We want to share a small selection of the best books we recommend for children in single-parent households.
These are books that are good reads for all kids but are especially impactful for young children between 3 and 10 years old in single-parent homes.
Children in single-parent households are dealing with numerous challenging emotions.
Sometimes they blame themselves for a parent leaving because of a divorce. And feel unloved, like there is something wrong with them.
They must deal with seeing friends together with their mum and dad, living in the same house.
It is not easy.
The books on this list are an excellent benefit to kids because:
- They help them get back to being happy again by showing them the positive side of their situation.
- They remind them that they are special and deeply loved.
- They help them to understand their feelings and open up to their parent.
We will try to keep adding to this list over time with more great books.
Book 1 – Two Homes by Claire Masurel
Claire Masurel is an experienced author of children’s books, with over 30 books published to date.
Two Homes is about a boy named Alex who spends time with each parent after their separation. And it makes it onto our list because of its beautiful and natural way of helping a child focus on the positivity of their situation.
It is a 40-page simple child-centric book that does well to steer clear of adult themes and issues and focus almost exclusively on the fact that Alex now has two of everything.
What we like most about Two Homes is its emphasis on the positive side of a situation. So through the separation, Alex now has two of everything and that his mum and dad love him equally, all the time.
It also comes across as unbiased, not trying to blame the mother or father.
Each page only has one to two short sentences, so it could have maybe increased this to appeal more to older kids.
Book 2 – When My Parents Forgot How to Be Friends by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos
When My Parents Forgot How to Be Friends was written by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos, a Canadian born author who has been writing non-fiction children’s books since 2001 with a focus on developmental disorders, family situations, and life skills.
Jennifer has a degree in social work and is an experienced child welfare social worker. She is also an early childhood mental health consultant and trainer, as well as a guardian ad litem.
“My Brother is Autistic” is one of Jennifer’s more popular books that were well received, and also considered for the Dolly Gray Award.
“When My Parents Forgot How to Be Friends” helps children to find the right words to describe how they feel and encourages them to share their feelings.
It also has special notes to parents at the back of the book, providing advice on dealing with the emotions and feelings of their children.
The book deals with divorce. It is depicting parents that get along well before the relationship eventually deteriorates into constant fighting—leading to divorce and separation.
Throughout it all, the book helps kids to understand that divorce is not their fault. And that their parents still love them even when they are apart.
What we like:
- Divorce is explained in a simple way
- Beautifully illustrated
- Shows kids they can have a relationship with both parents
- Teaches kids that they will always be loved, and the issues between parents are not their fault
What could be better:
- The book seems biased towards the mother
- It might not apply to a child who does not actively get to visit both parents
- The parents being friends at the end might give a child false hope
Book 3 – You Weren’t with Me by Dr. Chandra Gosh Ippen
“You Weren’t with Me” was written by Dr. Chandra Gosh Ippen.
Dr. Ippen is an associate director of the child trauma research program at the University of California as well as a director of dissemination and implementation for child-parent psychotherapy.
You may have come across one of her more famous books, “Once I Was Very Very Scared.”
One of the best things about “You Weren’t with Me” is that it is not limited to relating to a child experiencing a divorce separation. This book is relevant to all kinds of single-parent situations such as incarceration, deportation, child-welfare, and military service.
The book is about Big Rabbit and Little Rabbit, who are reunited after a painful separation. Little Rabbit wants Big Rabbit to understand what it felt like when they were apart. The book focuses on Little Rabbit conveying his feelings while Big Rabbit listens attentively and makes Little Rabbit feel understood and loved.
It’s a thirty-to page book that is also available in Spanish under the title “Cuando no Estabas Conmigo.”
What we like:
- The book is an excellent way of initiating a dialogue between a parent and child after a difficult separation.
- Big Rabbit never diminishes or dismisses what Little Rabbit is saying
- The book helps in reconnecting and strengthening the bond between parent and child
- It is never explicitly mentioned why the rabbits were separated, which leaves the reason open to apply to any child’s specific situation
We could not find any issues with “You Weren’t with Me.” It is a wonderful book that helps adults understand their children and getting them to open up and talk about stressful events they have experienced.
We hope you have enjoyed this short collection of recommended books for children in single-parent homes.
We have written this article to show you books that are not just good reads, but ones that help children to deal with the emotions they are experiencing and really help them understand that they are always loved. Additionally, these books assist parents in understanding what their child is going through and helps them to communicate better.