Let’s just start by saying: No book is a substitute for having an up-front conversation with your kids about the difficult things in life, and divorce is way up there (maybe below COVID-19, though). But if you’re struggling to find the right words to explain what’s happened to your relationship and what it means for the whole family (or if your child needs some time alone to learn and process what’s going on), children’s books about divorce can be wonderful tools in your survival kit.
“When parents are separating or getting divorced, kids have a huge range of emotions,” licensed child and family therapist Nancy Kislin tells SheKnows. “Providing children with a variety of books to help them identify with different characters and different emotions can be extremely powerful.”
A book can help make a child articulate how they are feeling, says licensed clinical social worker Julia Barthels. “Young children may be aware that there are other families that experience divorce,” she explained. “But they may not know how to talk about the emotions they’re experiencing. Discussing the characters in the book gives them an opportunity to talk about their own experience.” To enhance the experience, Barthels recommends asking reflective, open-ended questions like, “Did you ever feel like him?” or “What do you think about her?”
There’s no shortage of children’s books about divorce. Here are 11 of the best.
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A version of this story was originally published in September 2019.