100 books like Michael Rosen's Sad Book

By Michael Rosen, Quentin Blake (illustrator),

Here are 100 books that Michael Rosen's Sad Book fans have personally recommended if you like Michael Rosen's Sad Book. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Heart and the Bottle

Robin Hall Author Of The Littlest Weaver

From my list on picture books for healing from loss.

Why am I passionate about this?

All my life, books have been a safe space for me to explore emotions, recognize that what I’m experiencing is universal, and see that we can cope with difficult situations. As I pursued my MFA in Writing, I studied and wrote books that address heavy topics in hopeful ways. As Matt de la Pena says, “I can’t think of a safer place to explore complex emotions … than inside the pages of a book.” The picture books I have chosen address the heavy topic of loss in sensitive, hopeful, and empowering ways. I hope these books will touch your life as much as they’ve touched mine.

Robin's book list on picture books for healing from loss

Robin Hall Why did Robin love this book?

Oliver Jeffers is a master storyteller. Like the girl in this story, when I lost my father, I wanted to build walls to protect myself from the pain of grief so my heart could never hurt so much again. It took time to find a way to open my heart again and continue to find wonder.

Reading The Heart and the Bottle felt like reading my own story, like Jeffers understood me. With sparce text and simple, but poignant, illustrations, Jeffers clearly shows the process of healing from loss.

By Oliver Jeffers,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Heart and the Bottle 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?

Award-winning picture book star Oliver Jeffers explores themes of love and loss in this life-affirming and uplifting tale.

Once there was a girl whose life was filled with wonder at the world around her...
Then one day something happened that made the girl take her heart and put it in a safe place. However, after that it seemed that the world was emptier than before. But would she know how to get her heart back?

In this deeply moving story, Oliver Jeffers deals with the weighty themes of love and loss with an extraordinary lightness of touch and shows us,…


Book cover of Luna's Red Hat: An Illustrated Storybook to Help Children Cope with Loss and Suicide

Anthony Lloyd Jones Author Of The Princess and the Fog: A Story for Children with Depression

From my list on understanding depression, loss, grief, and anxiety.

Why am I passionate about this?

I had depression when I was young, but I didn’t know what that meant or what to do about it. So much of mental health is invisible and nobody knew. I didn’t have the language to explain how I felt, or to ask for help, and I didn’t know how to find out. Any book that could have helped me jump those hurdles would have been incredibly valuable. Children relate to stories, characters, metaphors and pictures more than words. Giving children the tools to explore how they feel in ways they can relate to is really important. I wouldn’t want anyone else to feel as alone as I did. 

Anthony's book list on understanding depression, loss, grief, and anxiety

Anthony Lloyd Jones Why did Anthony love this book?

Luna’s Red Hat does a fantastic job of explaining suicide to its readers in a way that is blameless and sensitive, delicate but not sugar-coated. It’s a hard topic to talk about, especially with children or people who haven’t ever felt suicidal themselves. You can tell in the way that Luna and her father talk to each other and about Luna’s mother that this was and is a very close and loving family, and that nobody is to blame for Luna’s mother taking her own life. This book has been a big inspiration for me. I hope I am able to write about mental health and other difficult topics with as much grace as Emmi does in this book.

By Emmi Smid,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Luna's Red Hat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is a beautiful spring day, and Luna is having a picnic in the park with her family, wearing her Mum's red hat. Luna's Mum died one year ago and she still finds it difficult to understand why. She feels that it may have been her fault and worries that her Dad might leave her in the same way. Her Dad talks to her to explain what happened and together they think about all the happy memories they have of Mum.

This beautifully-illustrated storybook is designed as a tool to be read with children aged 6+ who have experienced the…


Book cover of Not Today, Celeste!: A Dog's Tale about Her Human's Depression

Anthony Lloyd Jones Author Of The Princess and the Fog: A Story for Children with Depression

From my list on understanding depression, loss, grief, and anxiety.

Why am I passionate about this?

I had depression when I was young, but I didn’t know what that meant or what to do about it. So much of mental health is invisible and nobody knew. I didn’t have the language to explain how I felt, or to ask for help, and I didn’t know how to find out. Any book that could have helped me jump those hurdles would have been incredibly valuable. Children relate to stories, characters, metaphors and pictures more than words. Giving children the tools to explore how they feel in ways they can relate to is really important. I wouldn’t want anyone else to feel as alone as I did. 

