The most recommended loss books

Who picked these books? Meet our 159 experts.

159 authors created a book list connected to loss, and here are their favorite loss books.
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Book cover of The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole

Sarah Marie Jette Author Of What the Wind Can Tell You

From my list on for siblings and scientists.

Who am I?

I’ve been an elementary school teacher for 14 years. In that time, I’ve read a lot of children’s books. In my classroom, science is one of my students’ favorite subjects. Though they love fantasy and magic, they are inspired by the power of science. Each of the books I’ve recommended is part of my classroom library, is used in a read-aloud or as a mentor text in writing lessons. My students connect with the characters and experience the marvels of science along with them. These books are some of their favorites.

Sarah's book list on for siblings and scientists

Sarah Marie Jette Why did Sarah love this book?

Stella is grieving the death of her father. When a black hole follows her home one day, Stella is able to hide away all the memories she hopes to forget. In this touching and funny tale, Stella and her brother come together in their sadness. Yes, it is a story of grief, but it is also a story centered on science. I learned a lot about black holes in this book and there’s enough space jokes and puns to keep all space nerds laughing for days.

By Michelle Cuevas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

"So wait," said Cosmo. "If we go in that door, we might exit on the other side of the galaxy?"'
"I don't know," I said. "But we currently live in a tub in a black hole, so what do we have to lose?"

When eleven-year-old space mad Stella Rodriguez shows up at NASA to request that her recording be included in Carl Sagan's Golden Record, something unexpected happens: A black hole follows her home, and sets out to live in her house as a pet. The black hole swallows everything he touches, which is challenging to say the least -…


Book cover of Ten Beautiful Things

Kaitlyn Odom Fiedler Author Of What Now? Finding Renewed Life in Christ After Loss

From my list on a biblical view of death and grief.

Who am I?

Navigating life with grief has been a lifelong journey for me ever since I was a young child. At 8 years old, I was in a car accident which took the lives of my parents and four of my siblings. Since then, I’ve faced a huge mountain in front of me – How do you move forward in life when you have lost everything? This journey led me to now share my story of childhood loss and healing in hopes of helping others. As a counselor, I’m a huge mental health advocate and love books which tackle hard emotions that help readers of all ages feel more understood and equipped for their journey ahead.

Kaitlyn's book list on a biblical view of death and grief

Kaitlyn Odom Fiedler Why did Kaitlyn love this book?

Griffin does a wonderful job in this beautiful children’s book.

She guides the reader through a heartfelt tale of a little girl moving to live with her grandmother. On the car ride, they both search for 10 beautiful things. This book will pull at the heartstrings as, together, they find beauty in little things around them on their car ride, and it ends with the pair naming the sweetest, most beautiful thing of all.

As someone who has experienced childhood loss (loss as a child), I highly recommend this beautiful story for any child going through a loss or big change in their life that might have them feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or closed off.

By Molly Griffin, Maribel Lechuga (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ten Beautiful Things as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A heartfelt story of changing perspectives, set in the Midwest. Ten Beautiful Things gently explores loss, a new home, and finding beauty wherever you are.

Lily and her grandmother search for ten beautiful things as they take a long car ride to Iowa and Lily's new home with Gran. At first, Lily sees nothing beautiful in the April slush and cloudy sky. Soon though, Lily can see beauty in unexpected places, from the smell of spring mud to a cloud shaped like a swan to a dilapidated barn. A furious rainstorm mirrors Lily's anxiety, but as it clears Lily discovers…


Book cover of All Along You Were Blooming: Thoughts for Boundless Living

Tanmeet Sethi Author Of Joy Is My Justice: Reclaim What Is Yours

From my list on to find joy.

Who am I?

I’ve worked on the frontlines of the hospital, clinic, and delivery rooms for the last 25 years and in global settings after traumatic disasters…As a physician activist, Justice is my act of service. And yet, the moment I found out my young son had a fatal illness, fighting for Justice felt elusive. Until I started fighting for myself. Until I realized that if I walked back toward my unfathomable pain, I could find something revolutionary... Joy. Now, this work of finding Joy has become my most potent medicine for my patients and myself. It is my mission to make sure everyone knows Joy is accessible. No matter what. 

Tanmeet's book list on to find joy

Tanmeet Sethi Why did Tanmeet love this book?

I love this book of poetry because it is so easy to pick up and read one poem like a meditation.

Each one invites the reader to explore Joy in their surroundings and inner world as something that is so accessible to them. I use it almost as a mirror to reflect back to myself my most powerful and Joyful capacity when I have forgotten it. It’s a perfect book for anyone’s bedside or altar. 

By Morgan Harper Nichols,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Along You Were Blooming as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A celebration of hope. An encounter with grace. A restoration of the heart. A healing of wounds. An anthem of freedom. This illustrated collection of poetry and prose invites you to stumble into the sunlight and delight in the wild and boundless grace you've been given.

