Updated: Jan 8, 2021
Grief books may not work for everyone, however, reading the words of others who have lost loved ones can be both helpful and cathartic. When you think about the amount of people who have read these same words, felt these same feelings, and related to the same sentiment within these books, it can be quite powerful.
Stories about Grief
The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion
The Year of Magical Thinking explores the loss and struggle of mourning the loss of a husband, and the impact loss has on a family. Didion has garnered the attention of many readers who have gone through the loss of a spouse.
A Grief Observed, by C.S. Lewis
C.S.Lewis wrote, A Grief Observed, after the loss of his wife. His work takes on the difficulties that grief has on ones beliefs and shaken core of any bereaver. Lewis' work is authentic and beautifully written, and investigates the torture that comes from loss.
Bearing the Unbearable, by Joanne Cacciatore
Bereavement educator, Cacciatore, breaks down the unbearable pain of loss in 52 short chapters that cover her own experiences with grief, as well as, the experiences of others she has connected with. Cacciatore helps the reader to accept their grief in honor of their lost love.
Beyond Tears: Living After Losing a Child, by Ellen Mitchell and nine bereaved mothers
Beyond Tears, is meant for any parent who has lost a child. It's one of, if not the most tragic and difficult losses anyone can go through. Nine courageous bereaved mothers share their experiences with losing a child--a vital read for any bereaved parent.
A Broken Heart Still Beats: After Your Child Dies, by Anne McCracken and Mary Semel
A Broken Heart Still Beats, is a collection of essays, poetry, and fiction that can help bereaved parents through the most difficult time of losing a child. Reading the words of others who have gone through this horrible loss, can provide comfort and help you cope with the never ending feelings of grief.
Dear Darkness:Poems, by Kevin Young
Accomplished poet, Kevin Young, provides a dark yet comforting collection of poems that he wrote after the sudden loss of his father. A much less direct approach to tackling grief, but one that can allow you to absorb pain through a quick more abstract read--this book of poems shows how any memory, of food, etc. can lead you to memories of your lost loved ones.
Modern Loss: Candid Conversation About Grief, by Rebecca Sofer and Gabrielle Birkner (Young Adult)
Modern Loss, inspired by the website of the same name, uses the age of social media to talk about grief. With excerpts from many well known contributors, they discuss and write about loss and pain through unique perspectives and topics. This books can help young adults and teens tackle the enormity of these feelings in well direct way.
Goodbye Days, by Jeff Zentner (Young Adult)
Jeff Zentner uses Goodbye Days to tackle the guilt that can come with grief. Grief guilt, which many times is unwarranted, can affect young adults greatly during loss. Zentner tackles this difficult subject in a fictional novel that would be good for high school aged readers going through or who have experienced loss.
The Invisible String, by Patrice Karst (for Children)
A best selling grief book for children, The Invisible String, helps children cope with loss and is easily understandable for young kids. The invisible love that never leaves us is a concept both powerful and real. A very highly recommended book for a child who has experienced loss.
When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death, by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown (for Children)
One of the best books and methods for trying to explain the reality of death to a child. When Dinosaurs Die, explains different meanings and tough to understand concepts of life and death, and has been used by many parents and professionals. Another very highly recommended book for any child going through grief.
No Matter What, by Debi Gliori (for Children)
No Matter What, isn't directly associated with death and grief, but it was recommended to add to the list due to it's message the never ending love a parent will have for a child. It can be used to help a grieving child understand that their parents love for them will never leave--no matter what.
The Goodbye Book, by Todd Parr (Children)
Parr created a book that helps children say goodbye. It deceits a fish who has loss its companion, and can help a child understand the meaning of loss.
On Grief & Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss, by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D. & David Kessler
Kubler-Ross and Kessler put together what many consider the best book that explains grief processes, and uses the fives stages of loss, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. For anyone trying to grasp the emotions that will come through these stages of loss, this is a great book to help guide you through your grieving process.
Full Catastrophe Living, by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Kabat-Zinn, "[uses] the wisdom of you body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness". It's not directly relates to grief and loss, but many of the concepts can help you process loss and more so, help with the long term lingering pain that comes from losing a loved one.
Healing After Loss, by Martha W. Hickman (Daily Meditations)
A personal favorite, Healing After Loss, is easily digestible and is a complications of short passages, quotes, and mediations that help you absorb the feelings you go through after losing a loved one. The powerful words of Hickman can help inspire you on any given day, and many times have made me feel less alone and more connected to others who have experience the debilitating feelings of grief.
A Parents Guide to Raising Grieving Children, by Phyllis R. Silverman and Madelyn Kelly
Full of advice, A Parents Guide to Raising Grieving Children, can be very helpful in coming to terms with life never being anything like it once was. An incredibly thorough and thoughtful book that will be very helpful to any parents who has lost a child.
Grieving: A Beginners Guide, by Jerusha Hull McCormack
A good place to start, McCormack, helps push the principle guideline we all feel after loss, the unfairness. McCormack helps by using signposts, words or phrasing connected by ideas that lead you through her beginning guide to grief.
The Healing your Grieving Heart Journal for Teens, by Alan Wolfelt (Young Adult)
Journaling can be an effective way for teens to process grief, with this guide, written by Alan Wolfelt and his teenage daughter, teens can brooch different subjects in a way they seems fit. Less reading and more writing, a useful tool for any teen who has experiencing loss.
We will continue to update this list as we continue to read.