One of the very best ways to help children understand the massive change in their lives as a result of their parents’ separation is to read them children’s books about divorce. They’re experiencing complex feelings and situations that are difficult to comprehend and navigate. Any tool you can give them to break down concepts to a kid-friendly level and help validate their feelings and experiences will help them.
Some of the examples I have provided will not be focused on the divorce, but will feature families with stepparents, single parents, stepsiblings, etc. I’ve noticed that each of the children’s books about divorce specifically that I’ve read feature a heteronormative depiction of Mommy’s house and Daddy’s house. If that’s not what your child’s two homes look like after divorce and you’ve found a more inclusive book to help them understand life with two homes, please let me know!
Here are a few children’s books about divorce, blended families, and stepparents I’ve found helpful:
Families, Families, Families!
Reading Age: 2-5 Years
This book is written to normalize families of all kinds: divorced and stepfamilies included. It’s not meant to differentiate families like ours or to give specific advice on how to navigate having two homes, so if that’s what you’re looking for, keep reading this list. But if you want your child to know they’re not alone, this is a great read.
The Invisible String
Reading Age: 4-8 Years
I love this book for explaining that a parent’s love is still present, even when a child has two homes after their parents’ divorce. Beyond this example, the invisible string analogy can be used in many different scenarios (loss of a family member, moving away from friends, etc.).
Standing on My Own Two Feet
Reading Age: 3-7 Years
This book is meant for younger audiences and is instrumental in validating their experiences with their parents’ divorce. This is my favorite book out there for helping littles with a Mom and a Dad understand what having two homes will actually feel like.
Divorce Is Not the End of the World: Zoe’s and Evan’s Coping Guide for Kids
Reading Age: 10-13 Years
Advice for kids by kids—need I say more? Zoe and Evan write this book as teenagers a few years’ after their parents’ divorce.
Reading Age: 3-7 Years
Having two homes doesn’t have to be all bad. Join Alex on this adventure to learn the better way to navigate this new life after divorce.
It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear
Reading Age: 3-7 Years
The main lesson of Koko Bear is recognizing that the divorce of one’s parents is not the child’s fault. What I love about this book is that it includes instruction and talking points for the parents alongside the story. However, I found this one to be a little long.
I, Amber Brown
Reading Age: 7-11 Years
This is book #8 in the Amber Brown series, and I love that it addresses the reality of holidays and long-distance shared custody. These are two really challenging adjustments for children of divorce, and you’ll get to follow your new friend Amber through the story.
Nothing Stays the Same, but That’s Okay
Age Range: 2-11 Years
This book helps kids cope with all kinds of change—not just divorce, adding stepparents, adding stepsiblings or half siblings to the family, etc. It’s a good one to have in your toolbox! I even recommended it to my sister for her boys, even though they have a nuclear family!
Amy Meets Her Stepsister
Reading Age: 5-8 Years
This is actually book #5 in The Critter Club series, and I love that you can follow Amy’s journey blending families. If you have littles who love to read and want to introduce them to children’s books about divorce, I recommend giving The Critter Club a try!
Age Range: 8-12 Years
I really appreciate that this book addresses racial discrimination in addition to divorce and stepparents. My stepdaughter enjoyed this book so much that she read several other books by the author after starting with Blended.
I Have a Stepmom
Age Range: 3-8
This is one part of an entire collection, including I Have Two Homes and I Have a Stepdad! This is one of the first children’s books about stepparents written, and it remains one of my favorites to this day.
I Love My Bonus Mom
Age Range: 2-8
This book depicts a loving relationship between a stepmom and her stepchild. It’s a beautiful example for stepkids who are, or desire to be, close with their stepparent.
My Tree Has Two Branches
Reading Age: 3-10 Years
This is a really unique analogy for explaining the split homes kids have after their parents’ divorce. I found that this book’s rhymes flowed more naturally than others I read.
Children’s Books About Divorce: Next Steps
I hope that a couple of these books help the children in your life understand and better embrace their parents’ divorce and/or remarriage.
Beyond adding some of these children’s books about divorce and stepfamilies to your library and reading rotation, there are other ways to help them make the transition.
Empathize with them. Their little hearts and brains are trying to process big emotions and questions.
Answer their questions about divorce as honestly and age-appropriately as you can.
Be patient with them as they grapple with their new family structure.
And if you want a guide on this journey, consider applying for stepmom support coaching. A coach will be a sounding board and guide when your post-divorce life feels challenging, confusing, or frustrating.
P.S. Questions about divorce are HARD. Questions from your kids are even harder. Let me help you navigate them in How to Answer Your Child’s Questions about Divorce.