Navigating Grief

Navigating Grief:

Books to Help Children Understand the Loss of a Grandparent

The loss of a grandparent marks a profound moment in a child’s life, often introducing them to the complexities of grief for the first time. For those navigating this delicate journey alongside a young one, finding the right resources to aid their understanding and healing is paramount. Literature can serve as a gentle guide through the maze of emotions, offering comfort and comprehension in a way that is accessible to young minds. Walter Carter Funerals, with a longstanding commitment to supporting families in all aspects of grief, recommends a selection of thoughtfully chosen books designed to help children cope with the loss of a grandparent.

Understanding Children’s Grief

Children process loss differently at various stages of development, and their understanding of death evolves as they grow. Young children may not grasp the permanence of death, while older children can experience a deep sense of sorrow and loss. Regardless of their age, children need support, reassurance, and the opportunity to express their feelings in a safe environment.

Books can be remarkable bridges, connecting the child’s experience of loss with the universal truths about love, memory, and the cycle of life. Through stories, children find characters they can relate to, situations that mirror their own, and outcomes that offer hope.

1.”The Heart and the Bottle” by Oliver Jeffers

This poignant story deals with loss and the protective walls we build around our hearts to avoid pain. It’s a beautiful metaphor for children and adults alike, illustrating the importance of remaining open to feeling, even in the face of loss.

2.”Grandad’s Island” by Benji Davies

With warmth and gentle humour, this book addresses the concept of saying goodbye to a loved one. It navigates the themes of loss and remembrance through a story that is both engaging and uplifting, making it easier for children to understand and cope with their feelings.

3.”Badger’s Parting Gifts” by Susan Varley

This classic book explores the impact of a loved one’s life through the memories they leave behind. It’s a tender explanation of death that focuses on the joy of memories and how they can help us cope with grief.

4.”The Invisible String” by Patrice Karst

Focusing on the concept that love connects us even when we are apart, this book is a comforting resource for children dealing with any form of separation or loss. It’s a simple yet powerful tool for explaining the enduring nature of love.

5. “Goodbye Grandpa” by Jelleke Rijken

Specifically addressing the loss of a grandfather, this book is a practical and comforting guide for children. Through its story, it offers children a way to understand their grief and find ways to remember and honour their grandparents.

Facilitating Healing Through Reading

Sharing these books with a grieving child provides more than just a storytime; it’s an opportunity for healing and dialogue. Here are a few tips for maximising the benefits of reading these books together:

  • Open Dialogue: Use the stories as a starting point to encourage children to express their feelings and share their memories of their grandparent.
  • Creative Expression: Engage in activities related to the book, such as drawing scenes or writing letters to the grandparent, to help children articulate their grief creatively.
  • Reassurance: Emphasise the message that feeling sad is okay and that love continues despite physical absence.


The journey through grief is deeply personal and can be particularly bewildering for children. Through the thoughtful selection of books, Walter Carter Funerals aims to provide families with resources that offer comfort and understanding during these challenging times. By addressing the loss of a grandparent with sensitivity and compassion, these books can help children navigate their grief, ensuring they know they are not alone in their feelings. In the gentle narratives of these stories, there is a powerful message of hope and the enduring nature of love, offering a beacon of light in the process of healing.

The information on this website is not a substitute for medical advice, nor is it used for diagnosis and treatment. You, or anyone you are concerned about, are encouraged to seek professional advice and treatment from General Practitioners and/or qualified practitioners and providers in specific cases of need.  

If you are in crisis or think you may have an emergency, immediately call Emergency 000. If you’re having thoughts of self-harm or harm to others call Lifeline on 13 11 23 to talk to a skilled, trained counsellor. If you are located outside Australia, contact your local emergency line directly.