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Suggested reading list

Reading Suggestions

Our librarian, Mary Hartley has put together the suggested reading list below – her personal ‘picks’ of helpful and supportive books.

All these books can be borrowed from our Postal library.

If you purchase any of these books from Amazon, please can we ask you to sign up to Easy Fundraising (choosing The Compassionate Friends as the beneficiary) and go to the Amazon site through there. You can find more information about how we raise money in this way here. This costs you nothing and every time you shop online at Amazon and almost 3000 other online retailers, our charity receives a donation from the seller.

Or buy the books through Amazon Smile and choose The Compassionate Friends as your charity. Thank you.

K - available for kindles or similar device
AD - available as an audio download
AB - available as an audio book
TCF- for sale from our website

Some of these books are out of print, and some of them are horrendously expensive, but we have them all in the library.


Upright with Knickers On: surviving the death of a child by Gina Claye (TCF)

Aspects of Loss by Gill Hartley (TCF)

Bereaved Parents and their Continuing Bonds by Catherine Seigal (K, TCF)

Knowing why changes nothing by Eva Lager with Sasha Wagner (A mixture of prose and poetry by 2 mums who lost children. Eva’s daughter died by suicide).

Always with You by Gloria Hunniford. (Her 2nd book not the 1st) (K)

For the Love of Mike: and bereavement columns by Anne Hilary Phillips (TCF)

A Manual for Heartache by Cathy Rentzenbrink (K, AD, TCF)

Beyond Tears by Ellen Mitchell (K)

Holding onto Love by Chuck Collins.(K)

Living in the Mourning Light by Andrea Corrie (K, TCF, AB)

Dear Parents by Joy Johnson

Bearing the Unbearable by Joanne Cacciatore (K, TCF)

Grieving is Loving by Joanne Cacciatore (K, TCF)

It’s ok that you’re not ok by Megan Devine (K, AB, AD)

Permission to Mourn: A New Way to do Grief by Tom Zuba (K)

Becoming Radiant: a new way to do life following the death of a beloved by Tom Zuba

One Step at a Time: mourning a child by Betty Madill

The other side of complicated grief: hope in the midst of despair by Rhonda O’Neill RN (K)

The PTSD Sourcebook by Glenn R Schiraldi (K)

Legacies from Grief by Freddie Bagley



By Adina Wrobleski (whose daughter died by suicide) ----a) Suicide survivors: - A guide for those left behind.
B) Suicide: why? 85 questions and answers about suicide c) Suicide of a child. (K-only c)

Losing a Child, explorations in grief by Linda Hurcombe (Linda’s daughter died by suicide but this book is helpful for all parents, it’s full of good advice)

My Son, My son: A guide to healing after death, loss or suicide by Iris Bolton with Corin Michell

Searching for my Estrella Maili (rebuilding my life after the death of my daughter by Gisela Castillo de Lujan

Do they have bad days in heaven? Surviving the suicide loss of a sibling by Michelle Linn-Gust.

His Bright Light by Danielle Steel (This is a non-fiction book about the author’s son who suffered from bi-polar disease and died from suicide.) (K, AD)

No Time To Say Goodbye by Carla Fine (AD)

I’ll write your name on every beach: A mother’s quest for comfort, courage and clarity after suicide loss by Susan Auerbach (K)



See You Soon by Philippa Skinner (K, we also have an audio book, very kindly recorded by the author, available from the library)

Junkie Buddha by Diane Esguerra (K)

Ben: diary of a heroin addict by Anne Rogers (K)

Lukelove: my boy, my grief, my journal by Sheila Scott

Mum Can You Lend Me Twenty Quid? By Elizabeth Burton-Phillips (K, AD)

More than you were by Christine Thatcher

Am I still a mother?: surviving life’s cruellest tragedy-twice by Helen Bouchami (K)

They Are So Much More: expressions of love and grief by members of TCF



Surviving a sibling: discovering life after loss by Scott Masterley

Letters to Sara: the agony of adult sibling loss by Anne McCurry

The Last Act of Love: the story of my brother and his sister by Cathy Rentzenbrink (K, AD)

The Day That Went Missing by Richard Beard (K)

The Web of Grief by Rhiannon Jones

From a Clear Blue Sky: surviving the Mountbatten bomb by Timothy Knatchbull (whose twin brother Nicky died) (K, AB)

