17 Children’s Book Covers That’ll Make You Cry On Sight

17 Children’s Book Covers That’ll Make You Cry On Sight


Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

Firefly Books

Why it made us cry: Love You Forever is about a mother who holds her son and sings about how much she loves him every night throughout his life. That alone is a pretty tear-jerking concept, if you ask me. The book takes a devastating turn when the boy grows up and the mom becomes too old and weak to hold him. He instead holds her and sings to her for what appears to be the last time — it’s implied that she dies afterward, along with our innocence.


The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

Child Welfare League of America

Why it made us cry: The Kissing Hand was literally published by the Child Welfare League of America to help ease children’s separation anxiety from their parents, if that says enough for you. It’s about a little raccoon who is nervous to go to school, so his mom kisses his palm and tells him, “Whenever you feel lonely and need a little loving from home, just press your hand to your cheek and think, Mommy loves you. Mommy loves you.”


The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein

HarperCollins Publishers

Why it made us cry: Shel Silverstein really knows how to tug at your heartstrings, especially with this book. In case you don’t recall, a friendly circle searches far and wide for their missing piece. When the missing piece is found, it’s a perfect fit — but then the piece begins to grow, and thus the two grow apart, creating a perfect metaphor for people and relationships.


The Story of Babar: The Little Elephant by Jean de Brunhoff

Penguin Random House

Why it made us cry: Although Barbar’s story has a happy ending, it starts out on a disheartening note. A hunter kills Barbar’s mother and he’s forced to flee his happy home in the jungle, ending up in a big city. Not a recommended read for those who don’t tolerate Bambi well.


Bob and Jack: A Boy and His Yak by Jeff Moss


Why it made us cry: This unusual tale about Jack and his beloved pet yak named Bob might seem like a cute, light read, but don’t be fooled. The boy eventually grows up and becomes less interested in his yak and more interested in his friends. Then Bob dies, only for the circle of life to continue with the now–grown-up Jack gifting his daughter with a new yak, who will likely eventually be ignored. RIP, Bob.


The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

HarperCollins Publishers

Why it made us cry: I’m about to cry just thinking about this book. It’s a classic, but the ending is what really gets you. A boy goes to the same tree over and over, asking for things like apples, shade, and, eventually, the tree itself to build a boat. When the boy returns as an old man, the tree stump replies that it has nothing left to give except its stump as a seat. The tree loved the boy so much that it gave everything it had, which is a heavier ending than I expected as a kid.


Why Did Grandpa Die? A Book About Death by Barbara Shook Hazen

Golden Books

Why it made us cry: My mom used to cry reading this book to me, which is understandable because it’s about the circle of life. Molly first learns about death through her grandpa when she finds a butterfly that has died in the garden. When Molly’s grandpa dies, she goes to the garden to talk to her grandpa even though he isn’t here anymore. It’s a tender way to teach kids about death, but that doesn’t mean it’s not sad as hell.


Daddy Doesn’t Live Here Anymore: A Book About Divorce by Betty Boegehold

Golden Books

Why it made us cry: This is a gentle book that takes a look at divorce through a child’s eyes, and it will certainly make you feel all the emotions. Casey doesn’t understand why her parents fight so much. Then her mother tells Casey that her father won’t live with them anymore. While it’s a teachable moment for young kids, it’s a heartbreaking look at what happens when two people fall out of love.


Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White


Why it made us cry: Charlotte the spider is probably the most lovable arachnid in all of literature. And the only arachnid I wouldn’t stomp on. So when she dies after saving Wilbur the pig’s life, it’s safe to say I never recovered.


I’ll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm

Dragonfly Books

Why it made us cry: If you don’t remember this one, then you’ll absolutely need tissues. At its core, it’s about the loss of a pet. A boy and his dog, Elfie, do everything together, and then one day Elfie doesn’t wake up. I don’t think it’s possible to get through this without crying, but it’s full of sweet and sorrowful moments.


Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant

The Blue Sky Press

Why it made us cry: Wow, I’m about to cry just thinking about this one, and if you’ve read it, you know why. The author explores what dog heaven must be like in order to console the reader about losing a beloved pet. In dog heaven, there are grassy fields and kids to play with and biscuits, and they sleep on a comfortable cloud bed. They’re at peace and happy. And now I need to go wipe my eyes because I’m crying all over again.


The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

HarperCollins Publishers

Why it made us cry: This distressing story is all about a stuffed bunny who wants to become a real bunny, but the only way he can do that is to receive love from a human. The problem is, the boy who owns him likes his modern mechanical toys more! That’s just the beginning of this eerie and depressing tale.


Corduroy by Don Freeman

Viking Press

Why it made us cry: At its core, Corduroy is about how all everyone wants is a friend at the end of the day. This book tells the story of a little girl and a stuffed bear who were meant to find each other, and I’m sorry but I can’t type anymore because there are tears falling into my keyboard.


Not Now, Bernard by David McKee

Andersen Press

Why it made us cry: This is a terribly sad picture book about child neglect. When Bernard finds a monster, his mom and dad don’t notice or care. But then the monster eats Bernard, and his parents can’t tell that Bernard is inside the monster. It’s a little traumatizing, but more heartbreaking.


The Possum That Didn’t by Frank Tashlin

Dover Publications

Why it made us cry: This is another picture book that’s a real punch in the gut. A possum is taken from his home in the forest and into the city by a group of people who think he is sad, but the possum isn’t accustomed to city life and just wants to go home.


The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Penguin Random House

Why it made us cry: This book is essentially a metaphor for humans destroying the environment and ruining animals’ lives for their own economic gain. It gave us an introduction to the harsh reality of our actions, but most importantly it showed us that we have the power to change.


No, David! by David Shannon


Why it made us cry: David is a troublemaker who doesn’t like to listen to his mom. She constantly yells the phrase, spoiler alert, “No, David!” He makes a mess around the house until he finally gets in serious trouble and starts crying. In one of the most tender moments I’ve seen in a children’s book, his mom then hugs him and says, “Yes, David, I love you.” We have all been David at some point in our lives, so we know how good it feels to be told we’re loved despite our glaring flaws.

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