OK, this one is quick and desperate, and responds to Kate in the comments who says this:
Taking my sensitive 11 year old to see her grandmother next week. She is in advanced stages of cancer. I wish there were some sort of short book I could read to her about death and dying that won't terrify her. I read a great picture book about the death of a beloved family pet (Up In Heaven), but a dog is not the same thing as a grandmother.
Wow. First, I am so sorry that your mother, or mother-in-law, is dying. You have our profound sympathy. As for a book for your girl? Well, what strikes me is that she's 11. That's too old for a picture book on what happens when we die; it's maybe even too old for anything so straightforward as a "The Year My Grandmother Died" sort of book. So I say, if possible, tell the truth but tell it slant, you know? You don't need to tell her about death. Maybe just bring along that book that offers a profound sort of comfort, maybe something she loved when she was younger, something safe and small and warm, that offers up the hope that all of life isn't quite as sucky as this, that there's some sort of solace somewhere. For me? That would maybe be Ballet Shoes. Or Paddle to the Sea. Or, now that I'm an actual grown up, Patrick O'Brian's Jack Aubrey novels, which are filled with benevolent light.
But for her? Whatever brings her peace. And maybe, if things are OK for this, something to read aloud to her grandma. My grandma was profoundly comforted by hearing the stories of Isaac Babel read aloud to her as she was dying. (But not by me. She said my voice was too squeaky, my dad had to read them.) So maybe fairy tales?
This is all very idiosyncratic, though. Does anyone out there have any suggestions for this situation? Put them in the comments.