I don’t remember how or when I learned the word divorce. I’m not sure that I did learn it in an intentional way. One day, I came home from school and my dad’s things were gone, and somehow I pieced together that he wasn’t coming back. Somehow I pieced together that this was divorce.
But that was in the eighties, when communication between parents and children wasn’t as normalized as it is now. (At least in my experience.)
That’s all changed now. It seems that we as a society have a better understanding of the kind of intentional conversations that need to occur between parents and children when it comes to divorce. Unfortunately, the conversations aren’t any easier now than they were then.
That’s where books come in. Books can help parents find the words to explain concepts that seem too tough for young minds. For that reason, we’ve rounded up fourteen children’s books that can help kids understand and begin to process divorce.
This is the perfect story for kids who’ve gotten used to the idea of divorce, but now need to figure out how to navigate a parent dating. “A New Special Friend” is the story of Little Fox trying to understand how to navigate his dad’s new special friend. Through Little Fox’s journey, little kids can learn that their feelings and concerns about their parent’s new partner are valid, and it’s okay to let someone new into their lives.
Divorce is a scary and confusing thing for most kids. This book can help answer some of the outstanding questions, even when those answers aren’t easy. Part of the “A Kids Book About Series,” this guide is meant to help parents and kids begin an honest conversation.
For children who prefer fantasy over realistic fiction, this book is the story of Moon Fairy and Sun Prince, who decide that, in order to be happy, they need to be apart. They realize, however, that they’ll always be connected by the beautiful thing they created together–their little star.
Jackson’s mom is getting married and he’s the ring bearer. It’s a big responsibility that he’s taking seriously, but he’s not sure his soon to be new stepsister is taking her job as flower girl seriously enough. This story is perfect for kids who are navigating what it means to come together in a blended family.
Lou Caribou is a little reindeer who lives with his mom on one end of the forest and visits his dad every weekend on the other end. It’s a great story to help small children understand that even though one parent isn’t living with them, the separation hasn’t changed how much they are loved by both.
“A Tale of Two Seders” by Mindy Avra Portnoy and Valeria Cis
“A Tale Of Two Seders” is a great story for kids trying to understand how certain holidays may look when they split their time between two households. This book takes place over three years and six Seders, and shows how a family adjusts to new lives and new traditions.
Part of the “Ordinary Terrible Things Series,” this book is perfect for kids who want their honesty with a dose of humor. This “child-centered portrayal” of divorce communicates the challenge of trying to keep yourself together when it feels as though everything else is splitting in two.
“Two Homes” by Claire Masurel and illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton
Alex has a soft chair at his mom’s house. He has a rocking chair at his dad’s. In both homes, he has a special space, friends, and lots of love. Described as “simple, yet profoundly satisfying,” by Booklist, “My Two Homes” helps kids focus on what they’ve found, rather than what they’ve lost in divorce.
Using bright pictures and kid-friendly language, this book tells the story of a little boy, who wishes he had one home. He learns that no matter where he lives, he has two parents who love him. This book is a great choice for even very young kids dealing with divorce.
“My Two Homes” by Claudia Harrington and Zoe Persico
When Lenny visits Skye’s house, he learns she has three parents and two houses. This upbeat story helps normalize post-divorce life for kids, and is part of series that includes a variety of diverse family units.
Part of the “Let’s Talk About It!” series, this book is written and illustrated especially for very young children. It addresses the concern so many kids have when parents divorce–is it my fault? This book helps them understand that it’s not their fault and they are still so loved by both parents, even if one isn’t living at home.
A lift-the-flap simple story for very young kids whose parents live in two separate houses. This book takes kids through the changes in routine that might happen when they live in two separate houses–and have two sets of toys.
With a focus on the big questions–will my parents still love me? Who will take care of me? Is it my fault?–this book is for early school age kids who are feeling all kinds of new emotions from anger to loneliness to confusion.
Written by Jane Annunziata, Psy.D., “Was It the Chocolate Pudding?” takes parents through the common emotions children may experience during parents’ divorce and helps show the parent how to guide young children during this difficult time.
Families have turned to this beloved story for more than two decades. This book helps young children understand what divorce means, why it happens, and how to talk to each other during the hardest parts.
Books have the power to make what feels scary and isolating feel instead universal and, at least somewhat, normal. For a kid learning to navigate post-divorce life, these books just might be the thing that makes their day a little easier.