Grief is an Elephant

An imaginative and heartfelt book that reminds us that there is no loss without love.

When Grief first arrives, it is like an elephant—so big that there is hardly room for anything else. But over time, Grief can become smaller and smaller—first a deer, then a fox, a mouse, and finally a flickering firefly in the darkness leading us down a path of loving remembrance.

This lyrical work is an empathetic and comforting balm for anyone who is experiencing grief, be it grieving the loss of a loved one or losses in the world around us.

Chronicle Books (October 2023)


buy the book

"Tender ruminations on loss for the youngest readers.”
-Kirkus Reviews

“Friends, if you do not need this book, grab it for those who do or will. Created by two incredibly tender human beings who both lost their fathers, this picture book speaks to children (and to the child in all of us) who discover the hard way that intense grief is also intense love. The book cannot be described. It needs to be held, explored, and felt. The magnificent creator Tamara Ellis Smith sent me the manuscript after my father died and I carried it with me until it was in tatters. Trust me.”
- Kirsten Cappy, Executive Director, I’m Your Neighbor Books

"Don't save the book until you lose someone you love. Read this book anytime you want a unique storybook to share with those you love.”
- Glenda Cates, Mommies Reviews

"...every child and adult who has experienced grief also will come away believing that in Grief is An Elephant is a story that speaks to the felt experience of loss from another's death, in whatever form grief takes on any given day, on any given page, in the story of its existence, and in a way that makes all of us feel a little more connected to what still lives within and around us.”
- Elizabeth Wilcox, Author Pods

"...its the tone of the book that has to be key here, and the Smith/Whitesides combo gets the tone completely right.”
- Betsy Bird, A Fuse 8 Production

Featured in the New York Times' "Helping a Child Navigate Grief? Open a Picture Book."

Check out my interview on Vermont Public Radio!

48 Hills' "Reading List: 10 books that recently shook us up."

Imagination Soup’s Top 50 Picture Books of 2023.

We are honored to be included in the resource center of Eluna—an organization dedicated to supporting children and families affected by grief and addiction.

Nancy Whiteside’s illustration for Grief is an Elephant was chosen to be a part of the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show 2023.  I am honored to be Nancy’s partner on this book!

Also published in Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, and Turkish.