Easing a Child Through Divorce

8 Oct

When parents divorce, it is the children who are often the collateral damage.  No one wants to see their child hurt when parents decide to end a marriage, but it is inevitable because even the most civilized divorces leave children – especially small children – wondering why mom and dad can’t just learn to share as children do.

This is not a guilt trip for anyone going through the pain of a divorce, but there are many books that can help you to do some bibliotherapy, i.e., healing your child through books.  I’ve focused on books for young children, although there are many, many adult books to offer advice of easing your children through the divorce process.  However, the following books are stories to be shared with a child to reassure him or her that many families go through the difficulties that their family is experiencing and that there are coping strategies to help them deal with the changes in their lives.  Most of these books focus on shared custody experiences with parents working extremely hard to make sure that the child experiences the least upheaval, possible.

My Mom’s Wedding, by Eve Bunting.












Seven year old Pinkie has mixed feelings about her mother’s remarriage.  Things get even weirder when Pinkie learns that her father will be a guest at her mother’s wedding.  (Ages 4 to 8)

The Best of Both Nests, by Jane Clarke











When Stanley the Stork’s parents’ divorce his father goes to live in a new nest.  Then he meets Stella whose parents are also divorcing and teaches Stanley that two nests can better than one. (Ages 3+)

Fred Stays With Me, by Nancy Coffelt.












A child describes her parents’ shared custody arrangement that includes her dog going back and forth between her mother’s and her father’s houses.  Fred, the dog, is having a tough time adjusting to his new lifestyle and is causing trouble in each of the homes.  However, his devotion to his young mistress earns him her love and his dog treats. (Ages 5 to 8)

The “D” Word: Divorce, by Julia Cook.











Through well-placed humor and good advice, this book expresses the emotions children feel during the break-up of a marriage, and suggests ways that parents can help them to deal with their feelings.  The book employs the “Three “C’s”: I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, I have to learn to cope with it. (Ages 6 to 10)

Emily’s Blue Period, by Cathleen Daly.











After her parents’ divorce, Emily finds comfort in learning about art, and expressing herself and her emotions through art projects. (Ages 6 to 8)

I Have Two Homes, by Marian DeSmet.












When her parents separate, Nina sees that she can still spend time with each parent but in their different homes.  (Ages 3 to 5)

Weekends with Dad: What to Expect When Your Parents Divorce, by Melissa Higgins.












This book walks a child through the difficult events surrounding parents’ divorce and explains the emotions that the child may experience in terms that the child can understand. (Ages 4 to 7)

Do You Sing Twinkle?: A Story About Remarriage and New family, by Sandra Levins.










A little boy has a particularly tough time when his parents divorce, and his dad remarries.  The fact that his father now has a new family is particularly troubling to the child, but a caring teacher at school helps him work through his anger.  His parents also come up with constructive solutions to help him feel secure in both of his homes.  (Ages 3 to 7)

Was It the Chocolate Pudding?: A Story for Little Kids About Divorce, by Sandra Levins.










This is a book to teach children, realistically, about divorce, about joint custody agreements, and about how things will change when they are living with a single parent. (Ages 3 to 5)

Just Like Always, by Anne M. Perry.












In this easy reader, children just learning to read independently learn that many things remain the same even after parents divorce.  (Ages 5 to 8)

It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear, by Vicki Lansky.











When Koko Bear’s parents are getting a divorce, he goes through a range of emotions: anger, guilt, confusion, and sadness.  His parents, who always have his best interests at heart, help him to deal with the emotional upheaval he is experiencing.  This book contains tips for parents about helping kids to deal with divorce. (Ages 3 to 7)

Oliver at the Window, by Elizabeth Shreeve.












When Oliver’s parents divorce, he finds comfort in his stuffed lion.  The lion stays right by him as he stands in the window waiting for his mom or his dad to come to pick him up for their custodial time. (Ages 3 to 5)

Monday, Wednesday, and Every Other Weekend, by Karen Stanton.












Although Henry enjoys his time at his mother’s apartment and his father’s house, his dog, Pomegranate, is having trouble figuring out which place to actually call home.  (Ages 3 to 6)

Living with Mom and Living with Dad, by Melanie Walsh.












With illustrations that resembles a child’s finger paintings, this book shows how the child involved lives very different lives on his mom’s farm and in his dad’s urban home.  However, mom and dad put up a united front by both attending his school play.  (Ages 3+)

The Hoboken Public Library and other libraries in the BCCLS system provide many books to support children in emotional changes in their lives.  Check out the library’s catalogs for other books to help children cope with family change.

-Written by Lois Rubin Gross, Senior Children’s Librarian

One Response to “Easing a Child Through Divorce”


  1. We Are Family | Hoboken Library Staff Picks - November 14, 2014

    […] a child or the child may be freely moving among homes with stepparents and step siblings (see my previous blog about children of divorce).  Families are no longer homogenous and while this generation of […]

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