The Sad Panda Collection

Dr. Kristie Polk wrote these interactive books to help children through grief. Each of these books can be used alone, or with a Bereavement Buddy, to offer comfort and healthy direction to grieving children by providing practical help to the adults who care about them.

Sad Panda: An Interactive Book for Grieving Children

8x8 softcover book includes:

  • writing pages to record the growth process

  • space for drawings & special pictures

  • simple illustrations so struggling kids can project and process grief with or through Sad Panda

  • honest language kids can understand

  • meaningful questions to help partnering adults assess their grief

Sad Panda was written for children ages 2-8+. It centers on a simple character, Sad Panda who is sad because someone he loves has died.

  • Illustrations are intentionally sparse to provide plenty of white space for children to draw their own details, to project their feelings onto Panda without any guilt or fear of how a parent might react, and to guard against further feelings of isolation through details in pictures that may not reflect their life or experience.

  • Simple prompts and lined writing pages are provided throughout to help a child process their own thoughts.

  • The 3-fold purpose includes:

    • an opportunity for a child to connect Sad Panda's story to their own in a non-threatening way

    • a meaningful way to create memories for the child to be able to look back on over time and healing

    • a written record for a loving adult/therapist to refer to (whether the child is old enough to write or the adult writes for the child) as needed.

A Companion Guide to Sad Panda

8x8 softcover book includes:

  • developmental stages of children as it influences their ability to process grief

  • how grief shows up in young children

  • how to provide meaningful support

  • immediate and future risks of grief in early childhood

  • early signs that more intervention is needed for future success

A Companion Guide to Sad Panda: For Parents and Other Bereavement Buddies is intended for adults.

  • This “quick reference guide” explains the importance of a "Bereavement Buddy".

  • It details appropriate language and critical ways to communicate along the way to allay fear and rebuild security for a child.

  • It includes a plan for telling a child that a loved one has died, walks through a child's stages of development, discusses how grief may appear in each stage, and even reviews how deep loss affects a child's development.

  • Lined pages and reflection prompts help the Bereavement Buddy to plan, prepare, and process their personalized navigation "plan" in a natural way.

  • The 3-fold purpose includes:

    • confidence-building based on knowledge and preparation

    • a "culture" of assessing and adjusting without judgment to best meet the child's needs

    • support to ensure that a Bereavement Buddy maintains appropriate mental health to continue assisting well.

Reviews From

Amazon Verified Purchasers

“I am thrilled to have…my copy of Sad Panda…there is NOTHING like this book that is as sensitive, as generous as Sad Panda. Not only does it offer insight into what a child may be feeling but offers a platform where any child might speak their truth.

…it offers an avenue to truly serve the child's grief…every news outlet in the country needs to know of this book…it serves to bring incredible healing to thousands who are simply lost in the process of grief.”

Amazon Verified Purchaser

"You can tell the author really had an amazing goal with this book and series. I liked how interactive the book is and how it asks the important, yet simple questions one may need when helping a child deal with grief. We don’t always have the skills at our reach when going through tough things such as loss, but this book is able to convey those things in a simplistic manner. Hoping no child ever has to go through loss, this book will definitely uplift them through it if so. 10/10"

Amazon Verified Purchaser

Sad Panda: The Journal

8.5 x 11 Full-Size Journal guides pre-teens and older grievers through the uncertain and often scary process of mourning.

  • Pages are purposefully not dated to avoid any unhealthy compulsion to write or guilt for not writing

  • Ample space is provided to write out thoughts, feelings, and questions.

  • Special space is provided to include pictures, drawings, and other special memories to help young grievers find ways to connect and bring their loved ones along without fear of "forgetting"

  • Pages allow spaces to save memories and encouragements, write inspiring quotes from their loved one or others, and even record questions and address fears

  • Prompts are repeated cyclically throughout the journal to provide visual progress of growth as the user looks back on previous writings

  • Contact pages are included to keep track of their support system

Sad Panda Plushie

14" Plush, this tangible Bereavement Buddy helps provide stability and comfort for young children adjusting to a new life as they grieve the loss of a parent or close loved one.


"Panda knows it's normal for sad things to make us sad.
All feelings are okay - happy, joyful, angry, frightened, and mad."

-Sad Panda, The Interactive Book for Grieving Children

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