As a Christian working in the funeral industry, I’ve noticed that there are very few solid, biblical Christian books for kids about death and heaven. At least, they are not very easy to find! As I dug around, I discovered a few absolute gems that are worth adding to your library.
If are a professional such as a pastor, counselor, funeral home employee, etc, you can use these for personal growth or to give out to families going through the death of a loved one. If you are a parent or family member, several of these are ideal as resources to read with kids to help address grief after the death. Other books on this list will help to prepare yourself and your family for something which we will all experience at some point in this life.
The books below are listed alphabetically, by title. Each one has a different emphasis and audience, so I’m not intending to rank these. You’ll find that these books cover a lot of ground. Some answer common questions, others tell stories. Some are biblical expositions for kids, while others help kids address grief from a biblical perspective. There is a time and place for each in a child’s life, and no matter what your current situation is my prayer is that you can use this list to encourage and build up a child in the Lord.
1. Amazing Questions (multiple authors)
The authors of this volume have contributed scholarly commentaries to several well-regarded and biblically faithful series. This volume brings that biblical scholarship to bear in a practical way, to help answer the many and varied questions kids ask about heaven and angels. Questions include wonders such as, Is there a McDonald’s in heaven? What do angels really look like? Did Eve have a belly button? The Amazing Questions Kids Ask series arms parents with thoughtful answers to questions kids ask about God, heaven, and the Bible. Written in kid friendly language, complete with fun illustrations and handy verse references. Available here.
2. Heaven for Kids by Randy Alcorn
Prolific Christian author Randy Alcorn adapts his classic work Heaven for young children. A solid, Biblically-based answer to everyone’s most common questions about heaven and the afterlife, based on years of careful study. Presented in an engaging, reader-friendly style, his conclusions will surprise readers and stretch their thinking about this important subject. Available here.
3. Little Pilgrim’s Progress: From John Bunyan’s Classic by Helen L. Taylor
Fifty-five years ago, Helen L. Taylor took John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and simplified the vocabulary and concepts for young readers while keeping the storyline intact. The result was a classic in itself, which has now sold over 600,000 copies. It’s both a simple adventure story and a profound allegory of the Christian journey through life, a delightful read with a message kids ages 6 to 12 can understand and remember. A new look and fresh illustrations for today’s children enlivens the journey to the Celestial City. Available here.
4. Someday Heaven by Larry Libby
Illustrated by Wayne McLaughlin
Someday Heaven provides biblically-based answers on a topic that is not always easy to explain to a young child. Larry Libby has written many books for children and co-authored several volumes with Joni Earekson Tada, and this contemporary classic for kids comes recommended by Randy Alcorn. The book’s warm, illuminating art (by the talented Wayne McLoughlin) helps to convey each touching story of the future God promises to his children. Help your child discover the answers to the wonders of God’s mysterious and glorious home with Someday Heaven. Available here.
5. Someone I Loved Died by Christine Harder Tangvald
Illustrated by Anne Kennedy
This book helps young children understand why they are sad how to talk to God about it. Using age-appropriate words and solid biblical truth that understands a child’s hurting heart, the book includes interactive resources to help little ones create a memory book of the loved one’s life. Available here.
6. Tales of the Kingdom by David & Karin R. Mains
Book One of a Trilogy
In this classic and much beloved allegorical tale, we follow the exploits of Scarboy and his life in the Enchanted City, where the “imperfect” are cast away and orphans are enslaved. Scarboy manages to escape the evil Enchanter to safety in Great Park, but has yet to confront his greatest fear-and he’ll need enormous courage to conquer it! Through twelve stories that build upon each other yet work individually as bedtime stories, the authors display wonderful truths about God, mankind, sin, the need for a savior, and the beauty of God’s grace in the gospel. All this is done in a way that enthralls young and old readers alike. Though not specifically about death, the stories have a similar value as fairy tales in addressing the common fears and desires of all people, and provides pointers towards our need for redemption and God’s grace. Highly recommended. Available here.
7. Tell Me About Heaven by Randy Alcorn
Illustrated by Ron DiCianni
Ten-year-old Jake struggles to understand his grandma’s death. But when he spends two weeks at his grandfather’s home, he is able to receive answers to his questions about Heaven. The two men – one young, one old – fish, watch the stars, and take long walks, and all the while Grandpa shares what the Bible says about the reality and beauty of Heaven. As Jake learns the truth about Heaven, he begins to better understand and accept his grandmother’s death. Available here.
8. There’s A Party In Heaven by Gary Bower
Illustrated by Jan Bower
Move over Wonderland, and step aside Oz. There’s nothing make-believe about Heaven, the Ultimate Land of Surprises. Not sad or somber, this beautifully illustrated and fluidly rhyming book is a collection of joy, comfort, and hope featuring over 40 Bible promises. A book is a celebration for every reader of every stage of life. Available here.
9. What Happened When Grandma Died? by Peggy Barker
Illustrated by Patricia Mattozzi
Beautiful illustrations with a biblical explanation of what happens to the body and soul of a believer after death. From one reviewer: “This book was one of many that was brought to our family by Hospice workers. This is the only one out of the pile that we read to our children. It explains that while on this earth Grandma had a home that she loved, family and friends (relationships) and a body that eventually began to hurt and wear out. When she died she received what the Bible promises to believers, a new Heavenly home, a relationship with Jesus and a body that has no pain. The Bible verses that state these promises are worked into the story. This was the perfect book for our family.” Available here.
10. What Happens When We Die
Illustrated by Eira Reeves
What happens when we die? Does it hurt? The thought of dying can make any child sad and scared. This simple but profound book helps kids understand why people die – and what God has in store for them in heaven. Carolyn Nystrom has authored children’s books, LifeGuide bible studies, and co-authored several books with J.I. Packer and Mark Noll. Available here.
Further reading for kids
Check out our list of 101 Classic Books to Help Children Grieve. These include books from a wide variety of perspectives, and include classic chapter books, teen lit, workbooks, pet loss, and much more.
Resources for grown-ups
- Heaven by Randy Alcorn. It’s a big book, but solidly biblical and completely readable. The #1 resource for a Scriptural foundation of what we should believe about heaven.
- Homeward Bound: Building an Attractive Christ-centred Family on Eternal Principles by Edward Hartman. Written during the time the author’s young wife Amy was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After Amy died from that brain tumor, all the flowers at the funeral did not come with a card saying ‘with our condolences’ but with the phrase ‘welcome to your new home’ – a phrase Amy picked out herself.
- Heaven: Your Real Home by Joni Eareckson Tada
- When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty by Joni Eareckson Tada
- Walking With God Through Pain And Suffering by Timothy Keller
- Safe in the Arms of God: Truth from Heaven About the Death of a Child by John MacArthur
- The Glory of Heaven: The Truth about Heaven, Angels, and Eternal Life by John MacArthur
- No Tears in Heaven by C.H. Spurgeon
- A Sure Guide to Heaven by Joseph Alleine (Puritan Paperbacks)
- Lessons from a Hospital Bed by John Piper
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