Badger’s Parting Gifts (1984)61w09uDLIkL

by Susan Varley (Author/Illustrator) blurb:  Badger’s friends are sad when he dies but treasure the memories he left them.

Grade level: Kindergarten to 3

Boats for Papa (2015)

by Jessixa Bagley (Author/Illustrator)51Ca05WbjnL._SY401_BO1,204,203,200_ blurb:  Buckley and his Mama live in a cozy cabin by the ocean. He loves to carve boats out of the driftwood he finds on the beach nearby.
He makes: big boats, long boats, short boats and tall boats, each one more beautiful than the last, and sends them out to sea. If they don’t come back, he knows they’ve found their way to his papa, whom he misses very much.

Grade level:  Preschool to 2

City Dog Country Frog (2010)

by Mo Willems (Author), Jon J Muth (Illustrator)51Ba5+GRnsL._SY495_BO1,204,203,200_ blurb:  In spring, when City Dog runs free in the country for the first time, he spots Country Frog sitting on a rock, waiting for a friend. “You’ll do,” Frog says, and together they play Country Frog games. In summer, they meet again and play City Dog games. Through the seasons, whenever City Dog visits the country he runs straight for Country Frog’s rock. In winter, things change for City Dog and Country Frog. Come spring, friendship blooms again, a little different this time.

Grade level:  Preschool to Kindergarten

Cry Heart But Never Break (2016) 51nF4FEFMFL

by Glenn Ringtved (Author), Charlotte Pardi (Illustrator), Robert Moulthrop (Translator) blurb:  Aware their grandmother is gravely ill, four siblings make a pact to keep death from taking her away. But Death does arrive all the same, as it must. He comes gently, naturally. And he comes with enough time to share a story with the children that helps them to realize the value of loss to life and the importance of being able to say goodbye.  see website Cry Heart But Never Break

Grade level:  Preschool to 3

Farewell Grandpa Elephant: What Happens When a Loved One Dies ? (2012)

by Isabel Abedi (Author), Miriam Cordes (Illustrator)51c4b5YmSqL  Grandpa Elephant knows that it is his time to go to the elephant graveyard, and so he begins his farewell to his grandchildren. The young elephants are confused, but they soon realize that although there is sadness, the mystery of death holds countless possibilities. Maybe Grandpa Elephant will go to heaven and walk on clouds, or maybe he will come back to earth in a new form. Even he does not know. Though the little elephants will never see Grandpa Elephant again, they learn that he will live on in their thoughts and dreams.

Grade level:  Preschool to Kindergarten


The Heart and the Bottle (2010)

by Oliver Jeffers blurb:  There is a wonder and magic to childhood. We don’t realize it at the time, of course . . . yet the adults in our lives do. They encourage us to see things in the stars, to find joy in colors and laughter as we play.

But what happens when that special someone who encourages such wonder and magic is no longer around? We can hide, we can place our heart in a bottle and grow up . . . or we can find another special someone who understands the magic. And we can encourage them to see things in the stars, find joy among colors and laughter as they play.

Grade level:  Preschool to 3

The Memory String (2000)61Z9-k3BJxL._AC_US160_

by Eve Bunting (Author), Ted Rand (Illustrator)  Each button on Laura’s memory string represents a piece of her family history. The buttons Laura cherishes the most belonged to her mother—a button from her prom dress, a white one off her wedding dress, and a single small button from the nightgown she was wearing on the day she died. When the string breaks, Laura’s new stepmother, Jane, is there to comfort Laura and search for a missing button, just as Laura’s mother would have done. But it’s not the same—Jane isn’t Mom. In Eve Bunting’s moving story, beautifully illustrated by Ted Rand, Laura discovers that a memory string is not just for remembering the past: it’s also for recording new memories.

Grade level:  Preschool to 3


My Father’s Arms Are a Boat (2013)

by Stein Erik Lunde (Author), Oyvind Torseter (Illustrator),  Kari Dickson (Translator) blurb:  It’s quieter than it’s ever been. Unable to sleep, a young boy climbs into his father’s arms. Feeling the warmth and closeness of his father, he begins to ask questions about the birds, the foxes, and whether his mom will ever wake up. They go outside under the starry sky. Loss and love are as present as the white spruces, while the father’s clear answers and assurances calm his worried son. Here we feel the cycles of life and life’s continuity, even in the face of absence and loss, so strongly and clearly that we know at the end that everything will, somehow, be all right.

Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs (1973)

by Tomie dePaolo51TO+2krbjL._AC_US160_.jpg blurb:  Tommy is four years old, and he loves visiting the home of his grandmother, Nana Downstairs, and his great-grandmother, Nana Upstairs. But one day Tommy’s mother tells him Nana Upstairs won’t be there anymore, and Tommy must struggle with saying good-bye to someone he loves.

Grade level:  Preschool to 3

The Scar (2011)

by Charlotte Moundlic (Author), Olivier Tallec (Illustrator)418+fNGPXYL._SX419_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg blurb:  When the boy in this story wakes to find that his mother has died, he is overwhelmed with sadness, anger, and fear that he will forget her. He shuts all the windows to keep in his mother’s familiar smell and scratches open the cut on his knee to remember her comforting voice. He doesn’t know how to speak to his dad anymore, and when Grandma visits and throws open the windows, it’s more than the boy can take–until his grandmother shows him another way to feel that his mom’s love is near. With tenderness, touches of humor, and unflinching emotional truth, Charlotte Moundlic captures the loneliness of grief through the eyes of a child, rendered with sympathy and charm in Olivier Tallec’s expressive illustrations.

Grade level:  Kindergarten to 4