Popular Instagram poet and bestselling author Morgan Harper Nichols gives you the ultimate love letter to your mind, heart, soul, and body, reminding you:

There is a purpose in every season No matter how you want to race through this day or run away from this place, you are invited to live fully-right here,…


Book cover of Dog Songs: Poems

Amy Lee Kite Author Of Goodbye, Gus

From my list on 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. 

Amy's book list on children and adults coping with the loss of a pet

Amy Lee Kite Why did Amy 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 End of the Affair

David L. Robbins Author Of War of the Rats

From my list on love and war and describing both battlefields.

Who am I?

I’ve penned (so far) seventeen novels, most set during some historical conflict or other, all of them revolving around intense personal relationships (loyalty, love, betrayal, those sorts of profound truths). I tend to read the sorts of books I wish to write. I also teach creative writing at a university (VCU); I tell my students that if they want to really know what a character is made of, shoot at them or have them fall in love. In my own work, I do both.

David's book list on love and war and describing both battlefields

David L. Robbins Why did David love this book?

Set during the London Blitz, I found this to be Greene’s most vivid novel.

His characters reel in the face of the power of Hitler’s onslaught on London, yet cling to the possibilities of love, even through the carnage and loss, until the wreckage of London overtakes them in a beautiful and tragic conclusion.

By Graham Greene,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The End of the Affair as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY MONICA ALI

The love affair between Maurice Bendrix and Sarah, flourishing in the turbulent times of the London Blitz, ends when she suddenly and without explanation breaks it off. After a chance meeting rekindles his love and jealousy two years later, Bendrix hires a private detective to follow Sarah, and slowly his love for her turns into an obsession.


Book cover of The Sun Still Rises: Surviving and Thriving After Grief and Loss

Autumn Toelle-Jackson Author Of Boldly Into the Darkness: Living with Loss, Growing with Grief & Holding on to Happiness

From my list on to read when grieving.

Who am I?

When I had multiple miscarriages in my late 20’s, I found I had no idea how to handle my grief. I didn’t even recognize I was grieving. A few years later when my husband died I was thrust into grief and a life I had never wanted. It took me months to learn how to survive, and a lot longer to find the resources I needed to live a happy life despite my loss. Finding resources that would help became important to me, and a handful of books have stayed with me long after I read them. I hope these books help you as much as they helped me.

Autumn's book list on to read when grieving

Autumn Toelle-Jackson Why did Autumn love this book?

This book is the first one I read after losing my husband. I was 31-years old, with a toddler and a newborn, and I had no idea how I was going to survive the rest of my life, better yet make it a life worth living. In The Sun Still Rises: Surviving and Thriving After Grief and Loss, author Shawn Doyle shares his story of loss, but more than that he shares hope with his reader. Hope that there is still light in the darkness of grief. At that point in my loss, hope was what I needed most. However, he didn't stop there, he also provided practical tips and suggestions about dealing with both the logistical matters that come with loss, as well as providing emotional support. This book helped me live my best life, in spite of my loss.

By Shawn Doyle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Coping with the loss of a loved one is perhaps the most difficult and devastating challenge any of us face in our lifetime.

The grief you feel hurts more than physical pain.

And yet, somehow, life is still going on around you.

Is it even possible to survive, let alone thrive, after such grief and loss?

In this book, Shawn Doyle shares his heart-wrenching personal story of bereavement to supply you with the tools, tips, and techniques for dealing with loss and grief on an hourly, daily, and weekly basis.

This is not a predictable five stages of grief book.…


Book cover of The Unfortunates

Kieran Setiya Author Of Life Is Hard: How Philosophy Can Help Us Find Our Way

From my list on finding solidarity in suffering.

Who am I?

I am a professor of philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where I work on ethics and related questions about human agency and human knowledge. My interest in adversity is both personal and philosophical: it comes from my own experience with chronic pain and from a desire to revive the tradition of moral philosophy as a medium of self-help. My last book was Midlife: A Philosophical Guide, and I have also written about baseball and philosophy, stand-up comedy, and the American author H. P. Lovecraft.

Kieran's book list on finding solidarity in suffering

Kieran Setiya Why did Kieran love this book?

One of the most profound attempts to capture grief in prose is due to the British experimental novelist B. S. Johnson. Published in 1969, The Unfortunates is a book in a box: twenty-seven booklets to be read in any order, except for “First” and “Last.” Its narrator is a journalist returning to a city he last knew seven years ago, visiting an old friend, Tony, who later died of metastatic cancer. The visit triggers memories that arrive in random order, scattered through the day’s events as chance dictates. Grief has no narrative order, the book in a box seems to warn; and any closure is temporary. Grief can be opened and reshuffled again and again. 

