6 Great Children’s Books for Families Going Through Separation or Divorce
For families in the midst of a separation or divorce, books can play an important role in encouraging natural conversations with children about their feelings regarding the situation. Reading books together with young children or discussing books with tweens and teens is a great way to start a dialogue and spend time together. Fortunately, there are many great options and many are available to borrow from your local library. Here are some choices you may want to add to your reading list.
Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide for Changing Families
By Laurene Krasny Brown and Marc Brown
This non-fiction book was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and is a great choice for young children. Bright, comic-like illustrations and simple, straightforward language will help readers understand what divorce means, why it happens and how to best cope with everyone’s feelings. This book is available through the St. Catharines Public Library.
By Barbara Abercrombie
This simple, beautifully illustrated book tells the story of a cat who walks out of the woods and into the hearts of two young sisters. The cat returns each night to play with the girls and sleep on their beds. One day the girls discover that Charlie the cat has a completely different home that he visits during the day time and that he, just like them, has two families that love him very much.
Why Do Families Change: Our First Talk About Separation and Divorce
By Dr. Jillian Roberts
Dr. Roberts is a Canadian child psychologist and Why Do Families Change is the fourth book in her Just Enough series. She has written the series to help caregivers broach uncomfortable and challenging subjects with little ones. This book uses a question and answer format, with questions posed in the child’s voice and answers starting simply and becoming gradually more in-depth. It has been written in a way to allow the adult to guide the conversation and additional questions at the back of the book will promote further discussion.
Standing on my own feet: a child’s affirmation of love in the midst of divorce
By Tamara Schmitz
This book offers a positive message to young children that having two homes to live in can be just as great as having two strong feet to stand on. It reinforces three important truths for children going through a separation or divorce: that it’s not their fault, that their parents love them unconditionally, and that emotional strength can be developed through positive thoughts. This book is available through the St. Catharines Public Library.
Book recommendations for older children
It’s Not the End of the World
By Judy Blume
The continued popularity of this classic novel proves that no one writes for tweens and teens quite like Judy Blume. The main character, Karen, is a sixth-grader who wants to stop her parents’ divorce and get things back to the way they used to be. Over the course of the story she realizes that sometimes people who shouldn’t be apart can also be impossible together. This book is available through the St. Catharines Public Library. An audio recording is also available, which could be a great option for families to listen to together in the car.
Mom’s House, Dad’s House for Kids: Feeling at Home in One Home or Two
By Isolina Ricci
Isolina Ricci’s original book, Mom’s House, Dad’s House, has been a helpful guide for divorcing and remarrying parents for more than twenty-five years. Her latest work speaks directly to older kids with approachable advice on the realities of separation, divorce, and living together as a stepfamily. Practical tips, frank answers, easy-to-use lists, “train your brain” ideas, worksheets, and suggestions for things to try when words just won’t come out right will help kids:
-Deal with parents living apart, schedules, and duelling house rules
-Settle comfortably in one home or two
-Stay out of the “miserable middle” when parents fight
-Manage stress, guilt, change, fear, and other feelings
-Stay connected with parents, relatives, and the “right” friends
-Appreciate the gifts (and deal with the gripes) of their new version of family
This book is available at the St. Catharines Public Library.