The Longest Shortest Time

Picture Books: To Help Kids Understand Death

In our latest episode, Sarah Troop of The Order of the Good Death, had some great ideas for helping our kids (and ourselves!) grapple with the scariness of death and loss. Sarah was a preschool and kindergarten teacher for well over a decade, and I asked her to tell us her favorite picture books for engaging with kids on death questions. I’ll let Sarah take it from here. —HF

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Peach and Blue by Sarah Kilbourne
There are so many important things to take away from this exceptional book, including making the most of our time together. Plus, the illustrations are beautiful.


The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers
This moving book reminds both adults and children that if we ignore or push aside our feelings of loss and grief, we are also pushing aside our capacity for living. Although there’s nothing better than reading a book with someone you love, the app created for it is pretty outstanding. Here’s a preview:


Rosita y Conchita by Erich Haeger and Eric Gonzalez
This book not only addresses the loss of a sibling but how we can continue to foster our connection to the deceased through all sorts of meaningful rituals, as demonstrated in the practices of Dia de Los Muertos.


Duck, Death and the Tulip by Wolf Erlbruch
A rare book that helps both child and adult alike begin to come to terms with mortality told through a friendship between a duck and Death. —ST

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What are YOUR favorite kids’ books on death and loss?
Add ’em below! Would especially love to see more from other cultures.