The best books for children and adults coping with the loss of a pet

Who am I?

Ever since I was a young girl, I always turned to writing to work through anything that was happening in my life, ranging from the first time I experienced loss to my parents’ divorce. I have since published three children’s books on tough topics as I have aimed to provide parents, children, and teachers with tools to discuss loss and change. My most recent book, Goodbye, Gus is specifically about the loss of a pet. My dad died when I was 21, and that was the first death (other than my dogs) that I ever experienced. I was able to experience first-hand the fact that the loss of my pets helped prepare me to cope with grief, and I also learned that we can all focus on what we did have and hang on to those memories forever. 

I wrote...

Goodbye, Gus

By Amy Lee Kite,

Book cover of Goodbye, Gus

What is my book about?

Goodbye, Gus: Exploring grief and finding hope after the loss of a pet is for children ages 2 – 8 although many adults have reported loving the book, as well. For many young children, losing a pet is their first experience with death. This book helps to ease their sadness, address tough questions that may arise, and comfort them with an honest and hopeful message. The book is helpful for adults, too as it not only provides a tool for their discussions with children, but it provides comfort and hope for them, too. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages

Amy Lee Kite Why did I love this book?

I first read this book as a 21-year-old woman who had just lost her father. Other than losing pets, this was my first experience with loss. The book Freddie the Leaf seemed like a children’s book, but its themes and messages were so relatable, even though I was a senior in college. I remember the simple way that the concepts of passing seasons and life and death were portrayed in such a comforting manner, and I was so grateful that someone gifted me with this book during the most difficult time in my life. 

By Leo Buscaglia,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fall of Freddie the Leaf as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The beloved classic from New York Times bestselling author Leo Buscaglia that has helped thousands of children and adults come to grips with life and death-a warm, wonderfully wise, and strikingly simple story about a leaf named Freddie.

Appropriate for all ages-from toddlers to adults-and featuring beautiful nature photographs throughout, this poignant, thought-provoking story follows Freddie and his companions as their leaves change with the passing seasons and the coming of winter, finally falling to the ground with winter's snow.

An inspiring allegory that illustrates the delicate balance between life and death, The Fall of Freddie the Leaf has helped…

Book cover of The Invisible String

Amy Lee Kite Why did I love this book?

This is such a beautiful tale of a mother comforting her children by explaining that they are always connected by an invisible string. As a mother of three, I have often told my own children a similar fact: We are forever connected, and I will always remain in your heart, even if I am not with you. I love that message that is contained in The Invisible String, reminding readers that we are always close to those we love. 

By Patrice Karst, Joanne Lew-Vriethoff (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Invisible String as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

With over 400,000 copies sold, this accessible, bestselling picture book phenomenon about the unbreakable connections between loved ones has healed a generation of readers--children and adults alike--and has been updated with new illustrations and an afterword from the author. Now available in paperback for the first time!

Parents, educators, therapists, and social workers alike have declared The Invisible String the perfect tool for coping with all kinds of separation anxiety, loss, and grief. In this relatable and reassuring contemporary classic, a mother tells her two children that they're all connected by an invisible string. "That's impossible!" the children insist, but…

Book cover of The Loss of a Pet: A Guide to Coping with the Grieving Process When a Pet Dies

Amy Lee Kite Why did I love this book?

This book is full of comforting information for those who have lost a pet and are going through the grieving process. I remember reading this book and feeling so grateful that a psychologist put together this information specifically for those of us who are coping with losing a pet. I love my dogs, and they are a big part of my family. When I have lost them, I feel devastated. Pet grief is a bereavement process that deserves attention, care, and understanding, and this book helps us to understand that intense grief. 

By Wallace Sife,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Loss of a Pet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Understanding helps heal the hurt when you lose a pet.

This award-winning book has been hailed as the seminal work in the field. And now the fourth newly revised and expanded edition offers so much more to the bereaving pet owner. This edition also includes a significant new way of considering the meaning of afterlife for us and our pets. It discusses the topic from a twenty-first century scientific perspective that is very different from existing religious or metaphysical ones, offering a new comfort to skeptics and agnostics as well.

This book will help you in your healing from that…

Book cover of Dog Songs: Poems

Amy Lee Kite Why did I love this book?

I am recommending Dog Songs as a dog lover and as a poet. Two of my favorite things are dogs and poetry, and Mary Oliver combines the two in her beautiful celebration of the love between humans and dogs. I think this is a great choice when people are grieving, as the magic of the canine/human connection is conveyed in these poems, providing a source of beauty and comfort for the reader. All of her selections emphasize that unique love that we have with our pets, reminding us to enjoy life’s precious moments. 

By Mary Oliver,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dog Songs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The popularity of [Dog Songs] feels as inevitable and welcome as a wagging tail upon homecoming' Boston Globe

In Dog Songs, Mary Oliver celebrates the special bond between human and dog, as understood through her connection to the dogs who across the years accompanied her on her daily walks, warmed her home and inspired her work. The poems in Dog Songs begin in the small everyday moments familiar to all dog lovers and become, through her extraordinary vision, meditations on the world and our place in it.

Dog Songs includes visits with old friends, like Oliver's most beloved dog Percy,…

Book cover of The Amazing Afterlife of Animals: Messages and Signs From Our Pets On The Other Side

Amy Lee Kite Why did I love this book?

I chose this comforting, spiritual book, which is about a concept that I wonder about myself — an afterlife. The idea that those we love can still connect with us after they exit this life is something I want to believe and is something that certainly provides me with comfort. The stories that this author shares offer so much help and enable us to feel closer to our pets who we have sadly lost. Ever since reading this book, I have seen more signs that enable me to believe that the bond I have with dogs I have lost can still be as strong as ever today. 

By Karen A. Anderson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Amazing Afterlife of Animals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 Bestseller & Winner of 16 National and International Literary Awards

If you are grieving the loss of your beloved pet the uplifting and insightful stories within these chapters will help you break through your grief so you can begin healing. Included are actual messages from departed animals who share details about what they experienced as their life ended and from beyond the veil of the afterlife. 

You will discover how pets feel about dying, euthanasia, cremation, reincarnation and so much more.

Award-winning Animal Communicator and Afterlife Expert, Karen Anderson, reveals tantalizing evidence that our pets communicate with us throughout…

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At What Cost, Silence?

By Karen Lynne Klink,

Book cover of At What Cost, Silence?

Karen Lynne Klink Author Of At What Cost, Silence?

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Child abuse survivor Reader Adventure traveler Animal lover

Karen's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Secrets, misunderstandings, and a plethora of family conflicts abound in this historical novel set along the Brazos River in antebellum Washington County, East Texas.

It is a compelling story of two neighboring plantation families and a few of the enslaved people who serve them. These two plantations are a microcosm of a country on the brink of war, encompassing a variety of issues: love and friendship between men, relationships between fathers and sons, sibling rivalry, slavery, and the position of women in society.

At What Cost, Silence?

By Karen Lynne Klink,

What is this book about?

Adrien Villere suspects he is not like other boys. For years, he desperately locks away his feelings and fears-but eventually, tragedy and loss drive him to seeking solace from his mentor, a young neighbor Jacob Hart. Jacob's betrayal of Adrien's trust, however, results in secret abuse, setting off a chain of actions from which neither Adrien's wise sister, Bernadette, nor his closest friend, Isaac, can turn him.

At What Cost, Silence presents two contrasting plantation families in a society where strict rules of belief and behavior are clear, and public opinion can shape an entire life. Centerstage are the Villeres,…

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