10 Children’s Books to Help Understand Separation and Divorce

By Relationships Australia

Separation and divorce tend to be a challenging time for a family, particularly for children involved who might not understand why the change is happening. Our clients often tell us that, as parents, it can be daunting to explain the situation to their child and answer their (many!) questions.

Fortunately, plenty of helpful resources help children with this transition, including kids’ books! Books can be a gentle way to explore separation with your child and help them make sense of their feelings during a turbulent time.

We’ve hand-picked a range of children’s books to choose from, mainly aimed at kids aged three to eight years old (though they’re enjoyable at all ages).

Two Birthday Cakes by Danielle Jaku-Greenfield

This beautiful book has a sweet approach to the change that comes with a family separation. It explains why Bronte and her brother, Jeremy, have two homes and two of everything, including two birthday cakes. Written by a lawyer, mediator and family dispute resolution practitioner, the book takes a matter-of-fact approach and a developmentally appropriate way of answering common questions that can arise when parents separate. here.

Feelings: Inside my heart and in my head by Libby Walden

This gorgeous peep-through picture book focuses on the whole gamut of emotions that might come up during separation and divorce. If your child needs a hand to comprehend their feelings, like sadness, anger or confusion, this book is a must. ecade.


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Harriet’s Expanding Heart by Rachel Brace

If your child is adjusting to a new stepfamily, they might be experiencing a range of difficult emotions. Written by Rachel Bruce, a psychologist specialising in family conflict, separation and divorce, the key message of this book focuses on these complex emotions and how you might be feeling different things at different times. This is a great book to read together with your child to understand the challenges and positives that having a stepfamily might bring.

Max’s Divorce Earthquake by Rachel Brace

From the same author of Harriet’s Expanding Heart, this book focuses specifically on divorce. The story beautifully illustrates the ‘divorce earthquake’ in a little boy’s family as he tries to adjust to what is happening. Bonus: Max’s Divorce Earthquake won the top spot in the Purple Dragonfly Book Award in the ‘Family Matters’ category, a worldwide children’s book competition.

Fred Stays With Me! by Nancy Coffelt

First published in 2007, there’s a reason this book is still so popular!

When moving between two houses, the main character is sure to take her beloved dog, Fred, with her. Focusing on stability in a tumultuous time, this book is great for kids navigating two households – whether they have a pet or not.

Two Homes by Claire Masurel

This book is perfect for children who have experienced living in two homes, understanding their differences and reassuring them that they are well-loved in both households.

When My Parents Forgot How To Be Friends by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos

Children shouldn’t blame themselves for their parents arguing and divorcing, which this book sensitively deals with. It reminds young readers that their parents love them and will continue to spend time with them, even if they’re no longer together. This book, one part of the Let’s Talk About It series, is a great conversation starter between child and parent.

Daddy’s Getting Married by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos

Also from the Let’s Talk About It series, this book covers what to expect when a parent gets remarried. This narrative does feature a father who doesn’t share custody of their child, so while it might not be relevant to your situation, it’s still a helpful read.

The Invisible String by Patrice Karst

No matter what life event you’re experiencing, The Invisible String is a genuinely heartfelt read. The book shows how an ‘invisible string’ connects us to those we love, even if we aren’t with them. Beautifully illustrated, the description of the string is one that a child can visualise and use as a coping strategy.

A Teaspoon of Courage: A Little Book of Encouragement for Whenever You Need It by Bradley Trevor Greive

Written by the bestselling author of The Blue Day Book, this little book follows the same format – adorable photos of baby animals accompanied by inspiring text. This is a comforting read that isn’t specific to a situation but can be leafed through whenever the reader needs encouragement facing a tough situation. Perfect for any age!

Our Family Dispute Resolution & Mediation service is available throughout NSW for further support. Our Parenting After Separation group workshop can also help you improve communication, reduce conflict and make decisions in the best interests of your children.

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