When family separation occurs, it’s hard to find the words to say to kids, especially if they aren’t asking questions yet. Reading books about divorce together can start those conversations, help them open-up and talk about their feelings and concerns, as well as reassure them that what they are experiencing is normal.
Here are some excellent children’s books about divorce for your family to read together. Children enjoy reading books when they can find something in common with the characters in the story. Because all kids are different and every family situation is different, we strongly encourage you to independently read any book that you select by yourself before presenting it to your children.
To help navigate through these conversations, we offer a variety of materials for you and your family.
By Laurene Krasny Brown and Marc Brown (1988)
Ages 3 to 7
In this picture book, the dinosaur family explores why parents get divorced and what happens after a divorce. It answers common questions that children might have, such as what’s going to happen to me, where will holidays be celebrated, and what is it like to live in two homes.
By Claire Masurel (2003)
Ages 3 to 7
Sometimes Alex lives with his daddy in a suburban home and sometimes with his mommy in a city home. He has two bedrooms, two favorite chairs, two sets of friends — two of everything! This book helps kids to understand that they are loved by both parents, regardless of where they are living.
The Invisible String
By Patrice Karst (2000)
Ages 3 and up
This book doesn’t specifically address divorce, but it’s a heartwarming story that reassures children that even though they can’t always be with a loved one, they’re always in each other’s hearts. Whenever a child thinks about a family member, the invisible string gives a tug.
I Don’t Want to Talk About It
By Jeanie Franz Ransom (2000)
Ages 5 and up
A young girl imagines herself as animals to deal with her feelings about her parents’ divorce. When her father tells her that it’s okay to be scared, she says: “I wanted to be a lion with a roar so loud that everyone would think I was very brave.” Throughout the book, both parents offer assurances that their love for her will never change and that certain family rituals will remain the same.
Mom’s House, Dad’s House for Kids
By Isolina Ricci (2006)
Ages 10 and up
A family therapist wrote this guidebook to help tweens and teens deal with dueling house rules and schedules, staying neutral when parents disagree, and managing stress, guilt, and other emotions. The book includes handy, easy-to-use lists and worksheets.
What in the World Do You Do When Your Parents Divorce? A Survival Guide for Kids
By Kent Winchester and Roberta Beyer.
For older children – grade schoolers and tweens – there’s lots of direct information in a Q&A format.
When My Parents Forgot How to Be Friends
By Jennifer Moore-Mallinos
A great book for younger children ages 3-8, though some readers shared that their older children enjoyed it as well.
Don’t just look for “divorce” books. Good stories that just happen to be about children whose parents aren’t together or who are in some other kind of stressful situation – may be more fun for children to read and be more useful as well. The more stories your child reads or hears that feels relatable, the less isolated in sadness and the more comfortable with emotion she will feel.
A good example of this is, “The Huge Bag of Worries”, which tells the story of a little girl who finds herself staggering under the growing weight of her worries and anxieties about school. Everyone she would like to tell about her troubles is so busy with their own problems that she feels she shouldn’t bother them. Eventually her grandmother notices her growing bag of worries and they work through her worries together. The child finds lots of different ways of coping with different worries, including sharing them.
Though times may be difficult, children can emerge feeling loved and supported. You can all grow through these family changes and discover just how strong you are. These books are some tools to help your child through your divorce.
The information in this article should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state or jurisdiction. Please seek appropriate counsel for your own situation. The inclusion of links to outside resources is not intended to reflect their importance, nor is it intended as an endorsement by this Firm.