8 Books to Give a Friend Going Through a Hard Time

What should I say? This is a question I've found myself asking a lot lately. With 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, I do think small acts of love show you care.

Below are eight 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 has received from a co-worker. 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

Read more book recommendations from the Page Petal community

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