10 Books to Give a Friend Going Through a Hard Time

10 Books to Give a Friend Going Through a Hard Time

What should I say? Chances are this is a question we've all found ourselves asking at one point. If you have friends dealing with loss, loved ones going through ruts, and neighbors fighting illnesses, there are so many times when words feel empty. Even though there's often nothing to say to make things better or change a situation, small acts of love show you care.

Below are ten books that feel like hugs for the soul. Some are funny, others are more serious, and all of them are beautifully written. We hope you find something on this list that helps you show your love and support to those you care about. 🤍 If you have a book you recommend, please let us know in the comments!

 1. Welcome to the Grief Club


One of my friends who recently lost a parent said this was the most thoughtful gift she received. After borrowing her book for a few hours, I can see why. Each page is full of lovely illustrations and words that are relatable and encouraging without being frustratingly optimistic about loss. It's beautiful, wise, and full of empathy. Buy the book.

2. Tiny Beautiful Things


A compassionate collection of advice letters by Cheryl Strayed, this is the kind of book you'll want to buy multiple copies of so you can share it with those you love. Buy the book

3. Home Body


Poems about love, acceptance, and embracing change, this collection is intensely personal and full of wise words about self-discovery. Buy the book.

4. World Travel: An Irreverent Guide

Sometimes a book about places far away can help us see our lives a little differently. This book covers so many destinations, including Canada, Cambodia, Brazil, France, and many more places that will inspire bucket lists. Perhaps it will be a reminder to a loved one to "zoom out" and feel renewed by the many wonders of this world. Buy the book

5. Year of Yes

This memoir by the incredible Shonda Rhimes is a reminder to say "yes" to yourself even when that means saying "no" to others. It's full of humor, compassion, and thoughtful encouragement that anyone could benefit from. Buy the book.

6. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

I was told to read this book by four people, and since I've read it, I've recommended it to at least eight! It's a wonderfully written memoir that has so many important life lessons but one that stood out to me was: the power of self-talk. (I only wish I read it sooner.) Buy the book.

7. Big Magic

If you have a loved one who could use a reminder to pursue their dreams and tap into their creativity, this book is exactly what they need. Elizabeth Gilbert’s advice is full of uplifting anecdotes and thoughtful insight. Anyone with a lingering idea will feel moved to do something about it. Buy the book.

8. Adulthood is a Myth


Sarah Andersen’s writing and illustrations capture the equally awkward and relatable moments of being a human, whether that's finding flaws in selfies or getting sucked into ugly shoe trends. Each story is silly and delightful, and sure to make you smile as you turn the pages. Buy the book

9. Women Holding Things

This is a beautiful book with a simple yet profound purpose: to show women holding things. From a woman holding honey in a garden to a woman holding her hip on a balcony, the images are comforting and lovely and feel extra special as you observe them while holding the book in your hands; a reminder to keep going and maybe let someone help you hold your things along the way. Buy the book

10. Things To Look Forward To

Things to Look Forward To

Perhaps our favorite book to give anyone who could use extra light, this beautiful book by Sophie Blackall is filled with gentle reminders of how much good there is in the world -- even when it doesn't feel like it. The illustrations include "things to look forward to" like holding tea, petting a dog, and hugging a friend. Buy the book.  

Read more book recommendations from the Page Petal community

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