Reading books with your kids is a great way to introduce new ideas. For divorcing parents, reading together with your kids is a simple way to open the lines of communication. It gives your kids the chance to identify their feelings when they see the characters in the books going through a similar experience. This, in turn, gives them the opportunity to ask questions and give parents a chance to reassure them that they are safe and loved during this difficult time.
Great Kids Books to Help Children Understand Divorce
Recommended for Ages 3 to 7
- Two Homes By Claire Masurel (2003) — Alex is lucky enough to have two homes to call his own. Sometimes he lives at Daddy’s house in the suburbs and other times he lives with Mommy in the city. He knows that he is lucky because he has two rooms, two comfy beds, two favorite chairs and two sets of friends! Best of all, Alex has two parents who love him very much. This book is great for teaching young children that they are loved by both of their parents, no matter where they live.
- It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear By Vicki Lansky (1997) — Koko Bear’s parents have gotten a divorce and now the cub is feeling different types of emotions. Follow her on a journey through understanding her feelings of anger, confusion, guilt and sadness. With advice for both parents and children on each page, this book is perfect for helping children to identify and express their own feelings about the divorce.
- Living with Mom and Living with Dad By Melanie Walsh (2012) — The main character in this book lives partly with her mom and cat, and then partly with her dad. She has two houses, two bedrooms, and two sets of toys. But most importantly, what this clever lift-the-flap book shows kids, is that they are loved in both homes, and that the love is what matters most.
- My Family’s Changing: A First Look at Family Break-Up By Pat Thomas and Lesley Harker (1999) — Written by a psychotherapist, this picture book can help kids ages 4 and up understand the basics of divorce: why it happens, what it means for them, and how they can expect to feel through all of it. Throughout the book are “What about you?” boxes with discussion questions for the entire family. They can serve as a launching pad for the conversations you want to have but are unsure how to begin.
Recommended for Ages 5 and Up
- I Don’t Want to Talk About It By Jean Franz Ransom (2000) — This is the story of a young girl who imagines herself as different animals to help her to understand her feelings about her parents’ divorce. When she is told it’s okay to be scared, she decides to roar like a lion so that everyone thinks she is very brave. Throughout the story, her parents remind her that they will always love her and their most special family traditions will never change.
- Dinosaurs Divorce – A Guide for Changing Families By Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown (1986) — Sometimes bad news is a little easier to process when cute, squiggly dinosaurs are going through the same thing. This handbook for preschool through first graders is comprehensive, with a glossary and sections about why parents divorce and what life will be like after divorce, (including chapters on holidays, stepparents, and step-siblings).
- Why Do Families Change? – Our First Talk About Separation and Divorce By Dr. Jillian Roberts (2017) — Separation and divorce are difficult on the entire family. Often children blame themselves or are unsure of how their place in the family will change after divorce. Child psychologist Dr. Jillian Roberts designed the ‘Just Enough’ series to empower parents/caregivers to start conversations about difficult or challenging subject matter with kids.
Recommended for Ages 8 and Up
- Was it the Chocolate Pudding? – A Story for Little Kids About Divorce By Sandra Levins and Bryan Langdo (2005) — Kids sometimes feel divorce is all their fault, but this book tackles that misconception. The little boy in this heartfelt story thinks that a messy disaster with chocolate pudding on the walls was the last straw in his parents’ marriage. This book reassures him, and the reader, that divorce is not the children’s fault.
- Divorce Is Not the End of the World By Zoe and Evan Stern (2008) — Following their parents divorce, Zoe and Evan, at the ages of 15 and 12, decided to write this practical and uplifting guide to help other kids understand divorce. Here you and your children can explore ways to manage feelings of guilt, anger and fear, all while learning to adjust to the new changes in life after divorce.
- A Smart Girl’s Guide to Her Parents’ Divorce By Nancy Holyoke (2009) — This book was written for 8-to-12-year-old girls who could use some help understanding their parents’ divorce? From the American Girl publishers, this 120-page guidebook answers just about every question she might have. There are quizzes, tips, advice from real-life kids, and even a “Girl’s Bill of Rights” to cut out and hang on the wall. It’s a complete, compassionate guide that can help her through the whole transition.