Anthony's book list on understanding depression, loss, grief, and anxiety

Anthony Lloyd Jones Why did Anthony love this book?

Not Today, Celeste! is another terrific book that explains to young readers how to recognise depressive symptoms in others, and how these symptoms might affect your relationship with them. Celeste is a wonderful choice of protagonist - a dog whose human, Rupert, begins to suffer from depression. She is initially worried and wants to help, but doesn’t know how to, and is happy when he’s able to finally get help and go back to being his old self again. A perfect reader surrogate for a child whose parent or other loved one is struggling with depression. A very hopeful and warm book for a time when things might seem bleak and confusing.

By Liza Stevens,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Not Today, Celeste! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

Celeste thinks she is the happiest dog in the world. But when she notices something different about her human, Rupert, she wonders if things will ever be the same again.

Charmingly illustrated, this heart-warming story for children aged 3+ reflects some of the feelings and experiences that a child whose parent or carer has depression may face. When it comes to periods of low mood in a parent or carer, children can often feel that they are to blame, or even that the parent doesn't love them anymore. The story provides reassurance by explaining what depression is and how it…


Book cover of All Birds Have Anxiety

Anthony Lloyd Jones Author Of The Princess and the Fog: A Story for Children with Depression

From my list on understanding depression, loss, grief, and anxiety.

Why am I passionate about this?

I had depression when I was young, but I didn’t know what that meant or what to do about it. So much of mental health is invisible and nobody knew. I didn’t have the language to explain how I felt, or to ask for help, and I didn’t know how to find out. Any book that could have helped me jump those hurdles would have been incredibly valuable. Children relate to stories, characters, metaphors and pictures more than words. Giving children the tools to explore how they feel in ways they can relate to is really important. I wouldn’t want anyone else to feel as alone as I did. 

Anthony's book list on understanding depression, loss, grief, and anxiety

Anthony Lloyd Jones Why did Anthony love this book?

I will not mince words: this book is silly. It follows a very simple formula of describing the symptoms of anxiety, general worry, and stress alongside photographs of birds. The funny expressions candidly captured on the bird’s faces somehow seem to always illustrate the specific situations and emotions being described in the text more perfectly than I even could as a professional illustrator. It’s really good fun and would be an especially great resource for a parent/carer/teacher to read along with an anxious child - jumping off and discussing how they relate to what the birds look like they’re feeling as they go.

By Kathy Hoopmann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Birds Have Anxiety as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

Life as a bird can be stressful! From worrying about airplanes, windows, and getting enough worms to eat, it is clear that birds can be anxious beings. Through a light-touch, quizzical depiction of bird behaviour, All Birds Have Anxiety uses colourful images and astute explanations to explore with gentle humour what it means to live with anxiety day-to-day, and how to begin to deal with it.

Following the style of the best-selling All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome and All Dogs Have ADHD, wonderful colour photographs express the complex and difficult ideas related to anxiety disorder in an easy-to-understand way. This…


Book cover of A Ball for Daisy

Mônica Carnesi Author Of Little Dog Lost: The True Story of a Brave Dog Named Baltic

From my list on picture books for dog lovers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a librarian and a picture book author/illustrator – it’s a perfect combination as I get to spend lots of time around books. I’m also a huge animal lover, with a special fondness for dogs. I can’t resist a picture book about dogs, and it’s no surprise that my first picture book was based on a true story about one very brave little dog. It is not easy to recommend only 5 books, but these are certainly my top favorites both in text and art. Happy reading!

Mônica's book list on picture books for dog lovers

Mônica Carnesi Why did Mônica love this book?

Meet Daisy, a bouncy puppy with a favorite red ball. One day, while playing in the park, a bigger dog bites on it and –puff! Her ball completely deflates. Daisy is crushed!  She returns home and buries herself on the sofa, totally downcast. Told in wordless panels, Daisy’s feelings are deeply felt and understood. The illustrations are amazingly expressive and perfectly capture the character’s emotional journey from playfulness to sadness. On a return visit to the park, can Daisy find a way to joy again?

By Chris Raschka,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Ball for Daisy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2012 Randolph Caldecott Medal

This New York Times Bestseller and New York Times Best Illustrated Book relates a story about love and loss as only Chris Rashcka can tell it. Any child who has ever had a beloved toy break will relate to Daisy's anguish when her favorite ball is destroyed by a bigger dog. In the tradition of his nearly wordless picture book Yo! Yes?, Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka explores in pictures the joy and sadness that having a special toy can bring. Raschka's signature swirling, impressionistic illustrations and his affectionate story will particularly appeal to…


Book cover of The Shadow Elephant

Geneviève Godbout Author Of What's Up, Maloo?

