a friend to go to regular bereavement counselling sessions, which help her to feel less sad. John also loses someone he is close to. He is given comfort and companionship by friends and is shown learning to cope better with life. Suitable for young people and adults with a learning disability.

Buy from Books Beyond Words