Divorce and custody disagreements are rarely easy for children. Below is a list of three books we suggest for children involved in family law disputes. This reading list offers age-appropriate advice to help children cope with and understand divorce.
1. “It’s Not Your Fault Koko Bear” by Vicki Lansky
Parents looking for a book that offers age appropriate advice for their children as well as guidance for themselves should look no further. "It's Not Your Fault KoKo Bear," is an excellent choice for families with young or school-aged children experiencing separation or divorce. Not only does the book progress through Koko Bear's story from learning of his parents separation to living in two households, but the bottom of each page also offers advice and tips to parents for how to best help children adjust. Some suggestions include providing a color-coded calendar for children to help keep track of changing schedules (just like Koko Bear has) or encouraging parents to keep a special bedtime ritual the same at both homes (Koko Bear says the same bedtime prayer with MaMa Bear and PaPa Bear). The book puts strong focus on the Bear family still being a family unit and the importance of parent's working together to make sure KoKo Bear knows he is loved by both parents.
2. "HELP! A Girl’s Guide to Divorce and Stepfamilies” by Nancy Holyoke (from the AmericanGirl Library)
A great read for young and pre-teen girls going through family changes. This book is written in a question and answer format with questions coming from real children. This book addresses a range of issues from meddling in adult affairs to telling friends about a parent's divorce to talking to parents about feelings and concerns. HELP! delves into many topics that are often ignored in this genre (like adjusting to step-sibilings or what to do if there is domestic violence in the home). In addition to the Q&A format, this book also offers multiple interactive quizzes, coping tips and accurate definitions for words children may be hearing like "joint custody" or "child support."
4. "Two Homes" by Claire Masurel
Less about the process of a new divorce, "Two Homes" is more about the day-to-day experience of a child who has settled - comfortably - into their new family structure. A great choice for learning readers to read on their own or with a parent. Illustrations are engaging and show the positive side of having "Two Homes" - two bedrooms, two favorite chairs and two sets of friends for playtime. This book shows a brighter side of divorce.