Picture and nonfiction books about losing a pet

Thanks for joining my “Mommy and Me” Book Club. I hope you’re enjoying my ongoing “stay in bed and read” series. See my previous posts on picture books about achieving your dreams and Where’d You Go, Bernadette.

We have a special post in honor of a once-in-a-nine-lifetimes kind of feline.


After fifteen years, Stay-in-Bed Mom and family said goodbye to their little gray cat, Zoe. She grew up with the family moving to a total of seven residences in the District of Columbia and four states. Zoe oversaw this blogger and her husband growing up from young adults to adults and finally to parents. She was present for the marriage of Stay-in-Bed Mom, as well as the pregnancy and births of her two children. Zoe was a shy, sweet cat and made the most snuggly bedfellow.

Goodbye, Zoe. It was a delight sharing a bed and a life with you.


Picture Books About Losing a Pet

1. The Goodbye Book (2015) | Todd Parr 

Told from the perspective of a fish who’s lost his companion, the story hints at how difficult it is to say goodbye. In his colorful story, Parr details the feelings surrounding death and loss. This book portrays the stages of grief in easy to understand terms. (Age Range:  3-6)

2. I Miss You, a First Look at Death (2001) | Pat Thomas 

Children’s questions are answered in a simple, yet realistic way. Thomas’ story helps readers come to terms with their feelings and cope with their loss. This book discusses the difficult issue of death for young children. (Age Range:  4-7)

3. Cat Heaven (1997) | Cynthia Rylant

Not just dogs, but cats go to heaven too! Rylant imagines a beautiful space for God’s feline friends where there are plenty of angels’ laps to sleep on. This book invites readers into a world where your child can imagine your cat cuddling up and carousing in heaven with her favorite things. (Age Range:  3-5)


4. Dog Heaven (1995) | Cynthia Rylant

A paradise for dogs to run in, this book shows through bright paintings the type of heaven God has created for dogs. A Newbery winner, this classic book is perfect for giving to a friend or family member who’s lost a furry friend. This book immerses readers in an Edenic world of endless fields and tons of biscuits. (Age Range:  3-5)

5. Alfie and the Birthday Surprise (2009) | Shirley Hughes

Alfie’s neighbor, Bob MacNally loses his dear cat, Smoky. It’s Bob’s birthday and MacNally’s daughter, with Alfie’s aid, surprises Bob with a new kitten, Boots. This book reminds readers that in time things do get better. (Age Range:  Baby-5)

6. The Rainbow Bridge…a Dog’s Story (2010) | Judith Kristen

The idea of a rainbow bridge is common in stories about pet and animal deaths – this story is about a sheepdog Henley who lives a full life. Henley explains, from the other side of Rainbow Bridge, that sadness is normal and that grief is okay. This book provides comfort and light to grieving pet owners during a dark time. (Age Range: N/A)

7. The Forever Dog (2007) | Bill Cochran

Many books end with the family getting a new pet, but this one doesn’t do that when Corky dies. The Forever Dog ends positively and happily without a new pet. This book helps Mike and his grieving family realize the pet has a forever home: in the pet owner’s heart. (Ages 4-8)

8. I’ll Always Love You (1988) | Hans Wilhelm

One night Elfie the daschund, who has been with the family since she was a little puppy, passes away in her sleep. After burying the treasured pet, the young boy is not ready for a new dog but he knows he’ll tell the new one, “I’ll always love you.” This book offers reassurance to families who have lost a pet they grew up with. (Ages 3-7)

9. Lifetimes:  A Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children (1983) | Bryan Mellonie 

Lifetimes explains that life is about beginnings and endings and living in between. The moving illustrations will appeal to adults and children alike. This book speaks to readers of all ages in a beautiful way. (Age Range:  5-8)

While not a picture book, this nonfiction title explains death to children.

10. Smart Kids Guide to Losing a Pet (2014) | Christine Peterson 

The guide explores ways to remember a pet. Additionally, the grieving pet owner can learn strategies for coping with his or her grief. This book details what happens when a pet dies. (Age Range:  7-10)

For more reading suggestions, see previous post on picture books about death.

A Final Thought – From the Pillow

Zoe, what does it look like in the meadow outside Rainbow Bridge? Wait for me.

So talk to your pets. Your Forever Pet has a Forever Home in your heart.

What other picture books would you add the list?

4 thoughts on “Picture and nonfiction books about losing a pet

Add yours

  1. I just was so touched by what you said especially in your Final thought- From the pillow… So talk to your pet. Your forever pet has a forever home in your heart. So true. So special. Your pets will never be forgotten.

    Liked by 1 person

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