I’ve noticed a lot of picture books geared toward helping kids deal with the loss of a pet within the past few months. A pet’s death is often the first loss of a loved one a child experiences, and guiding them through it can be difficult and fraught with potential missteps. The authors of these books tackle the subject in a few different ways, whether that’s through straightforward, honest, comforting text, or more roundabout child-friendly metaphors that help kids work through their grief. I’ve focused this booklist on recently and soon to be published titles from 2017 to 2020.
Henry and Bea have always been inseparable…until one day Henry suddenly stops talking to Bea. He won’t chat with her in class, and he won’t sit with her at lunch. Bea can tell something’s going on, and she’s determined to find out what it is.
Then their teacher announces that the class is taking a field trip to a farm, and Bea hopes that this might be her chance to reconnect with Henry. When Henry finds an old cat collar at the farm and starts to cry, he finally reveals his secret to Bea: his cat Buddy died last week.
And even though it’s hard for them both, Bea knows that she’ll be there for Henry, as his best friend, no matter what.
From award-winning author/illustrator Jessixa Bagley comes a realistic and ultimately uplifting portrayal of the challenges of childhood friendship.
This year’s summer vacation will be very different for a young girl and her family without Sascha, the beloved family dog, along for the ride. But a wistful walk along the beach to gather cool, polished stones becomes a brilliant turning point in the girl’s grief. There, at the edge of a vast ocean beneath an infinite sky, she uncovers, alongside the reader, a profound and joyous truth. In his first picture book following the conclusion of his best-selling Journey trilogy, Aaron Becker achieves a tremendous feat, connecting the private, personal loss of one child to a cycle spanning millennia — and delivering a stunningly layered tale that demands to be pored over again and again.
Paws is tired. He just wants to rest. And to dream about the days when he used to chase rabbits. He still walks with Edward to the park twice a day, but only because Edward needs the fresh air. Until one day, Paws decides he doesn’t want to go for another walk. He just wants to lie in Edward’s bed. Paws has walked and walked. His paws are heavy. Paws doesn’t have to walk anymore. Paws doesn’t have to do anything anymore. And Paws falls asleep one last time, leaving Edward to dream of the days when Paws used to chase rabbits.
“When our pets aren’t with us anymore, an Invisible Leash connects our hearts to each other. Forever.” That’s what Zack’s friend Emily tells him after his dog dies. Zack doesn’t believe it. He only believes in what he can see. But on an enlightening journey through their neighborhood–and through his grief–he comes to feel the comforting tug of the Invisible Leash. And it feels like love.
Accompanied by tender, uplifting art by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff, bestselling author Patrice Karst’s gentle story uses the same bonding technique from her classic book The Invisible String to help readers through the experience of the loss of a beloved animal.
It’s painful when children lose their pets, and The End of Something Wonderful helps them handle their feelings when they can’t find the right words. In a warm, understanding, sometimes funny way, it explains how to plan a backyard funeral to say goodbye, from choosing a box and a burial spot to giving a eulogy. Most of all, it reassures kids that it’s not the end of everything . . . and that Something Wonderful can happen again.
Where Lily Isn’t is Julie Paschkis and Margaret Chodos-Irvine’s beautiful bereavement picture book celebrating the love of a lost pet.
Lily ran and jumped and barked and whimpered and growled and wiggled and wagged and licked and snuggled.
But not now.
It is hard to lose a pet. There is sadness, but also hope–for a beloved pet lives on in your heart, your memory, and your imagination.
Margot is sad because her beloved pet, Tim, has died.
She and her friends band together to give him a proper sendoff. Melinda brings her French horn. Vincent brings balloons. Otto wears his best hat. When all gather together, they celebrate Tim’s beautiful, simple life as they send him on a surprising farewell journey to a special place above the mountains and beyond the clouds.
And Margot has a feeling that Tim is happy once again.
This tender story from Steven Salerno also features his beautiful illustrations, with a simple color palette and classic feel. Tim’s Goodbye is sure to strike a chord with readers who have experienced a difficult farewell.
In Cyparissus there is a little dog who gets lost in a park, a sleeping rabbit, a horse up in the clouds, and a bird setting off on a long, long journey.
In Cyparissus there is Irene playing jump rope, George looking up at the sky, Molly who has bad dreams, and Danny carrying a backpack full of T-shirts.
In Cyparissus there are four winds and a tree—the tallest tree in the whole city—and it’s crying…
In this poignant story, a family grieves the loss of their beloved dog, Scout. There’s pouring rain when Scout dies, and the sky looks like it’s never seen the sun. Even so, Scout’s family begins the terrible task of burying her. Then Little Brother hears the thunder rumble and realizes it sounds just like Scout growling at the mail carrier. He starts wondering where Scout is now—if she has food to eat, pigeons to chase, sticks to fetch. And his search for answers helps the whole family find a sense of peace.
This powerful story will resonate with any reader who has loved and lost a pet.
Part creation myth, part fairy tale, The Day We Lost Pet tells the story of a family that comes together to mourn the death of their beloved Pet. These endearing balloon characters harness the language of poetry, science, and nature in order to understand of of life’s most difficult moments.