Not That Kind of Love by Clare Wise and Greg Wise (K, AD)

The Empty Room: understanding sibling loss by Elizabeth de Vita Raeburn

An Empty Chair: living in the wake of a sibling’s suicide by Sara swan Miller

Living Without Your Twin by Betty Jean Case

The Lone Twin: understanding twin bereavement and loss by Joan Woodward



I Miss My Sister by Sarah Courtauld and Holly Surplice

The Sad Book by Michael Rosen

Water Bugs and Dragonflies by Doris Stickney

Let’s Talk About When Someone Dies by Molly Potter (K)

Are You Sad Little Bear? By Rachel Rivett (K)



When A Grandchild Dies: what to do, what to say, how to cope. By Nadine Galinsky (K)

Grandparents Cry Twice: help for bereaved grandparents by Mary Lou Reed.

Forgotten Grief: a grandmother’s struggle to cope after the loss of her grandson by Ann Arnold

Forgotten Tears: a grandmother’s journey through grief by Nina Bennett



A Song For Jenny: A mother’s story of love and loss by Julie Nicholson (whose daughter died in the 7/7 attacks) (K, also made into a film available from prime video)

For the love of Julie by Ann Ming (K)

An Ordinary Murder by Lesley Moorhead

Tim, An Ordinary Boy by Colin and Wendy Parry

Goodbye Dearest Holly by Kevin Wells (although the Soham murders were horrific Holly’s dad is basically a positive person and I came away from this book with the feeling that his family had been neither defeated nor destroyed by the man who’d taken their daughter and sister from them) (K)



When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner (This author is a rabbi whose son died at the age of 14 from the premature ageing disease. He uses his knowledge of theology to try to understand why God would do such a thing to him.) (K, AB)

On Life After Death by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (a doctor whose work with sick and dying children made her certain life continues after physical death)

The Truth in the Light: an investigation of over 300 near death experiences by Peter Fenwick and Elizabeth Fenwick

Raymond Moody has written quite a few books on the subject of Near Death Experiences, including ‘Life after Life’. (some are K or AD)

Candles on the Ganges by Peter Upton (K)

If the Spirit Moves You: life and love after death by Justine Picardie (k, AB)

Heaven Therapy: insights into the afterlife by Ross Bartlett (K)

Proof of Heaven: a neurosurgeon’s journey into the afterlife by Ebal Alexander (K, AB, AD)



Don’t Let Them Tell You How To Grieve by Gina Claye (K, TCF)

Forget-Me-Not Poems: A collection of poetry honouring our children gone too soon edited by David Bransby (TCF)

The Swallow, the Owl and the Sandpiper: words of courage, wisdom and spirit compiled by Claire Maitland.(K)

A Broken Heart Still Beats by Anne McCracken and Mary Semel (this is actually a compilation of poetry and prose from famous people whose children have died through the ages)

A Painted Lady by Angela Mary Stone

Selected Poems by Michael Rosen (K)

Give Sorrow Words by Susan Walter


BOOKS FOR FATHERS (and mothers too)

Fireflies by David Morell: a father’s classic tale of love and loss. (this is an unusual book which blends fact and fiction but the feedback is always very positive from readers.) (K)

Kadian Journal by Thomas Harding; a father’s journal following the sudden death of his young son. (K, AD, TCF)

Against the Dying of the Light: a father’s journey through grief by Leonard Fein (K)

One for Sorrow by Alan Hargrave (K)

Dear Charlie: Letters to a lost daughter by Reg Thompson (K)

Losing a Child and the Grieving Experience by Bruce Watt (K)

Eggshells by Bryan Clover (TCF)

Memories of Max: a father’s story by Allan Bachanan (K)



The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood (K, AB)

Over by Margaret Forster (K, AB)

Drift by Jenny Alexander (K)

The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler (K, AD)

Sister by Rosamund Lupton (K, AD)

Shadow Child by Libby Purves (K, AB)



The Death of a Child: Reflections for grieving parents by Elaine E Stillwell

Relative Grief by Clare Jenkins and Judy Merry (K)
This isn’t just about the death of children, although that is included, but it’s good because there are thoughts about each death from various members of the family.

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