A Guide for Changing Families
By Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown
Little, Brown and Company
Reviewed by Laura Harting
This is one of my all-time favorite books about divorce. Written for the elementary school age child, it gives the child needed and helpful information about divorce in practical, easy-to-understand language. The illustrations are funny and cute. The dinosaur characters give the child reading the book the emotional distance that allows him or her to better integrate the information.
This book covers all the bases, from the time of separation to the time of remarriage. It includes a discussion of topics that matter most to kids: why parents divorce, how to handle moving, adjusting to living in separate residences, expressing feelings, continuing to love both parents, becoming accustomed to dating, step-parents, step-siblings, and half siblings. The authors write simply and offer just enough information – not too little and not too much.
The children I counsel who have read this book like it and find it very helpful. It often answers their questions, clears up their misunderstandings, and encourages them to ask more questions. A third grader can read this book alone. A child younger than third grade can read this book with some adult help. A glossary of terms near the beginning helps children learn the new vocabulary of divorce.
The authors of this book got it just right. If you only read one book with your elementary school child about divorce, read this one. However, I don’t recommend reading only one book. Every child is different and different books will resonate with each child differently. Your goal is to give your child information and a voice to talk with you about divorce.
Laura Harting, LCSW, is a child and family therapist in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.