From my list on to discuss loneliness and depression.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a freelance illustrator who specializes in children’s literature. I now live in Montreal, surrounded by my little family, after many years spent in London as a Winnie the Pooh character artist for the Walt Disney Company. What's Up, Maloo? is my first book as an author and was inspired by my own experience of suffering with anxiety and depression. I wanted to create Maloo as a tool for children and adults to discuss the importance of being well surrounded and to reach out to a friend when we are feeling low.

Geneviève's book list on to discuss loneliness and depression

Geneviève Godbout Why did Geneviève love this book?

In addition to being an absolute beauty, this book tackles the subject of empathy and self-acceptance with delicacy. It tells the story of an elephant who feels down and can't be cheered up by his colorful savannah friends. It reminds us that sometimes, it’s okay to be sad without having to get better right away. Friends can show their support by simply being there, without judgment or action.

By Nadine Robert, Valerio Vidali (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A gentle story about sadness showing that sometimes all you need to feel better is the openness of someone who accepts you as you are.


A Financial Times Best Children's Book of 2021


This is a subtle story about an elephant who is feeling sorrowful, and nothing seems to interest him or lift his spirits. Illustrated with a striking contrast between shadow and light, the moody blue elephant appears to live in a different world from his colorful savanna friends. Empathy is a tricky emotion for children and adults alike to grasp, but The Shadow Elephant manages to walk the…


Book cover of Maybe Tomorrow? (A Story about Loss, Healing, and Friendship)

Karen Toothaker Author Of The Rag Doll Gift

From my list on children dealing with death, grief, and loss.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an early childhood educator, I have firsthand experience with the effectiveness of picture books to stimulate the mind, open conversation, offer emotional support, and provide us all with the fundamentals of understanding ourselves and others. I have supported children and families suffering a loved one’s death by sharing picture books with them. My book, The Rag Doll Gift is based on the true story of my mother who died before giving my youngest her doll. This story was born when my daughter received her doll and said, in all her six-year-old wisdom, “Grammie is still saying” I love you” even when we can’t hear her anymore”

Karen's book list on children dealing with death, grief, and loss

Karen Toothaker Why did Karen love this book?

I cannot think of anything more intriguing than this hippopotamus named Elba dragging a big block everywhere she goes or anything kinder than this alligator named Norris who dances wherever he goes.

These characters draw you in and guide you in feeling loss, sadness, kindness, hope, and friendship. Norris gently walks with Elba, offering to lighten her heavy load. He is never pushy, always inviting  never judging, always hopeful. “Maybe tomorrow?” he says. Maybe that is what we all need  the strength and company of someone who can believe in tomorrow for us when we are lost in our own darkness of today.

By Charlotte Agell, Ana Ramírez González (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Maybe Tomorrow? (A Story about Loss, Healing, and Friendship) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Elba has a black block. She's been dragging it around for a long time. Norris is always surrounded by a happy cloud of butterflies. Can Norris and his butterflies help ease Elba's sadness?This
tender exploration of loss will resonate with anyone who has experienced hardship or grief, from
the death of a loved one or a pet, to a friend moving away, or the
transition to a new home or family situation.


Book cover of Geeger the Robot to the Rescue

Stephanie Calmenson Author Of Our Principal Is a Frog!

From my list on funny easy-to-read chapter books in a series.

Why am I passionate about this?

I landed my dream job teaching kindergarten in a Brooklyn public school, but it soon ended thanks to citywide budget cuts.  Wanting to continue connecting with children, I made my way into children's book publishing first as an editor, later as a writer.  I've now written over 100 books including Dinner at the Panda Palace (PBS StoryTime book); May I Pet Your Dog? (Horn Book Fanfare); Dozens of Dachshunds (Scholastic Book Club selection); the Our Principal series (S&S Quix books); and The Adventures of Allie and Amy series, written with Magic School Bus author Joanna Cole. I found my new dream job teaching, entertaining, and encouraging children through books.

Stephanie's book list on funny easy-to-read chapter books in a series

Stephanie Calmenson Why did Stephanie love this book?

