12 Helpful Books for Kids About Divorce Recommended by Parents and Therapists
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When parents are going through a divorce, there are so many difficult emotions to process. One of the most challenging and distressing parts is not only having the conversation with your children about your decision, but helping them to navigate their own turmoil of emotions.
Many divorce experts agree that it's essential to have a plan for talking with your children, while knowing that every emotion is normal. If you are needing help to prepare your children for the inevitable, or if they have a difficult time processing big emotions, I've put together a list of 12 books for kids about divorce. These books are geared for children ages three through the tween years and offer insightful advice, stories, and activities.
Our Top Picks:
Two Homes by Claire Masurel
I Don't Want to Talk About It by Jeanie Franz Ransom
Divorce is Not the End of the World: Zoe and Evan's Coping Guide for Kids by Zoe and Evan Stern
My Mom and Dad Don't Live Together Anymore: A Drawing Book for Children by Dr. Judith A Rubin
Getting Through My Parents' Divorce by Amy J. L. Baker, PhD and Katherine C. Andre, PhD
What to Consider When Looking for Books on Divorce for Kids
Things to consider when you're looking for books on divorce for kids are to make sure they are:
Try to find books that have some divorce terminology as well as real-life experiences from other kids. For younger children, ask the child questions about the book that he can relate to, and for older kids, you can even look for books that are about other stressful situations besides divorce.
The books in this list are recommended by parents, teachers, and therapists as inspiration to help guide the conversation and process feelings associated with separation and divorce.
Books by Age to Help Kids Understand Divorce
Ages 3 and Up
Two Homes is a wonderfully positive book for young children about having two homes because of divorce or separation. It’s easy to understand, very matter-of-fact, and reinforces that the little boy, Alex, is thoroughly loved by both of his parents. I love this book in particular because it doesn’t focus on what the child has lost, but what the child has gained.
Living with Mom and Living with Dad is an inviting, lift-the-flap book for children who are in need of preparation for learning that routines will be a little different than normal when there are two homes. Even though life may be different, the child is still loved by her parents and has her favorite toys she takes to both homes.
It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear is a book for children who are more resistant to having two homes or may be feeling anger towards divorce. It’s listed as a book for ages three and up, but many reviews have shown that the big emotions that Koko feels are better understood by kids ages four and up. The most important aspect is that Koko learns how his family will change and that no one is divorcing him.
Ages 5 and Up
My Mom and Dad Don’t Live Together is an art therapy book for children experiencing divorce and separation. It’s for children and parents who find it easier to communicate and talk about their emotions through pictures. The author, a therapist for 40 years and the “Art Lady” from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, leaves encouraging notes for parents and children to help cope with powerful emotions.
I Don’t Want to Talk About It is for all children with big emotions, but particularly good for parents who are cautious that their child will shut down when she is told about their decision to divorce. It’s especially helpful for children who can relate to animals, as this book walks through the child’s emotions in metaphorical relation to an animal's response, “I wanted to be a lion with a roar so loud that everyone would think I was very brave.”
My Family is Changing is a wonderful book for the child who needs to hear about other children’s experiences with divorce. The seven stories are short, easy-to-understand, and provide a very diverse range of family life and how the children are coping. The book is also a drawing and activity art therapy book designed to help the child explore his or her emotions and to plan activities and traditions for both new homes. This book is meant as a safe space for children and could also be used for ages nine and up.
Ages 9 and Up
The older kids get, the more they need to hear about heartfelt experiences from other kids. This is what Zoe and Evan Stern, two kids who have firsthand experience with divorce, set out to do in Divorce is Not the End of the World. In this upbeat book, with a little help from their mom, these siblings share their experiences and talk about anger, fear, guilt, as well as the pros and cons of having two houses, and even learning to live with stepparents.
Why Can’t We Live Together? is a story told by two children of their confusion around why their parents are getting a divorce. This is for children who are also confused, and it speaks to them in a kid-friendly way about the explanations of why their environment is changing. Because it’s short, child-centered, and educational, teachers have used this book as part of their classroom library.
A Smart Girl’s Guide to Her Parents' Divorce is for girls and kids who identify as female. It’s relatable to girls because, as an American Girl guide book, it speaks to them on their level about all the different stages of divorce up to a parent’s potential remarriage. This book also comes with quizzes, tips and plenty of advice from girls who have “been there, and done that.”
Ages 12 and Up
OK, so maybe Getting Through My Parents’ Divorce is recommended more for younger kids, but this workbook has great reviews for kids of all ages who are “stuck in the middle of a high-conflict divorce.” It provides over 30 activities created by two psychologists and experts in parental alienation, to help kids cope with divorce, including parental alienation, confusing terminology, and touchy loyalty conflicts.
Written by a well-known author, The Divorce Express is a novel for the tween or teen in your life that prefers the art of fiction. What’s great about this book is that it puts a very real-life scenario into an easy-to-read book that offers genuine, often funny, and relatable perspectives on divorce, as told by the protagonist, Phoebe. Her parents not only live far apart, but she’s about to experience her mother remarrying.
Split in Two is a valuable guide for tweens and teens who are feeling very confused, frustrated, and “crazed” about their parents’ divorce or separation. I love this book not only for it’s personal advice from other teens who have experienced all aspects of divorce, but because it offers tips and stories in a graphic novel, comic book style. This style of storytelling is much easier for kids who aren’t keen on reading much but like the comic book experience.