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"As a mom to an elementary age daughter who sometimes has questions about illness and death, this book helped frame those topics in an age appropriate and encouraging way. Definitely a book we will keep on our shelf to help our children through loss and grief. Plus, the pages and storyline are beautiful and thoughtful."

- Emily T., Idaho

Watch the book trailer

Eight-year-old Lulu loves her Grandma so much!

But after getting sick with cancer, Grandma can’t go outside and play with Lulu. She has to stay in bed. 

Lulu and mom visit Grandma every day they can. In school, Lulu learns how “encouragement” can help someone who is dying. She begins to make and find small “gifts of encouragement” that she can bring to help Grandma smile. 

Little did she know that Lulu, mom, and grandpa would all need to encourage each other once Grandma was gone.

✓✓ BONUS material inside: instructions for a CRAFT PROJECT just like Lulu makes in the book! ✓✓


Based on the author’s own experience of childhood loss, parents and caretakers will find this book a great support in engaging children in difficult conversations about cancer, hospice, death, and grief.

“Lulu Learns Encouragement” can also be a helpful, tangible gift for a family who’s recently experienced loss.

About the Author

Danica Thurber has had a passion for art since she was a little girl. She began to use her art as a mode of therapeutic self-expression after the sudden death of her father at age 12. Now a practicing artist, art teacher, and certified Therapeutic Art Life Coach, Danica, her husband and brother banded together to found Project Grief. A collection of e-courses, resources, and gifts for the recently bereaved, Project Grief is founded on the belief that because loss takes us beyond words, we must go beyond words (to art!) in order to heal.

Danica lives with her husband in beautiful Boise, ID. They share a love for art, a passion to help people, and a deep infatuation with their little black cat, Midnight.

Got the book and loved it?

Click here to check out more book-related resources for kids, parents, and service providers.

You'll find free creative activities, book discussion guides, and helpful articles about children's grief.


"Love, love, love this book! Grab some this will make you cry. Having 3 young kids who lost their papa last year to a horrific battle with cancer-this book really hit home. The writing style paints a very realistic picture and story that so many will be able to relate to. After watching my own children grieve and process their own pain from loss, it’s nice to see that there’s a book out there that they can connect with, making them feel seen, and making their experience feel somewhat normal, as hard as it is."

- Leah W., Washington


"Danica Thurber has written a comforting, inviting book that will help children gain a sense of control over a hard, scary, painful situation – the illness and death of a loved one. Beautifully illustrated, “The Gift of Encouragement” tells the story of how Lulu learns to encourage her dying grandmother and later, her mom and grandfather.

Although written for children, adults will also be inspired by the book’s simple message about how to support and show your love for someone who’s ill or dying. Because Lulu continues to visit her beloved grandmother up until her death, young readers will learn it’s okay to spend time with someone they love, even if she’s losing her hair, too tired to speak or can’t open her eyes."

- Margo Fowkes, Salt Water: Find Your Safe Harbor Grief Resources


"As a Certified Child Life Specialist, I support children coping with loss. I found this book to be inspirational for families. Children who have experienced grief can relate to the story and feel validated. I love the theme of encouragement, the importance of sharing emotions, and continuing to hold the legacy of a loved one after they die."

- Shani Thornton, CCLS, Child Life Mommy


"Mr. Rogers said that whatever is mentionable is manageable, and I believe author Danica Thurber understands this. Based on her own experiences and using her wonderful talents at art and storytelling, GIFT OF ENCOURAGEMENT is an important book for a child navigating grief and its complicated layers.

Through the pictures and measured pace of the story, these feelings become mentionable and manageable for Lulu. I would definitely purchase this book for another child going through the ordeal of losing someone they loved. It is also worth mentioning that the author includes a diversity of characters with many ages and races represented. It truly takes a village. "

- Kendra Stanton Lee, author

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