This list covers books and resources for children and families affected by a sudden or unexpected death, including accidents, suicide and homicide. 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.

If you purchase from Amazon via the hyperlinks below, Child Bereavement UK will receive a small commission from Amazon. It will not affect your purchase price, and your support enables us to support more bereaved families. Thank you.

Coping with grief when someone you love dies suddenly

Available from Brake - the road safety charity

This free booklet aims to help you understand emotions and feelings commonly suffered after a sudden death. It provides straightforward advice on how to cope and who can help you to recover.


Someone has died suddenly

Author: Mary Williams and Steve Fraser   Buy from Brake

This colourful book, prepared in partnership with bereavement specialists, is for suddenly bereaved children and adults to read together. It helps children understand their strong feelings and gives suggestions to help them cope. It provides straightforward information about practical things that happen after a sudden death, such as a post-mortem examination. Included are tips for adults on how to use the book with young children.


When Something Terrible Happens

Marge Heegaard

Terrible things happen to children. Traumatic events in the lives of their families, their friends or in the world leave then feeling confused, insecure and frightened. There are floods, earthquakes, and sometimes people cause violence and trauma. This is a workbook designed to help children understand and deal with overwhelming feelings from loss and change.

Buy from Amazon


Road traffic collision

Someone has died in a road crash

Author: Mary Williams OBE and Caroline Chisholm   Buy from Brake

Two young characters, who have been bereaved by a road crash, narrate the colourful book by giving caring and helpful tips. Tackling all the tough questions that children may want to ask, the book deals with the crash itself, funerals, police investigation and the possible emotions a child may experience.


Suicide

Red Chocolate Elephants: For children bereaved by suicide - Book & DVD 

Author: Diana C.Sands    Available from Child Bereavement UK

Provides adults with the understanding and assistance to support primary school aged children experiencing the death of a family member to suicide. It is not intended for children to read on their own, but as an assisted reading activity with an adult, reading a few pages and taking the time to explore concerns. Provides a sensitive and appropriate means of engaging with children around the difficult question of death through suicide.


The Little Flower Bulb

Author: Eleanor Gormally   Buy from Amazon

The Little Flower Bulb tells the story of Jamie, his mum and his twin sisters, and of how Jamie comes to deal with the death of his father. Suitable for children aged 3-8, this beautifully illustrated book will be helpful for parents when talking to children bereaved by the suicide of a close relative.


Luna’s Red Hat

Author: Emmi Smid    Buy from Amazon

This book tells the story of Luna, whose mum died by suicide one year ago and she still finds it difficult to understand why. Dad talks to her and explains what happened, and together they think about all the happy memories they have of Mum. This book is designed to be read with children age 6+ who have experienced the loss of a loved one by suicide. It includes a guide for parents and professionals.


Beyond the Rough Rock: Supporting a Child Who Has Been Bereaved Through Suicide

Authors: Di Stubbs and Julie Stokes   Buy from Amazon

This booklet offers practical advice for families in the immediate days and weeks when suicide has been the cause of death. It aims to give parents and professionals the confidence to involve children in discussions about the nature of a death by suicide.


After a Suicide: A Workbook for Grieving Kids

Author: Dougy Centre   Buy from Amazon

In this hands-on, interactive workbook, children who have been exposed to a suicide can learn from other grieving kids. The workbook includes drawing activities, puzzles, stories, advice from other kids and helpful suggestions for how to navigate the grief process after a suicide death.


A Special Scar: The Experiences of People Bereaved by Suicide

Author: Alison Wertheimer   Buy from Amazon

Written and researched by a bereaved sibling, this book covers the losses of siblings, parents, children and friends.


Help is at hand: A resource for people bereaved by suicide and other sudden, traumatic death

Author: Department of Health   Download from the Department of Health

This free guide is for people who are affected by suicide or other sudden, traumatic death. It aims firstly to help people who are unexpectedly bereaved in this way. It also provides information for healthcare and other professionals who come into contact with bereaved people, to assist them in providing help and to suggest how they themselves may find support if they need it.


Murder and manslaughter

Hope Beyond the Headlines: Supporting a Child Bereaved through Murder or Manslaughter

Authors: Di Stubbs and Kate Gardner   Buy from Amazon

This new book offers practical advice for families in the immediate days, weeks and months following a murder. It is written for both parents and professionals, giving them confidence to involve children and young people in understanding and managing the particular difficulties and complexities that so often surround a death by murder or manslaughter.


After a Murder: A Workbook for Grieving Kids

Author: Dougy Centre   Buy from Amazon

Through the stories, thoughts and feelings of other kids who have experienced a murder, this hands-on workbook allows children to see that they are not alone in their feelings and experiences. The workbook includes drawing activities, puzzles and word games to help explain confusing elements specific to a murder, such as the police, media and legal system.


A Grief Like No Other: Surviving the Violent Death of Someone you Love

Kathleen O’Hara        

Violent death brings to survivors a different kind of grief. From intense feelings of guilt, anger and post-traumatic stress, to years spent dealing with the legal ramifications, those left behind in the wake of violence have to contend with unique circumstances that are different from a “natural” death.

Buy from Amazon