8 Best Children’s Books to Help Cope With the Loss of a Pet


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Children have a very special relationship with their pets, maybe even more so than adults do, which can make loss something very grueling for them to have to endure. If you have lost a pet, what are some of the best children’s books to help them cope? 

The 8 best children’s books to help cope with the loss of a pet include a memory book, “The Goodbye Book,” “The Legend of the Rainbow Bridge,” “When a Pet Dies,” “Jasper’s Day,” “The Tenth Good Thing About Barney,” “I’ll Always Love You,” and “Goodbye Mousie.” 

Children and their pets are the things that warm sweet tales are written about, as these are relationships that bring comfort, joy, and a closeness that simply is not the same from person to person. Children bond quickly with pets and often remain that way until their beloved animal takes their last breath. If your child has recently lost a pet and you are wondering how to help them, take a look below to find the best 8 children’s books to help cope with pet loss.


8 Best Children’s Books to Help Cope With the Loss of a Pet 

There is only so much someone can say to help their child, or a child they know, navigate the grief that comes with the loss of a dearly loved pet. When words begin to fall short and run out, some people may find themself searching for other resources for their child to use to help cope with the loss of a pet. For those of you looking for books to help get your child through, read on to find the top 8 books for children to cope with the loss of a pet. 

1. A Memory Book 

© Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Before getting into a more formally written book, a great resource to help get your child through the loss of a pet is a memory book. These come in a variety of different layouts, but they boil down to the type of book that children are able to put their own memories, pictures, and personal notes in so that they have a small keepsake of their favorite pet. This allows children to always have something to look back on and remember their pet fondly through. 

A memory book is a great way of allowing your child to not only process through their feelings of grief and loss at their own pace, but is also a wonderful way to preserve the memory of their pet when the sting of loss is not as painful. A memory book keeps their pet’s memory alive in a tangible way.

2. “The Goodbye Book,” by Todd Parr 

© Goodreads

For those with younger children, it can be difficult to be able to help them not only understand what has happened, but identify what they are feeling and express those feelings to you. This can make the loss of a pet rather difficult, as feelings of frustration can be let in unrelated areas, leaving people wondering how to get their child to understand. If this is the case for you, “The Goodbye Book” is a perfect choice. 

For younger children, “The Goodbye Book” is a great book to help cope with the loss of a pet as it explains the many emotions that one can feel after the loss of a pet from mad, to hungry, to over-energized, to sad. The illustrations are also simple and easy to visually process for younger children. 

3. “The Legend of the Rainbow Bridge,” by William N. Britton

© Goodreads

If you are someone who has a child who loves fairytales and to use their imagination through beautiful illustrations, it can be hard to find a book that not only offers both, but explains things in a way that lets your child know they are being heard. After the loss of a pet, some children need a bit more than simplistic illustrations, but rather need the ability to lose themselves in a story that lets them know they are not alone with the loss of their pet. 

“The Legend of the Rainbow Bridge” is a beautifully illustrated book that tells a vivid tale of what happens to animals once they have taken their last breath here on Earth. This allows children to see a multitude of different animals while also falling into a story of hope and joy for lost pets. 

4. “When a Pet Dies,” by Fred Rogers 

© Amazon

If you have a child that does not typically care for fairy tales or long elaborate stories, but is more inclined to the practical explanation of things, it can be difficult to find a book about the death of a pet that does not go off into some far away land that they cannot connect with. Practicality is preferred by some children, therefore, it may be exactly what is needed when they are trying to figure out how to best cope with the loss of a pet. 

“When a Pet Dies” is a wonderful book for either younger children or children that prefer for things to be explained in a very practical and straightforward way. This book talks about how animals get hurt and ill, the graves and funerals that can be held, and time will allow them to feel better.  

5. “Jasper’s Day,” by Marjorie Blain Parker 

© Book Connections

Expanding on the fact that animals get hurt and ill, some owners are not able to see their pets come to their end naturally. If your pet was hurt badly or became ill to a point where no fix was possible, you may have been faced with having to put down your pet. This can be difficult for children to understand, as their end was not natural, but there is a great book available to help children retreat from their sadness and find joy in their pets’ last day. 

“Jasper’s Day” is a wonderful children’s book that helps children who have had to put their pets down retreat into a story that beautifully describes a dog’s last day that was previously diagnosed with cancer. This is also a great book to introduce before a pet has been put down as well. 

6. “The Tenth Good Thing About Barney,” by Judith Viorst 

© Goodreads

For those of you who have a child that likes to indulge in imagination as well as get the practical explanation of things, it can be hard to find a book that levels both of these aspects well without getting your child too confused between fiction and reality. However, if you are in search of a book like this to help your child cope with the loss of a pet, look no further than “The Tenth Good Thing About Barney.” 

“The Tenth Good Thing About Barney” is a wonderful book to help your child deal with the loss of a pet, as it goes through a boy’s loss of his favorite cat and the process that helps him heal – thinking of 10 things he loves about his animal. It also explains how pets, once buried, become part of nature that helps to give back by fueling plants and flowers to grow. 

7. “I’ll Always Love You,” by Hans Wilhelm 

© Amazon

When a child loses a pet, they may find it difficult to comprehend how the pet is gone, yet they still long to hold them and love them – those feelings simply do not stop. Because of this, it can be hard for parents to explain that these feelings are normal, and can actually become something positive with time. If you are looking to explain how the love of a pet will always stay with your child, take a look at “I’ll Always Love You.” 

“I’ll Always Love You” goes through a child’s loss of their pet and best friend, who eventually dies of old age. The child shares his sadness, but then makes a vow to tell every pet he ever owns that he will always love his first beloved pet, making the love of a pet something that stays forever.

8. “Goodbye Mousie,” by Robie H. Harris 

© Simon & Schuster

This is a great book for those children that have pets that are different from the typical pet of a cat or a dog. It can be hard to relate to other children when your pet is one that is not as common, making the relationship with their pet one that seems almost foreign. If you have a child that has lost a pet like a mouse, bird, or other caged pet, “Goodbye Mousie” is a great book that helps to go through the different stages of feet and confirm the child’s feelings.

“Goodbye Mousie” is a book that goes through a little boy’s experience of his mouse’s death after he discovers it has passed in the middle of the night. This book goes through his disbelief, his anger, and his sadness and acceptance of the event followed by a lovely goodbye that helps to heal him.

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