Divorce is difficult for families, there is no doubt about it. But it is especially challenging for children. Hurt feelings, anger and confusion can arise in children whose parents are separated or getting divorced, and it is important to help them understand what is happening in an age-appropriate way.
One of the best methods for helping children understand and process the overwhelming feelings and emotions caused by separation and divorce is by reading books together. Finding the right book for your child can dramatically help them to understand the changes that are happening, and what the process and inevitable changes means for them.
Helpful Children’s Books About Divorce and Separation
This list of five books come highly recommended by school counselors, therapists, and parents. As with each of the book collections in our Best Books for Kids library, each title below is linked to both Amazon and The Book Depository (these are affiliate links) where you can find further reviews for any you might not be personally familiar with.
Dinosaurs Divorce by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown
Dinosaurs Divorce serves as a great primer for children whose parents are going through a divorce. Children have many questions but may be too nervous or overwhelmed to ask them, and this book can act as a helpful introduction. Dinosaurs Divorce explains some of the terminology children may hear and talks about the process of a divorce. It is a great starting point to helping children understand what divorce means for the family.
The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle
Divorce can be confusing for children and they may feel mixed up, unable to process emotions, or just wishful their lives were different. The same is for the Mixed Up Chameleon who takes an exciting trip to the zoo, and soon after wishes he were big and white like a polar bear, beautiful like a flamingo, and have a soft tail like a fox. After all of his wishes come true, the chameleon is left with deer antlers, a tortoise’s shell, an elephant’s face and trunk, a pair of seal flippers, and fish fins. When he spots a fly, he realizes he cannot catch it in his current form. The Mixed Up Chameleon learns that he was perfect just as he was. This is a great title to start conversation about all of the confusing emotions that your child may be feeling at this difficult time.
RELATED: More awesome books about emotions.
The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
The Invisible String does not directly mention divorce; instead it is a beautiful story about how an invisible string connects us to our loved ones, even if we cannot see them all the time. This is the perfect book to help children adjust to living in separate homes or seeing a parent less often. A great activity to accompany this book is have your child draw a picture of him/herself with a drawing of each parent on opposite sides of a piece of paper. Then have them draw an “invisible” string connecting them to each parent. While you do this, reassure them that while you may not always see them, you are always there.
Two Homes by Claire Masurel
It is natural for children, especially younger children, to need time and reassurance to adjust transitioning between homes. This will generally improve over time as both parents and children adjust to the new routine. In Two Homes Alex is a little boy whose parents are divorced. He keeps special items at each home, such as a rocking chair at Daddy’s house and a soft chair at Mommy’s. While the items are slightly different, as are the homes, Alex’s parents love him no matter what.
Luna Loves Library Day by Joseph Coelho
Library day is a favorite of most school-age children, and Luna is no different. In fact, it’s her favorite day! It’s her favorite day because she gets to browse all of the books and pick her newest treasures. It’s also her her favorite day because she gets to spend the day with her dad. Luna Loves Library Day is a beautiful story showing us how children and families can process, accept, and move forward after divorce.
Available: The Book Depository
Going through a divorce is overwhelming for everyone involved, and I hope that this list is helpful in identifying a book (or books) to help the child in your life process the experience and move forward feeling safe, secure and loved.