It is hard to lose a parent. Writers, like the rest of us, have to wade through their own pain, just like everyone else. In contrast to the rest of us, they tend to leave a trail of paper for us to follow. If you’ve lost a parent recently or not, these books about losing a parent can help ease your heartache. They can help you deal with the pain. These books are honest, raw, and sometimes even funny.
You can find a lot of books about loss out there, but sometimes psychological studies or research-based works aren’t the same kind of comfort that literature can be. Here are some books about losing a parent that will make your heart hurt a little less. Whether you like fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, these books will make your heart hurt a little less.
Crying in H Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner
As you can see from the title, this memoir is an honest and at times lovingly funny book that tells a lot about life. When Zauner talks about her relationship with her mother, both as a child and now as an adult, there is a thread of sadness that runs through the whole thing. Through stories about food and language, she tries to come to terms with her Korean roots as she goes (among other things). Zauner is also a musician (she goes by the name Japanese Breakfast), and her art and poetry can be heard in this memoir.
OBIT by Victoria Chang
OBIT is based on the obituary as a form. Chang’s book has a wide range of topics, from the everyday to the philosophical. OBIT was written after the poet’s mother died. It deals with not only the loss of the poet’s mother, but also her father. She writes obituaries for everything, from civility to control to clothes, to say goodbye to. There’s a good thing about this collection: You can do it at a pace that’s right for you. In spite of how the poems connect to each other, they are short and can be read one at a time. Sometimes, grief makes you move at your own pace, and OBIT lets you do that.
Ghost Forest: A Novel by Pik-Shuen Fung
People who play Ghost Forest try to deal with the death of their father. It’s hard to grieve in a family that doesn’t talk about emotions. On top of all this, her father was often absent when she was a child, which left her with more questions than answers. She looks for stories from her mother and grandmother to help her come to terms with what happened. As the stories start to come together into a picture of her father, the book also talks about the cultural background of Chinese Canadian “astronaut” families.
Book of Hours: Poems by Kevin Young
The Book of Hours comes back to the poet a decade after the death of his father. It talks about how grief is always there, even after the birth of Young’s child. There are many different emotions that can happen when you go through all of the different stages of life. This collection looks at all of these emotions. The text shows both the child who has lost a father and the father who has a son. It’s an in-depth look at how we deal with grief even aswe move on with our lives.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
This book, which is thought to be a work of autofiction, is written in the form of a letter to a mother. What’s the deal? To an illiterate mother who doesn’t speak English well, the letter is in English and is written in English. After his mother died, Vuong wrote the novel, and his grief is shown in the way the book treats the mother’s character (and also the grandmother’s). Because Vuong’s family has a history of war and trauma, the book also deals with those things. It is a story about coming of age, coming out, and the love between parents and children. It’s also very sweet, even though it talks about a lot of different kinds of trauma.
The Goodbye Book, by Todd Parr
“It’s hard to say goodbye to someone.”
A favorite picture book author, Todd Parr, wrote and illustrated this book about grief and loss without using the word “death,” and we love it. Children might be able to understand how it feels to lose someone because this story is told by a fish. It could be that a parent moves across the country during a divorce to be with their kids more. There could also be a mother who has recently died, as well. Parr tells his readers that “there will always be someone who loves you and holds you close.”
Always Remember, by Cece Meng, illustrated by Jago
If you’re looking for a book that will help your child deal with the loss of a friend, this one is for you.
Old Turtle was a good friend and a good teacher who helped other people. His world was better because of him. When he was done, the ocean took him back. During his last swim and breath, he died. It doesn’t say “death,” like Parr’s book. An easy-going story with beautiful illustrations that doesn’t talk about religion at all.
Ida, Always, by Caron Levis, illustrated by Charles Santoso
Ida, Always tells the story of two polar bears who live in the Central Park Zoo in New York City. It’s based on a true story, but it’s not entirely true.
It doesn’t matter if Ida gets sick. Gus and Ida spend all of their time together. Until Ida dies, they cuddle and comfort each other. Love, loss, and hope are all shown in Santoso’s beautiful paintings. Levis ends on a hopeful note.
The Memory Box: A Book About Grief, by Joanna Rowland, illustrated by Thea Baker
Young girl with blonde hair is afraid that she might forget someone in her life that recently died. “I’m afraid I’ll forget about you.” Putting together a “memory box” is what she wants to do next. She wants to remember “everywhere we’ve been, where you’ve been, and where we wanted to go.”
Joanna Rowland, a kindergarten teacher, shows that grief isn’t always a straight line. In your life, you’ll have good days and bad ones. Thea Baker used fabric and textured paper to make collages for this book. End of the book, there’s a guide for parents who want to know more about how to help their kids deal with the loss of someone they love and how to make their own memory box