books about grief for teens and young adults
teenager reading about bereavement

Books can help young people process their feelings after bereavement. Stories and other written resources can also open up conversations with teenagers about death and dying.

We’ve picked some of our favourite books which are specifically designed to support adolescents and teenagers during periods of loss.

Out Of The Blue by Julie Stokes and Paul Oxley

Out of the Blue is an activity book which has been developed to support grieving teenagers. It talks openly about the feelings they may be struggling with, using words and stories from teens who have been through similar experiences.

The concept is to provide practical activity-based material to help young people work through their emotions whilst reinforcing the sense that they are not alone. The book is designed so that it can be completed by the teenager on their own or with a family member or professional. The focus is very much on making memories when someone dies.

Buy Out of the Blue

What On Earth Do You Do When Someone Dies? By Trevor Romain

‘The author wrote this book after his father died. It is gently written and is accessible for children from the age of 8 to young teens. Using simple language and illustrations, it suggests the emotions a young person may be feeling and offers ideas about what to do to feel better. Throughout the book it offers answers to questions such as ‘Why do people have to die?’ and ‘How can I say goodbye?’

Buy What on Earth do you do when Someone Dies

The Year Of The Rat by Clare Furniss

When 15-year-old Pearl’s mum dies giving birth to her baby sister, she has to cope with both the grief of losing a parent and the distress of having a constant reminder of her death, in the form of the baby which she refers to as ‘the Rat’. Pearl deals with death, life, and family in this poignant and bittersweet novel. This book was shortlisted for the Branford Boase prize and longlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal.

Buy The Year of the Rat

Sad Book by Michael Rosen

This is a tender and honest account of a father’s grief for his son from two former Children’s Laureates, writer Michael Rosen and illustrator Quentin Blake. Michael Rosen talks about his sadness after the death of his son in a personal story that is suited to teens and adults.

Buy Sad Book

Sometimes Life Sucks: When someone you love dies by Molly Carlisle

Teenagers can face all sorts of experiences of loss, from the death of a grandparent, pet or school friend to a teen fatality, a peer with terminal illness or living without a parent. It may even be the death of a celebrity or someone they knew online. This book is full of helpful stories, tips and information that will help teens navigate all kinds of loss.

Buy Sometimes Life Sucks

Still Here With Me: Teenagers and Children on Losing a Parent by Suzanne Sjoqvist

This sensitive anthology is made up of the experiences of children and young people who talk about their own feelings following the death of a parent. Describing the pain, loss and anger as well as their struggles to cope with other people’s reactions, this is a a book that doesn’t shy away from taboo experiences. It deals with all kinds of deaths, including heart attacks, addiction, domestic violence, natural disaster and war.

Buy Still Here with Me

You Will be Okay by Julie Stokes

The death of a parent, sibling or friend is one of the most traumatic experiences a child or young person will face. This honest, comforting and strength-building guide is ideally suited to 9 – 12 year-olds and is written by Julie Stokes, a clinical psychologist and founder of childhood bereavement charity Winston’s Wish. It includes stories of people who have been through grief and looks at ways to develop confidence, trust, grit, a resilient mindset and flexible feelings.

Buy You Will be Okay

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

This bestselling novel about love, loss and hope is aimed at children with a reading age of 11 and above.  It tells the story of Conor, who is dealing with his single mother’s ongoing treatment for cancer. It is a valuable read for older children and teens who may be struggling to come to terms with life’s most difficult times.

Buy A Monster Calls

When Shadows Fall by Sita Brachmachari

With a recommended Reading age of 13 -16 years, this book tells the story of Kai, Orla and Zak who grew up together. They are bound together by music, laughter, friendship and big plans for their future. All this is thrown into the air when Kai’s family suffers a huge loss. Trying to cope with his own grief, as well as watching it tear his family apart, Kai is drawn into a new and more dangerous crowd. Orla, Zak and new classmate Om try to help him find his way back, but are they too late?

Buy When Shadows Fall

You might also be interested in reading our blog Books to Help a Grieving Child which has reading suggestions for younger children to support them through bereavement and open up conversations about death and loss. 

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