- Divorce is the Worst By Anastasia Higginbotham (2015) — As parents talk their children through a divorce, they often say that it’s “for the best.” But it’s hard for some kids to see it as anything other than the absolute worst. For kids having a tough time, this book reflects their emotions and helps them to understand them better. With mixed-media collages, this book is funny and honest, and is exactly what some kids need.
- Mom’s House, Dad’s House for older Kids By Isolina Ricci (2006) — Written by an experienced family therapist, this book is designed to help tweens and teens deal with the pressures that come from living in two separate households with different rules and how to stay neutral when their parents disagree. As a bonus, the book includes handy and easy-to-use checklists and worksheets.
Recommended for Teens
- The Divorce Helpbook for Teens By Cynthia MacGregor (2004) — MacGregor knows that divorce can be especially tough on teens, and her warm and friendly guide offers a helping hand to teens struggling to answer the tough questions when their parents divorce: Why do parents get divorced? How will the divorce change our lives? What can I do to feel less depressed? Who can I talk to about my problems? What’s going to happen next? How do you tell absent parents that they don’t visit enough? How do you say “no” to parents who want you to carry messages to, or spy on, the other parent? What is there to talk about when you visit a parent who’s moved away?
- My Parents Are Divorced Too: A Book for Kids by Kids By Melanie Ford, Steven Ford, Annie Ford, and Jann Blackstone-Ford (1997) — This book is touted as being written “by kids”, and the four child/teen authors lend the benefit of their unique vantage-points and experience to the emotionally-difficult process of divorce. The book covers topics such as being caught in the middle, dealing with parents’ arguments, and how to cope with parents dating other people.
- Now What Do I Do? – A Guide to Help Teenagers with Their Parents’ Separation or Divorce By Lynn Cassella-Kapusinski (2006) — This is a workbook that helps provide structure to the feelings and fears that teens face when their parents divorce. Written in an empathic style, it promotes a sense that teen readers are understood, it leads them through their thoughts and feelings of anger, loss and guilt using exercises and activities.
- The Divorce Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help You Move Beyond the Break Up By Linda Schab (2008) –This book concentrates on not only the emotional transition that teens must make, but also on the various practical changes as well. Some sections deal specifically with feelings of grief, fear, and anger, while others deal with the day-to-day elements such as adjusting to two homes, adapting to financial changes, and avoiding being caught in the middle.
Recommended for Parents
- Divorce Book for Parents – Helping your children cope with divorce and its aftermath By Vicki Lansky (1991) — The author shares her own experience, and that of many other divorced parents, to help those going through the process of divorce, to offer emotional support, and to minimize the trauma of a difficult transition
- Parenting Apart: How Separated and Divorced Parents Can Raise Happy and Secure Kids By Chirstina McGhee, MSW (2010)— The ultimate resource for separated and divorced parents, written by an internationally acclaimed expert on divorce and its impact on children.
- The Co-Parenting Handbook: Raising Well-Adjusted and Resilient Kids from Little Ones to Young Adults through Divorce or Separation By Karen Bonnell and Kristin Little (2017) — A valuable resource for parents who are transitioning from being married with children to co-parenting, this handbook will help ensure kids and co-parents thrive.
- Co-Parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Two Households After Divorce By Deesha Pilyah and Michael D. Thomas (2013) — A successful co-parenting relationship is as vital to your child’s well-being and health as nutritious food or proper exercise. Research, anecdotal evidence, and plain common sense all point to the fact that children are happier, healthier, and better adjusted when both of their parents play an active role in their lives. Studies show that the trauma children experience in the wake of a divorce or separation can be lessened when they see their parents getting along
Make the Right Choice for Your Children
With the help of divorce mediation and valuable resources, former spouses can readily learn how to co-parent during and after the divorce process. Children benefit most when parents create an environment of open communication, encouraged expression of emotion, and lower conflict. If you’re in Arizona, be sure to review our guide to divorce in AZ.