If you’re going through a divorce, you’ve probably got a million things racing through your mind. How will this divorce impact my children will be high on your list. Books on divorce written specifically for kids will help them grasp what’s happening and help normalise the experience.
The uncomfortable truth is, divorce is hard on children, but there are resources out there that can help. Some of the best are children’s books, which can open conversations, share experiences from other kids, and reassure your little ones that they’re not alone. We’ve rounded up some of the best divorce books for kids to help you and your children navigate this difficult life transition.
Children Don’t Ask for Help After Divorce, but Still Need It
Kids often don’t ask for help when their parents get divorced, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need it. As a parent, one of the best things you can do is provide resources to help your child cope during this difficult transition even if they haven’t asked for it.
Age-Appropriate Divorce Help Books
Divorce books for kids can help start important conversations and give children characters they can relate to. Look for stories that match your child’s age and reading level. For younger kids, picture books with simple messages of hope and support are ideal. As children get older, chapter books that deal with more complex emotions are helpful. Some highly-rated options include:
Providing kids with resources to help them understand divorce in an age-appropriate way can make the transition easier. Let your child know you’re there for them every step of the way. While divorce is never easy, with your love and support, kids can thrive in their new family structure.
Reality is Life Can Be Very Different for Kids of Divorce
When you’re a kid, the idea of divorce can be really confusing. After all, nearly every book, TV show, and movie you see shows the perfect family with a mom, dad, and happy children. But in reality, many families look very different.
For children of divorce, it’s great for them to know that you’re not alone. According to recent statistics, over 1 million children experience the divorce of their parents each year in the US alone. The good news is, there are many wonderful books out there that can help make sense of this difficult life event.
Why Books Can Help Children Cope With Divorce
Books can be incredibly helpful for children coping with divorce. Here are a few reasons why:
Relate to Family Characters
Children can relate to characters in books who are also going through a divorce. They can see that they’re not alone in their experience and that other kids have similar feelings. This help’s reduce feelings of isolation and validates their ‘normal’ emotions that can feel anything but normal at the time.
Reading about characters in a similar position gives kids a chance to walk in their shoes. They can gain a new perspective and ideas for coping with challenges like:
- Managing different rules and schedules
- Dealing with parents dating again
Discuss Difficult Family Topics
Books provide an opportunity for children and parents to discuss difficult topics together. Parents can gently bring up subjects like the reasons for the divorce, what will change, and address any worries the child may have. This can help avoid misunderstandings and reassure kids during this transition.
Model Positive Coping
Storybooks often show characters overcoming difficulties in constructive ways. Kids can learn positive strategies for coping with divorce by seeing how characters handle challenges and come out the other side. Things like communicating feelings, maintaining routines, spending time with others who care about them, and adapting to changes.
Take the time to read together, share observations and experiences, answer any questions that come up, and help your child develop the coping skills they’ll need during this life change. With your guidance and patience, books can make a world of difference.
Tips for Reading Divorce Books With Your Child
When reading divorce books with your child, there are a few tips to keep in mind:
Set the Right Parental Tone
How you approach these conversations will set the tone for how your child processes this difficult topic. Remain calm and open, speak in a gentle, compassionate tone. Your child will follow your lead.
These discussions may bring up some big emotions in both of you. Give yourself space to feel them together. Reassure your child of your love and support.
Choose Divorce Help Books Carefully
Select books geared toward your child’s age and reading level. Look for stories that emphasize positivity, resilience, and hope. Some books address complex issues like custody arrangements, new partners, or adjusting to two homes. Only introduce what your child seems ready to process.
Read Books Together
Make reading these books a shared experience where age appropriate. Curl up together and take turns reading aloud. Stop if your child has questions or wants to talk about the story. Discuss how the characters handle challenges and changes. Share your own experiences too, as feels right.
Ensure your children have access to the book, so if they wish they explore and educate themselves in private if they wish to. They may have many emotions running through them that are confusing to them, they may not understand them, and may not be well equipped to explain them to you. That’s an area books like these can provide significant benefit and support.
Follow Your Child’s Lead
Pay close attention to your child’s reactions and signals. Let them set the pace for how fast or how deeply you delve into discussions about divorce. Some kids want to talk right away, others need more time. Follow their lead – you’ll know when they’re ready for the next book.
By sharing this experience together, you’ll build connection and find your way to the other side.
