Top Ten Tuesday – Childrens Books Featuring Death


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created over at Broke and the Bookish where every Tuesday, Top Ten things of anything are listed. Todays Top Ten things are:

Top Ten Childrens Books Featuring Death

How I came upon this idea for this TTT is a bit sad. Recently my best friends father passed away and I went to stay with her and her 10 year old sister for two weeks to help them where I could. One such thing was getting the little sister to go to bed (a process that generally didn’t happen till about 12-2am when she finally passed out). One night I was in with her and she wanted me to read her a story and this sparked my horrible struggle of trying to find a good book to read to her that didn’t have a death in the story somewhere. Point is I couldn’t find one and I ended up reading a joke book that made me want to claw my eyes out. So here is the list this week:

1. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. A wonderful story about a magical garden and the joy of life. Starts off with the parents dying.

2. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. This is one really sad story overall really.

3. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Though the father comes back at the end but thats at the end.

4. Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by J.K. Rowling. Do I really need to say anything?

thesecretgarden 9780143106470_custom-2731c2f78c33997fc140863b8479c0e962959117-s6-c30 a little princess harry-potter-sorcerers-stone-cover





5. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. An orphan who gets stuck in the middle of a fight where people are pretty much killing off peoples souls.

6. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. That scene with the horse? Just so devastating.

7. Watership Down by Richard Adams. Rabbits die in this book left right and centre.

northern lights watership down SONY DSC





8. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. Orphan. Lives horrible life with aunts until magic happens.

9. The Bad Beginnings by Lemony Snicket. Nothing about any of these books is happy.

10. Any Disney story ever.

james and the giant peach BadBeginnings disney orphans

And I think thats all I have. I feel like there should be more but they are not coming to mind right at this point.

What did you put on your list this week? Be sure to share!

If you want any of the books listed please click on the thingyami below.



Till Next Time…

30 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday – Childrens Books Featuring Death

  1. A really great list, and the disney comment made me chuckle! When you stop to look at it it’s quite alarming just how many books feature death as a matter of course now. I’m almost more terrified to watch ‘kids’ films now because they always have some sort of tragedy in the first ten minutes.

  2. Oh that’s so sad, sorry to hear about your friend’s father. You sound like such a lovely best friend, I’m sure you’ll help her and her sister through this sad time.

    As for your list, to this day (I’m 31) I haven’t been able to read all of Black Beauty! x

  3. Thank you for sharing this list, and the reason behind it. I hadn’t thought of it before, but YES- so much death in children’s lit and children’s movies! Thanks for stopping by my TTT!

  4. Hi Jazz! Great list! :D I’ve read quite a few of the books on your list and I have to agree. I’m sorry to hear about your best friends father :(
    Amy x

  5. I’m sorry to hear about your best friend’s father, my condolences to her and her family. It’s great they have you around for support.

    This is a great list, and I think it’s true that there really is a lot of death in children’s books. A lot of those books deal with it beautifully, though, and I imagine many of these books have helped a child come to terms with some sort of loss.

    Also I think it’s only in the film of A Little Princess that the father comes back, in the book he definitely dies and Sara’s adopted by her father’s business associate instead. :)

    • And thats what I get for not reading the book! I shall have to fix that :)
      While these books would make ME feel better in the situation there was no doing that for my friends sister. She is a firm believer in denial, and if you even said the word dad you would have her flipping out.

  6. Awesome topic! And you’re absolutely right! It’s so hard to find a happy story with no death in it for kids. And EVERY SINGLE DISNEY story starts with some sad event: Big Hero Six parents are dead and brother dies in fiery explosion, Up wife dies of old age after being unable to have any children, etc…. (those are the ones I’ve watched just recently).

  7. So sorry to hear about your friends father.
    I still haven’t finished reading A Series of Unfortunate Events, and I’m not sure I ever will, but those books are definitely one dark childhood reads. I loved them to pieces, though. Harry Potter is so very sad at some parts, so many people die, mainly after the fourth back.
    Amazing list. :)

  8. Interesting choice of topic, I wonder if the tradition of sad kids’ books stems from the European fairytales? It seems like any Grimm tale character is missing at least one parent. Off the top of my head, the Disney movies of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Robin Hood’ don’t have any deaths in them :)

  9. So sorry to hear about your friends father. You have chosen a very fitting topic and fortunately there are some fantastic books included. Great list!

  10. Great list! I think that character deaths in a children’s books are a great way of teaching children about loss and grief in a way that is easy for them to understand.
    Thanks for visiting :)
    Lauren @ My Expanding Bookshelf

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s