Books and Movies About Loss

Movies for Adults and Children

Watching a movie together may be helpful in educating children about death and dying, encouraging discussion and helping them identify with other children who have coped with loss. For example, a film like The Lion King may give children hope and help them understand the importance of supportive friends and family.

The following children's movies deal with death and dying:

  • Charlotte's Web (G)
  • Bridge to Terabithia (PG)
  • Finding Nemo (G)
  • Fly Away Home (PG)
  • Free Willy (PG)
  • Heidi (G)
  • Ponette (Not Rated)
  • Simon Birch (PG)
  • The Lion King (G)
  • The Boy with the Green Hair (Not Rated)
  • The Cure (PG-13)
  • The Secret Garden (G)
  • The Horse Whisperer (PG-13)
  • Whale Rider (PG-13)


Books on talking to children about illness:

  • How to Help Children Through a Parent's Serious Illness, by Kathleen McCue
  • A Tiny Boat at Sea, by Izetta Smith
  • When a Parent Has Cancer, by Wendy Harpham

Books on talking to children about death:

  • How Do We Tell the Children: A Step-By-Step Guide for Helping Children Two to Teen Cope When Someone Dies, by Dan Schaefer and Christine Lyons
  • Helping Children Cope with the Loss of a Loved One: A Guide for Grownups, by W. Kroen
  • Talking About Death: A Dialogue Between Parent and Child, by E. Grollman
  • Talking With Children About Loss, by Maria Trozzi

Children's books about death:

  • Where are You? A Child's Book about Loss, by Laura Olivieri (ages 2–5)
  • Someone I Love Is Sick: Helping Very Young Children Cope with Cancer in the Family, by Kathleen McCue (ages 2–5)
  • When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death, by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown (ages 4–8)
  • Gentle Willow: A Story for Children About Dying, by Joyce C. Mills and Cary Pillo (ages 4–8)

Books for teens:

  • The Grieving Teen: A Guide for Teenagers and Their Friends, by H. Fitzgerald
  • Straight Talk about Death for Teenagers: How to Cope with Losing Someone You Love, by E. Grollman
  • When Will the Hurting Stop: Teens, Loss and Grief, by E. Myers
  • When a Friend Dies: A Book for Teens about Grieving and Healing, by M. Gootman

Books for spouses and partners:

  • Being a Widow, by Lynn Caine
  • How to Survive the Loss of a Love, by Melba Colgrove, Harold Bloomfield and Peter McWilliams
  • I'm Grieving As Fast As I Can: How Young Widows and Widowers Can Cope and Heal, by Linda Sones Feinberg
  • When Your Spouse Dies, by Cathleen L. Curry

Books for adults:

  • A Journey Through Grief, by Alla Renee Bozarth
  • Courage to Grieve: Creative Living, Recovery and Growth Through Grief, by J. Tatelbaum
  • Dying Well: The Prospect for Growth at the End of Life, by Ira Byock
  • Grieving: How to Go on Living When Someone You Loves Dies, by Therese A. Rando
  • How to Survive the Loss of a Love, by Melba Colgrove, Harold Bloomfield and Peter McWilliams
  • I Don't Know What to Say: How to Help and Support Someone Who is Dying, by Robert Buckman
  • What Helped Me When My Loved One Died, by Earl A. Grollman
  • When Bad Things Happen to Good People, by Harold S. Kushner
  • Why Me? Coping With Grief, Loss and Change, by Pesach Krauss

More Information


Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.