Books to help children understand divorce or separation
Books can provide a great escape from the humdrum of everyday life and can also provide comfort and clarity on some of the thornier issues in life. This is especially true for children who are going through the turmoil of family change and their parents’ divorce or separation.
We have put together a list of books that we think help to deal with some of the issues children face. The list is not comprehensive and there are many more excellent books available, but this may provide a starting point.
Children can also find out how to get their parents into mediation. It’s a great way of getting them to stop arguing and for young people to have a voice in what happens in the future. There is more information about mediation here.
For Under 7’s
My Family’s Changing – Pat Thomas : The issue of divorce is presented here in a simple, and straightforward way, supported by colourful illustrations
Mrs Vole and The Vet – Allen Ahlberg : Mrs Vole is a lone parent who looks after her family and a busy vet’s surgery. Her children think she needs a partner and begin looking for the ideal candidate.
Ms Cliff the Climber, Allan Ahlberg : Clara Cliff marries and has children, then divorces, remarries and has more children. The story follows the family adventures.
Divorce: A guide for changing families, Laurie Krasny Brown & Marc Brown : This book follows a dinosaur family going through a divorce, the upsetting feelings and changing homes-living with one parent, visiting the other and living with stepparents, brothers and sisters.
Living with Mum and Living with Dad: My Two Homes Melanie Walsh : A reassuring and simple story about separation for the very youngest children.
For Under 7-11 Years
One Mum Too Many, Anne Bryant : STOLEN She’s taken my dad and wrecked our family. TENSION To see Dad, we have to stay at her place with her “perfect” daughters. BETRAYED I’ve already got a mum and anyway my parents are going to get back together, you’ll see…..
Starring Sally J Freeman As Herself, Judy Blume : Sally’s family move to Florida because of her brother’s health but her father stays behind. Sally keeps her relationship with her father alive through letters and thoughts.
The Lottie Project, Jaqueline Wilson : At odds with her strict new teacher, and concerned that her unmarried mother is falling for the divorced father of the little boy she childminds, Charlie’s life becomes increasingly stressful.
I Cosmo, Carlie Sorosiak : Cosmo is a dog with a passion for dance. When his family no longer have enough love to stay together, can he save them? This charming story brings together the fun of canine freestyle dance and the heartbreak of divorce into a single, moving story about families.
Letters to Judy, Judy Blume : A collection of letters written to Judy Blume from children about the problems they are facing including loneliness, death, drugs, relationships and depression. She responds with practical advice.
It’s Not the End of the World, Judy Blume : Karen’s parents have always argued, and lately, they’ve been getting worse. But when her father announces that they’re going to get divorced, it seems as if Karen’s whole world will fall apart. Her brother, Jeff, blames their mum. Her kid sister, Amy, asks impossible questions and is scared that everyone she loves is going to leave. Karen just wants her parents to get back together. Gradually, she learns that this isn’t going to happen – and realizes that divorce is not the end of the world.
Step by Wicked Step, Ann Fine : Five pupils go off together on a school trip and discover they all have something in common- their parents are divorced. Each has a story to tell of their experiences. And how they have faced the strains of torn loyalty, had to accommodate new partners in their parents’ lives and had to work out resolutions to parents childish quarrels
Madame Doubtfire, Anne Fine : Lydia Natalie and Christophers’ parents are divorced. When their mother advertises for someone to care for the children, their father disguises himself as a woman and is successful in getting the job.
The Suitcase Kid, Jacqueline Wilson : Mum lives with Bill and his three kids, Dad lives with Carrie and her twins, and 10-year-old Andy lives in a suitcase travelling between homes.
Red Leaves, Sita Brahmachari : Sita Brahmachari has created a beautiful tale of modern multicultural Britain. Her characters come from diverse backgrounds but are brought together by the common theme – they all feel they have been abandoned by someone they love.
For more books for children experiencing their parent’s separation visit: https://www.booktrust.org.uk/booklists/d/divorce-and-separation-best-childrens-books/
For more help and information visit: https://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk