Monday, September 14, 2009

Good Question - reading about kids living with divorced parents

A friend recently asked whether I had any good suggestions for books that showed kids living with separated or divorced parents.  A friend of hers had an 8 year old who's going through a transition with her parent's divorce.  It is important for all kids to read about characters who are figuring ways out to adjust to the changes in their lives.
Lucy Rose: Here's the Thing About Me
by Katy Kelly
NY: Delacorte Press, 2004.
ages 7 - 10
Lucy Rose is a spunky 8 year old who has to move to Washington, DC with her mom when her parents get separated.  In the beginning, she misses her father terribly and is sure that she'll never make any new friends in school.  But sure enough, she makes new friends in her new school and neighborhood.  I really enjoyed this book - it's written in first-person, diary format and you can just hear Lucy Rose talking in your head, much like I can hear Junie B Jones when I read her books.  Lucy Rose just comes alive, and her thoughts and feelings bounce right off the page.  Here, she tells about her teacher Mr. Welsh asking about how she's settling in:
Today Mr. Welsh came up to me and he said, "How are you settling in, Lucy Rose?"
And I said, "Okie-dokie." 
And he said, "That's great."
And I said, "Well, a little okie-dokie."
"Only a little?" he asked me. 
I told him, "Actually, it is not the easiest to be the new kid in the neighborhood and the new kid at school at the exact same time especially when you don't know any friends yet." 
He had sympathy for that because he told me, "I had a hard time when I was a new teacher and I didn't know any of the other teachers or any of the kids and, to tell you the truth, the principal made me a little nervous, but after a while it got better." 
"Are you still nervous of the principal?" 
"Nope," he said.  "But it took a little time for me to get the hang of everything.  I think that it will be true for you, too."
There are funny, laugh out loud moments throughout - like when Lucy Rose and her friend lose the pet guinea pig in her grandparent's house.  But what I truly appreciated about this book is how it shows Lucy Rose dealing with her feelings.  If you like Lucy Rose, you might also try the Amber Brown series by Paula Danziger or the Mallory series by Laurie Friedman.

Two picture books especially come to mind, showing young kids dealing with parents who live apart.  Molly and Her Dad is great book to share about a father bonding with his daughter.  Molly's mom needs to go on a business trip, so her dad flies in from far away to stay with her.  She's dreamed about her dad and told her friends stories about her dad, but he left when she was a baby -- so she's never really gotten to know him.  See my full review here

Fred Stays with Me is simple but powerful picture book about a young girl who travels between her mom's home and her dad's home. She spends nights at her mom's and her dad's, but Fred her dog stays with her, traveling to both homes.  I love how this picture book shows the little girl's family life as just accepted. The word “divorced” is never discussed. This is her life, and this is how she lives it. She has the same friend, the same school - but one of her rooms has a bunk bed and the other has a regular bed. Fred is her constant friend and companion throughout it all.  See my full review here.

I've just put two books on hold that librarian/writer friends have recommended.  Liz B, a librarian and blogger, recommended My Parents Are Divorced, My Elbows Have Nicknames, and Other Facts About Meby Bill Cochran. It's a picture book and sounds very funny recommended for grades 1-4. I like that it has a boy as the main character. You can find Liz's other recommendations at her blog: A Chair, A Fireplace and A TeacozyBoni Ashburn, a children's author, recommend the Moxy Maxwell series, which follow the travails of fourth-grader Moxy.  In  Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank-you Notes, Moxy struggles to finish all of her thank you notes so she can go to visit her father who lives in Hollywood.

You can find these books by visiting your local bookstore or public library. You can also find them on Amazon.  The review copies came from my local bookstore and public library.


  1. Hi,
    Please check out the book TWO PAIRS OF PEARS :0
    and let me know what you think. You can find it on Amazon too :)

    Subject - bi-lingual and centers on homophones THANKS!

  2. Nikki Grimes new chapter series character Dyamonde Daniel's parents are divorced

    Another new chapter series with divorced parents
    Keena Ford by Melissa Thompson.