Children's Literature in Education

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 1–14

Summer’s End and Sad Goodbyes: Children’s Picturebooks About Death and Dying

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10583-012-9174-3

Cite this article as:
Wiseman, A.M. Child Lit Educ (2013) 44: 1. doi:10.1007/s10583-012-9174-3


This article explores children’s picturebooks about death and grieving by considering both psychological and literary aspects. Two questions frame this analysis: How can picturebooks, particularly written for young children, support children’s grief when someone dies? How do the illustrations and text of picture books express and convey the aesthetic and emotional experience of loss? Using both psychological research on children’s grief reactions and literary analysis of picturebooks, this paper reviews picturebooks that have been published on the topic of death from 2001 to 2011 and then closely analyzes three books that span a range of topics and approaches to death. Findings indicate that children’s picturebooks convey important psychological and cultural issues through text and illustrations. Furthermore, understanding some of the psychological and literary features of children’s picturebooks that address death and grieving can help educators to provide support and understanding for children when they experience loss.


Children’s literatureDeath and bereavementPicturebooksIllustrations

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Elementary EducationNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA