'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 10 March 2021

Guest Review: 5 Brilliant Picture Books to Teach Children About Grief, Happiness and Love by Laura Reid

Some of these picture books are new and some of them are old favourites, but they all share a common theme - love.

Whether you’re coping with the loss of a family member or looking for new ways to teach your kids about kindness, these books tell beautiful tales about loving others.

1. Are You Sad, Little Bear? by Rachel Rivett

This is a lovely picture book aimed at young children, which hopes to teach them about accepting and coming to terms with loss.

After Little Bear loses his Grandmother Bear, his mother suggests he asks his woodland friends what loss means to them. By asking his companions about their own feelings, Little Bear is comforted and finds a sense of hope for the future without his grandma in it.

The beautiful illustrations and gentle storyline are a perfect balm for children coming to terms with the loss of a loved one.

2. Have You Filled a Bucket today? by Carol McCloud

Positioned as a daily happiness guide for kids, this heartwarming book is a brilliant way to teach children about being kind and being rewarded in return.

The metaphor of filling up a bucket runs through the whole story. By filling up other people’s buckets, the little girl teaches us how easy it is to spread happiness through small acts of kindness. Making other people smile makes her happy to - as she says, 'my bucket is full, yours is full too'.

3. The Invisible String by Patrice Karst

In this bestselling picture book, a mother tells her two young children that they are all connected by an invisible string. This invisible string is made of love, and it means that you are connected to your loved ones no matter where they are.

It’s the ideal book for young children who have lost loved ones to illness, whose parents are separated or whose friends have moved far away.

4. The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers

Oliver Jeffers’ illustrations are absolutely beautiful and make this a really special picture book about love and loss.

The little girl in this story was once delighted with the world around her but, after losing someone she loves, she withdraws into herself and stops noticing the beauty of the world. After putting her heart away in a bottle to keep it safe, will she be able to come back to it again?

This tale is poignant yet simple, tackling the difficult topic of grief with simple prose and elegant pictures.

5. The Jar of Happiness by Alisa Burrows

Meg keeps the recipe for happiness in a jar. The jar is filled with smells like biscuits, chocolate ice cream and sunshine and Meg uses it to make her friends and family happy. One day Meg loses the jar and, in her search for it, discovers new ways to spread and feel happiness.

This simple yet effective story will help teach children that there isn’t just one way to be happy and that happiness can be found in all sorts of places. 

Laura Reid is a Content Writer and English Literature graduate who now works at Tutor House, an online platform for families looking for experienced tutors. She loves all things book-related, and is passionate about making education and reading accessible to all.