3 Great Divorce Books for Preschoolers
Of the many children’s books about divorce, here are five of the best for preschool-aged kids:
The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
This heartwarming story focuses on the invisible connection between loved ones, even when they’re apart. It’s a great way to reassure kids that the bond with each parent remains strong despite the divorce. With colorful illustrations and a simple message of comfort, it’s ideal for 3 to 6 year olds.
Mom and Dad Don’t Live Together Anymore by Kathy Stinson
This poignant story is told through the eyes of a young girl whose parents have recently divorced. It captures the range of emotions she feels, from sadness to joy to frustration. The ending focuses on the hope of building new traditions. With its authentic voice and watercolor pictures, this book can comfort kids aged 3 to 7.
Was it the Chocolate Pudding?: A Story for Little Kids About Divorce by Sandra Levins
This book uses a fun story about chocolate pudding to explain divorce to preschoolers. The main character, Ollie, learns that his parents still love him even though they “don’t love each other anymore.” The story addresses common worries and misconceptions in a playful, non-threatening way. The cartoonish illustrations add to its kid appeal for 3 to 6 year olds.
3 Great Divorce Books for Elementary School Kids
For elementary school-aged kids, here are some of the best divorce books:
Dinosaurs Divorce by Laurene Krasny Brown
This colorful book uses dinosaur characters to help kids understand what divorce means and what they might experience. It covers topics like why parents get divorced, living in two homes, and adjusting to new routines. The dinosauar theme makes the content fun and relatable for kids.
- The explanations are simple but honest. It acknowledges that divorce can be sad and difficult but offers coping strategies.
- Uses examples and situations kids will recognize from their own lives. The illustrations are whimsical and help keep the tone positive.
- Written for kids ages 5 and up, so the reading level is easy to understand with lots of pictures.
Two Homes by Claire Masurel
This sweet book follows a little boy named Alex as he navigates spending time in his mom and dad’s separate homes after they divorce. It focuses on the love Alex feels in both homes and the special moments he shares with each parent.
- Helps kids understand that it’s normal to feel attached to both parents after divorce. Reassures them that they will still be loved and cared for even though the living situation is different.
- The story is simple but the message is powerful. The soft, colorful illustrations convey a sense of warmth, comfort and stability.
- Ideal for younger kids ages 4 to 8. The text is minimal with lots of pictures, so it’s easy to follow along.
All Kinds of Families
From the creators of the picture-book sensation Grumpy Monkey comes a hilarious celebration of families of all stripes! Lots of nontraditional family structures are celebrated in this super-fun and super-accessible board book!
- Kids will love finding their own family represented, no matter if they have two moms, one grandpa, or just a cousin named Doug.
- The brilliant creative team behind Grumpy Monkey wanted a simple book they could use to talk with their kids about the different kinds of families they would encounter in the world–so they made this!
- A silly and positive introduction to open-mindedness and all kinds of family love.
3 Great Divorce Books for Preteens and Teenagers
For preteens and teens, divorce books can help provide perspective and coping strategies during this difficult life transition. Some highly-rated options include:
“It’s Not the End of the World” by Judy Blume
This classic YA novel follows a 12-year-old girl whose parents are divorcing. Written in the 1970s but still relatable today, it tackles feelings of anger, confusion and loss in an empathetic way.
“The Boys and Girls Book About Divorce” by Richard Gardner
This informative book answers common questions kids may have in an age-appropriate Q&A format. It covers practical issues like custody and finances as well as emotional topics like guilt, loneliness and adapting to stepfamilies.
“The Divorce Helpbook for Teens” by Cynthia MacGregor
Geared specifically for teens, this helpful guide provides tips for managing stress, conflict resolution skills, and advice for rebuilding social lives after divorce. It includes worksheets and exercises to help teens work through their feelings.
At the end of the day, helping children cope with divorce is one of the greatest gifts you can give. By providing them resources like these children’s books, you’re letting them know they’re not alone.
Their feelings are valid, and it’s okay to feel however they feel. With love, patience, and understanding, kids can come out the other side of divorce as happy, healthy, well-adjusted individuals. Though the road is hard, the destination is worth it. So keep on keeping on – read these books together, answer questions with honesty and care, give lots of hugs, and maintain routines as much as possible.
If you do that, the impact of divorce will be lessened, and your child will thrive. There is light at the end of the tunnel, so just keep walking hand in hand with your child until you get there.