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The Cycle of Life and Death

Updated: Sep 7, 2022

Leaves changing colours through the seasons

Children's books that talk about lifecycles - concerning life and death.

These choices are books that have been written in an easy format for children to grasp the idea of life and death naturally.

Loved ones pass away, it is part of the cycle of life. There are children's books on death that explain it by using nature as an example. Such as simply following the journey of a falling leaf as in 'The Fall of Freddie the Leaf', or 'In a Nutshell' - The story of an oak tree.

Learning about the lifecycles of other animals can be so healing.

It is comforting to see that there are many caring authors out there. When words are hard to find, you can turn to the pages of these books. Books can provide great explanations and support for children who have suffered a loss. They open up a world of suppressed conversation and they release deep emotions. These books have been known to help adults too.

They are written in a gentle manner that aims to help children understand the process and that life continues in different forms and can be celebrated.

If you need books about a specific Loss, then you can visit our other Blog Posts for books that deal with:

Here are our 6 top-selling book recommendations that help children to understand the Cycle of Life & Death

Each recommendation has a short description.

1. THE DRAGONFLY STORY. Talks about the cycle of life

By Kelly Owen - who also suffered the loss of her 12-year-old daughter.

Illustrated by Helen Braid

Directed at young children.

Explaining the death of a loved one to children and families. A book that is full of comfort. It's a story about two children who are missing their sister. Their parents take them out to the park where they discover a dragonfly. Dragonflies start as bugs under the water, then they shed their bodies and become something else, they are not able to return to see their families, but they are still there in another sense. 'The Dragonfly Story' discusses death in a kind manner. This is a book that offers the hope of an afterlife, and what heaven might be like. This is a book aimed at those who are both religious and non-religious.


By Cece Meng. Illustrated by Jago.

For ages 4 - 8 approximately.

A wonderful book about grief for those who want a natural approach without the use of religion. This lyrical book covers the legacy that Old Turtle leaves behind. He lives on and is fondly remembered by all his friends. A very nice book to help those who have lost a loved person or a dear pet. Beautiful, dreamy illustrations that soothe.


By Susan Varley

For ages 4 - 8 approximately.

The perfect book for children faced with the fact that an elderly relative or another person that they know is coming to the end of their lifespan. In this story, Badger knows that it's soon time for him to go. He wants to leave wonderful memories behind for his friends. His friends start to grieve when Badger is gone, but then they realise they still have all his wonderful memories and badger lives on in this comforting way.


By Leo Buscaglia Ph.D

For ages 4 - 8 approximately. (Also great for adults).

A beloved classic story that follows the journey of Freddie the leaf. Freddie and his friends change with the coming seasons. This striking story explains in simple, poetic terms how nature can return to the fertile ground and provide nutrients and new life. No religious context is needed here - A beautiful story of life.


By Bryon Mellonie and Robert Bergen.

For ages 5 - 8 approximately.

A beautiful way to explain death to children. A natural explanation uses nature as a harmonious example 'All things are born, and all things die, and that's okay'. Gentle examples of living and dying are given throughout the pages, using the life cycles of familiar creatures as a comfortable guide. This book does not delve into emotions, just a gentle understanding of life and death for children. It is done in a concept that most children will quickly understand. One thing that caught our attention is that 'Lifetimes' is a book that was written in the 1980s - One of its pages states that people live to 60 or 70 which is outdated. Young children might find that a bit scary, especially if they are aware of the age of a grandparent. The life expectancy is now at least 80, and many live a lot longer. If you read this book to a child, then it's best to either leave out the age part or change it to a higher number.


By Joseph Anthony. Illustrated by Cris Arbo.

For ages 3 - 10 approximately.

'In a Nutshell' explains the cycle of life using an acorn falling from an oak tree as an example. This is a book that releases many anxieties as it tries to answer many questions that children normally have regarding the purpose and nature of life. 'In A Nutshell' is a story that allows you to follow an acorn amidst diverse and striking illustrations and see its Connection to the whole. By Joseph Anthony.

If you need books about a specific Loss, then you can visit our other Blog Posts for books that deal with:

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