Divorce can be hard on anyone. While you and your partner might know or at least see the underlying reasons for why you have come to this point in life, it is not always easy to convey such multi-layered reasons and answer all the questions your children might have. Bayside Mediation prides itself on being one of the few Child Inclusive Mediation practices in Victoria, we also know that having tools at home will help your children. For that, we have a list of books for children of all ages to help them.
BOOKS FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN:
WAS IT THE CHOCOLATE PUDDING? (AGE 2-6)
BY SANDRA LEVINS AND BRYAN LANGDO
This story deals with the confusion that children can feel as a result of a divorce. Two brothers make a mess with some chocolate pudding and believe it to be the reason their parents have separated. The mother explains this is not the case. She also covers age-appropriate explanations of other potentially bewildering issues such as joint custody and single-parent homes.
MY SUPER SINGLE MUM (AGE 2-7)
BY BRONWEN FALLEN
A feel-good book at its very finest. This simple story is about a little girl, her single mother, and all the incredible fun they have together. It gives a sense of a special relationship between the characters and a wonderful life – which can be even better than that of a two-parent family. With an emphasis on families not always being conventional, but still being happy and fun-loving.
MUM AND DAD GLUE (AGE 3-5)
BY KES GRAY AND LEE WILDISH
With the creation of an award-winning author, the simplicity of this story is guaranteed to engage and comfort young children. A trustingly beautiful tale of a little boy who tries to find some glue to stick his mum and dad back together and to stick their smiles back on. The rhyming text imparts a powerful message reminding children that parental love is still as strong as ever.
TWO HOMES (AGE 3-5)
BY CLAIRE MASUREL
With comforting optimism, this book focuses on a little boy called Alex and his difficulties getting accustomed to living between two homes. It explains how although his circumstances have changed, one thing always remains the same, which is that he is still loved. The matter-of-fact style of writing makes light of what can be a big issue. It concentrates on what is gained when parents separate, rather than what is lost.
WHEN MY PARENTS FORGOT HOW TO BE FRIENDS (AGE 4-7 YEARS)
BY JENNIFER MOORE-MALLINOS AND MARTA FABREGA
The bright pages of this book follow a young girl coming to terms with her parent’s separation. It teaches that although many things have changed in her life, her parents will always be there and still love her. This is accompanied by a parallel message of reassurance that the separation is not her fault and an understanding that by living in separate houses her parents may get along better.
TWO BIRTHDAY CAKES (AGE 4-8)
BY DANIELLE JAKU-GREENFIELD
Using a gentle, tell-it-like-it-is tone this book is targeted at children coming to terms with shared parenting. The story follows two siblings and examines a range of family situations in a realistic and straightforward way. It considers the practicalities of two houses and the not-always-good emotions associated with it. Eye-catching illustrations even allow children to colour on the pages.
BOOKS FOR OLDER CHILDREN:
IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD (AGE 8-13)
BY JUDY BLUME
This emotional story follows Karen, an 11-year-old girl, as she navigates her parent’s separation. It depicts her journey from desperation for them to stay together, to an awareness that this won’t happen and eventually an acceptance of reality. It covers the frustrations and sadness of the situation, the value of good friends, and how, in time, it’s possible to readjust and feel happy again.
THE CASE OF THE SCARY DIVORCE (AGE 9-12)
BY CARL PICKHARDT
An unusual yet refreshing way of dealing with divorce issues, this book is about a ten-year-old boy with a helping investigator called Professor Skye. Between them, they have to solve eight cases that deal with topics encountered during his parent’s break-up and divorce. Covering topics in this style is particularly helpful for boys who may not otherwise consider their feelings as closely.
HORSE DREAMS (AGE 9-14)
BY MARY VIVIAN JOHNSON
A touching story about a young girl’s struggle to deal with her parent’s separation, divorce, and second marriage. It covers worry and challenges that can affect preteens/teens in a similar position, as well as other school-related issues. An emotional read with an overriding vibe of hope and forgiveness. Great discussion questions throughout the book encourage the reader to consider their own circumstances.
CANDYFLOSS (AGE 9 TO 14)
BY JACQUELINE WILSON
An endearing story of 12-year-old Floss, who has to cope not only with her parent’s divorce but with her mother and her new family moving to the other side of the world. This book presents the difficult choices that may have to be made and the emotions that accompany them. A riveting yet tender storyline demonstrates how even the hardest decisions can be made and overcome with parental love and the support of good friends.
THE SUITCASE KID (AGES 9-14)
A heart-warming, realistic read about a young girl who lives week on/week off between her two stepfamilies, feeling she doesn’t really fit into either. It follows an unusual yet compelling structure as the chapters work through the letters of the alphabet. Dealing with upsetting issues which some children will find comfort relating to, it retains a perfect balance of sadness and comedy with a feel-good happy ever after.
GOGGLE EYES (AGES 12-16)
BY ANNE FINE
This book cleverly combines comedy and charm in the story of schoolgirl, Kitty, who is dealing with the post-divorce trauma of her mother’s new boyfriend. She shares her feelings with her friend who is also from a broken family, but who has different circumstances and opinions. Her journey to learn how to accept change, however difficult, is sensitive yet amusing, making it an un-put-downable preteen read.