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About Us


 Our History

Compassion Books began as a small mailorder catalog and conference booksale business in 1981. In our early days the findings were sparse. Today we carry nearly 400 carefully chosen and professionally reviewed titles. Our founder, Donna O'Toole, a nationally known speaker, counselor, storyteller, and educator, has over 40 years experience working in hospice and educational service. She guided Compassion Books with insight and a vast store of experience and expertise until...

Our Philosophy

Grief is an individual process with a communal outcome. As C.S. Lewis once wrote, "We grieve to know we are not alone."

Our work at Compassion Books is to validate the communal aspect of grief. We believe materials that are accurately written and visually well presented can help us grow in benevolent awareness, maturity, understanding and in compassionate action.

And so we do this work - to remind ourselves and others that growth through grief is possible - that we are not alone.

Our Mission Statement

We offer exceptional materials to people of all ages to help them grow through the losses they experience in life. We honor people of various beliefs and strive to be sensitive to the differences and similarities in their meaning-making process. Our mailorder collection offers hope but it will never deny that the journey through grief may be painful and hard to bear. We offer information on our materials to all that ask. As a company and as individuals we strive to practice kindness, compassion and peaceful action.

Our Staff

We are dedicated people who care about and are pleased with the work we do. We are proud to participate in choosing the materials of Compassion Books. We know our materials and are glad to assist you in making choices that best fit your particular need.

We pledge to celebrate life as often and as fully as we are able and to cherish the words of Gretel Ehrlich who wrote:

“Finally the lessons of impermanence taught me this:
loss constitutes an odd kind of fullness; despair
empties into an unquenchable appetite for life.”



Donna O’Toole,
M. A.

Our founder and inspiration, Donna passed away in 2017 after a many years of living with multiple chronic health conditions. She worked with grief and loss for more than thirty years, and was a member of IWG and ADEC.

Bruce Greene,

I have been with Compassion Books for more than 20 years, and have watched our collection grow from a couple dozen resources to nearly 400 titles The death of my father when I was a young boy had a deep impact on my life. and at that time, there was little help or understaning available. I’m glad to be doing this work for myself and for others.

Diane Nettles, B.A., LMBT

Since 1999, I have worked with individuals at the end of their lives. Right livelihood only one mile from home! I am looking forward to the next ten years of helping Bruce match Compassion Books' resources to our customers' needs.


Our Compassion Books Printed Catalog


We are happy you have found our website. Please tell others about our work. Our website contains our complete collection of materials  and is updated on an ongoing basis. The number and scope of our materials make Compassion Books one of the world’s largest mail order collections offering this subject matter.

Once a year we print a paper version of the Compassion Books Catalog. Being conscious of the expense of paper catalogs, printing costs, and natural resources. Our website helps to relieve these conserns. However if a physical version of our catalog might help you or someone you know, we are happy to send one to you. You can also add an address to our mailing list and reseive our new catatlog each year.

To order a catalog or join the mailing list, please call us at 800-970-4220, fax your request to 828-675-9687, or                               email it to