"Greee-TINGS BEST FRIEND IN THE MILK- eee waaay," says Geeger the Robot. Greetings, Geeger! When Geeger's efforts to cheer his friend Tillie fail, he computes information offered by their teacher to find the best way to help. With Geeger by her side, it's hard for Tillie—or any reader—to be down in the dumps for long. Jarrett Lerner's book is filled with heart and humor and, happily, this book is part of a series. 

By Jarrett Lerner, Serge Seidlitz (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Geeger the Robot to the Rescue as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

For fans of the Bots books comes the adventures of Geeger, a robot whose best friend needs his help in the third story in a fun-to-read Aladdin QUIX chapter book series that’s perfect for emerging readers!

Geeger’s best friend, Tillie, is having a bad day and he wants to cheer her up. But sharing snacks and jokes aren’t working. How will Geeger make Tillie smile again?


Book cover of Sing Your Sadness Deep

Ray Cluley Author Of All That's Lost

From my list on using horror to explore loss.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a fan of horror stories since I was a child. It was never about the shock or the gore, but the sense of dread and unease such stories could build, and how they challenged society’s norms in a variety of ways. The driving force in a lot of horror is often the threat—or even the result—of some sort of loss, and that’s what I tend to explore in my own work. Whether it’s the loss of life, of love or loved ones, the loss of sanity, of reality, horror allows us to discover and/or face our fears while providing a means by which to manage them.

Ray's book list on using horror to explore loss

Ray Cluley Why did Ray love this book?

There’s so much to love about this book. Every story here is brilliant, and while sadness is the thread running through all of them, I’d say they also deal with issues of loss or the pain of losing, and the things we do to cope. I’ve loved Mauro’s writing from day one, and this collection gathers her best into a powerful volume that does indeed sing. It filled and then broke my heart. The book is worth buying for the award-winning story "Looking for Laika" alone, but there really isn’t a single story here that isn’t a masterclass in writing, and not a single one that doesn’t move the reader to feel the sadness and feel it deeply. I can’t wait for whatever Laura Mauro does next.

By Laura Mauro,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sing Your Sadness Deep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

British Fantasy Award-winning author, and Shirley Jackson Award finalist Laura Mauro, a leading voice in contemporary dark fiction, delivers a remarkable debut collection of startling short fiction. Human and humane tales of beauty, strangeness, and transformation told in prose as precise and sparing as a surgeon’s knife. A major new talent!

Featuring "Looking for Laika," winner of the British Fantasy Award, and "Sun Dogs," a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award.

Sun Dogs

Obsidian

Red Rabbit

Letters from Elodie

The Grey Men

Ptichka

When Charlie Sleeps

In the City of Bones

The Looking Glass Girl

In the Marrow

Looking for…


Book cover of Much Too Much Birthday (Maud the Koala)

Linda Whalen Author Of Little Red Rolls Away

From my list on dealing with emotions and change.

Why am I passionate about this?

Often, people don’t understand the emotions of a child. The care and keeping of children have been my life focus as a mother of five, 4-H leader, Kindergarten aide, religious education teacher, and owner of Whalen’s Country Childcare. I hold dear the awe and wonder seen in the eyes of a child and hope to forever be inspired by the sight. Since my new book, Little Red Rolls Away was released, I have presented at schools, libraries, appeared in newspapers, magazines, and been featured on CBS Good Day Sacramento. Endorsements include filmmaker Joey Travolta, Founder and Creative Director, Inclusion Films, a company that aims to teach the art of filmmaking to people with developmental disabilities.

Linda's book list on dealing with emotions and change

Linda Whalen Why did Linda love this book?

The title explains the way children often feel…much too much! We tend to overdo it when wanting to give our children too much of most things. Children become overwhelmed as Maud did. This book is a wonderful way to show children how this can happen and help them understand more isn’t always better and sometimes a break is best. I especially like the note to caregivers in the back.

By J.E. Morris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Much Too Much Birthday (Maud the Koala) 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?

Maud the koala can't wait for her birthday party--until everything starts to feel way too overwhelming.

Maud is having a birthday party in her backyard, and she's invited her friends--all fifty-six of them--to celebrate with her. She's not worried, though. After all, you can never have too much birthday! But when the guests arrive and the party gets packed, she isn't so sure. What will happen if Maud can't bear her own birthday?

J. E. Morris's charming illustrations and comic-like panels make this a unique format with a narrative style perfect for storytime.


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