By B.S. Johnson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

B.S. Johnson's lost classic has been showered with praise: New York Magazine named The Unfortunates one of their Ten Best Books of 2008, listed in The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2008, and The Los Angeles Times declared it to be "his most daring work."

A legendary 1960s experiment in form, The Unfortunates is B. S. Johnson's famous "book in a box," in which the chapters are presented unbound, to be read in any order the reader chooses. A sportswriter, sent to a Midlands town on a weekly assignment, finds himself confronted by ghosts from the past when…


Book cover of A Monster Calls

Linh S. Nguyễn Author Of No Place Like Home

From Linh's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Cambridge University researcher Arts-based educator

Linh's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Linh S. Nguyễn Why did Linh love this book?

Targeted towards children, A Monster Calls is a classic novel for all ages. It is a moving and complex portrayal of grief through a fantasy lens.

I cried so much reading this book and faced hard truths about loss, just as the main character did in coming to terms with his mother’s passing.

By Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd, Jim Kay (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked A Monster Calls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

The bestselling novel and major film about love, loss and hope from the twice Carnegie Medal-winning Patrick Ness.

Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don't quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there's a visitor at his window. It's ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth. Patrick Ness takes the final idea of the late, award-winning writer Siobhan Dowd and weaves an extraordinary and heartbreaking…


Book cover of The One-In-A-Million Boy

Roisin Meaney Author Of Life Before Us

From my list on the messiness of life and love.

Who am I?

I’m Irish, writing since 2001. I’m fascinated by the impulses that propel us towards or away from another person, the ways we are hurt or charmed or offended or beguiled by another, and how we react to all of the above. I’m not married or in a relationship myself; somewhere along the way I realised that I’m happier alone, and I think it puts me in a good position to observe the behaviours of friends and family, and sometimes strangers (yes, I’m that person sitting nearby on the train or at the airport or in the cafe, tapping furiously into her laptop as you converse with your partner).

Roisin's book list on the messiness of life and love

Roisin Meaney Why did Roisin love this book?

I’m recommending this because it will break your heart, and everyone needs that experience now and again with a book. It tells the story of a unique and unlikely love that blossoms slowly between a 104-year-old woman (whom you will learn to adore) and a young boy scout who calls to her house to fulfill one of his tasks. There’s a tragic twist early on that introduces us to the boy’s parents, and there are some lovely subsequent turns in this most magical tale. It’s the first Monica Wood book that I read, but I must hunt her down and read more. 

By Monica Wood,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The One-In-A-Million Boy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

She may be 104 years old, but Ona Vitkus is on a mission and it's all because of THE ONE-IN-A-MILLION-BOY...

Monica Wood's unforgettable novel about a boy in a million and the 104-year-old woman who saves his family is not to be missed by readers who loved THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY, ELIZABETH IS MISSING or THE SHOCK OF THE FALL.

'A lovely, quirky novel about misfits across generations' Daily Mail

'A bittersweet story about finding friendship in the most unlikely of places' Good Housekeeping.

The story of your life never starts at the beginning. Don't they teach you…


Book cover of Jane: A Murder

Madison Davis Author Of The Loved Ones: Essays to Bury the Dead

From my list on honest portrayals of death, grief, and mourning.

Who am I?

Before I turned twenty-five, I lost my father to illness, my brother to a car accident, and a cousin to murder. Experiencing this string of tragedies so young profoundly changed me. As a writer, I’ve often worried that my naked grief on the page would come across as soft, cloyingly sentimental, and wholly without bite. Over the years, I have looked to examples of books that deal with death, grief, and mourning with a kind of brutal honesty. I sought out writing that conveyed the reality of loss in all its messiness. Reading these beautiful, honest accounts of grief have always made me feel less alone in mine.

Madison's book list on honest portrayals of death, grief, and mourning

Madison Davis Why did Madison love this book?

Writing about crime is understandably fraught. Some true crime stories are told with genuine care and attention to impact, while others are definitely…not.

In Jane, Nelson finds a way to grapple with the death of her aunt and the impact it is had on her and her family. It was a guiding light for me when I thought about ways to tell an unwieldy story about murder.

Nelson leans on honesty, compassion, and curiosity to stay safely away from the most common true crime traps, and the result is a wonderful, affecting book. 

By Maggie Nelson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Part elegy, part true crime story, this memoir-in-verse from the author of the award-winning The Argonauts expands the notion of how we tell stories and what form those stories take through the story of a murdered woman and the mystery surrounding her last hours.

Jane tells the spectral story of the life and death of Maggie Nelson’s aunt Jane, who was murdered in 1969 while a first-year law student at the University of Michigan. Though officially unsolved, Jane’s murder was apparently the third in a series of seven brutal rape-murders in the area between 1967 and 1969. Nelson was born…