If you are separated, books are a wonderful way to engage, educate and support your child. There are a range of books you can choose from, so you are bound to find at least one that will be appropriate for your child. Keep in mind that not every book will be right for your child and the individual circumstances of your family – do some research before introducing the book. We have done some of the leg work for you – here are our top picks and a little review of each!
A very moving and sweet story about a little boy who is looking for glue to stick his mum and dad back together. We live the boy’s emotional journey in coming to terms with his parent’s separation – and it’s quite likely that you may shed a tear along the way reading this to your little ones. But it is real and will allow your child permission to feel some of the common feelings that arise when parents separate. It gently introduces some of the fears that children face – sadness, blame, helplessness, confusion. Then ends with a big warm (metaphorical) hug (in the form of Mavis, the glue shop owner) and reassurance of a positive future and his parent’s consistent love for him.
A warm and simple book about a little boy’s experience of living in two homes with each of his parents. This story focuses on the simple, practical aspects of living in two homes – that he has two bedrooms, two places for friends to come and play, two toothbrushes and two phones. And this simplicity should not be discounted, for it is these ‘everyday’ aspects of a young child’s life that are so important to their world. ‘Two Homes’ provides comfort, a sense of ease and lots of love.
(One thing to note – the book uses the US ‘Mommy’ instead of Mummy.)
There is a beautiful light-heartedness to this book, which is bound to engage your child. It tells the story of Mummy and Daddy Bird – from the time they build a nest together, to the time they decide to live in separate nests due to being grumpy and squabbling. Baby Bird is sad at first, but then realises his parents are both happier and that he can live in both nests happily too. A major positive is that Baby Bird is not gender-specific, so both girls and boys will be able to easily relate to this story.
A simple Australian story of a little girl and her single mother. The book follows the special relationship between mother and daughter and the enormous fun they have together. It focuses on the fact that families can be different, but that this doesn’t affect the fun and happiness that can be had! If you are a single mum, then this feel-good book should be in your home!
This book is not about separation and divorce, but a celebration of all types of families. It focuses on the diversity in family structures – single parents, mum and dad living together, multi-generational, gay parents, guardians, separated parents. And reiterates that your family (whatever type of family it is!) is perfect. A great book to reassure children that irrespective of the changes that may occur in their lives (for example, their parents separating) that their family is still a ‘family’.
This book is aimed at the older bracket of younger children and covers many aspects of the separation and divorce process that your child may be thinking about. It doesn’t shy away from topics such as managing special occasions, emotions both children and parents may be feeling, new partners and step-siblings. It provides children with a familiarity with terms and concepts that will help them express their feelings and experiences. Dinosaurs Divorce provides basic tools to assist children in navigating their parent’s separation while maintaining a sense of fun via it’s illustrated dinosaurs and comic-book style.
A story about a young girl and her dog, Fred. They live in a home with Dad and another home with Mum, but they are always together. The simple story of their close relationship is the focus, and the fact that the young girl lives in two homes is normalised beautifully. Both parents get annoyed with Fred and find out ways for him to live in their home, despite his mischief.
(One thing to note – the book uses the US ‘Mom’ instead of Mum).
A wickedly funny book about Demetrius and Paula and their ‘problem parents’. The children’s parents argue and do things to ‘trick’ each other with a serious-style of mischief that is entertaining but clearly wrong. The children decide things are getting out of control and decide to take matter into their own hands – which results in their parents getting ‘unmarried’ at an ‘unwedding’. The book finishes with each parent and the children living happily, with the two children going between each parent’s house in a secret tunnel made just for them.
Two brothers make a mess with chocolate pudding and then believe that this was the reason that their parents are separating. This book is a great illustration of the challenges that children face in processing their parent’s separation, and how easily they can mistakenly blame themselves. The narrator provides comfort and explains that the separation is not the brothers’ fault. The book introduces some common concepts around divorce and separation that will help ease some confusion about the changes that are happening in their lives – all done age-appropriately.
This book provides children with a delightful concept which they can use as a tool to manage being separated from a parent (or any loved one). The ‘Invisible String’ teaches children that they are always connected to the ones they love, even when they are not physically close to them. Whilst not specifically about divorce, it is easy to see how this concept will be useful for children of separated parents, as they will find comfort and strength in knowing that they are always connected to both parents even though they are not always with them.
(One thing to note – the book uses the US ‘Mommy’ instead of Mummy).
This bright, lift-the-flap book is an exploration of a little girl’s life living in two homes. Narrated by the girl, it covers many scenarios that may worry young children – school pickups, school concerts, her toys, birthdays and extended family – but simply shows how these things work in her life. It shares the simplicity that I write of above in ‘Two Homes’ by Claire Masurel. A positive book that children of separated parents will easily relate to.