The List of Things That Will Not Change
Good Tween Novels About Divorce
Divorce is never easy, but it can be especially hard for tweens who are dealing with lots of other changes in their lives. Their hormones are in a state of flux, often causing moodiness and emotional instability. Tweens are starting to encounter more complex social scenarios that are confusing to navigate, and they face a new kind of peer pressure. Divorce workbooks and journals and can be very beneficial in helping adolescents work through their emotions in a healthy and productive way. Even the most confident teens can suddenly feel insecure. So when parents split up smack in the middle of this challenging period, they can feel even more alone, isolated, and emotional than ever before. Parents are often looking for guidance to help tweens who are at risk to engage in dangerous behaviors in response to the stress, fighting, and disruption happening at home. These novels for tweens about divorce can help in a number of ways. They will relate to the characters in these books and all of the obstacles they face when their parents get divorced. For little siblings, check out children's books about divorce with pictures and messaging geared toward younger readers.
My Parents are Divorced Too
For the 10+ audience, this book written in interview format as three kids discuss their experiences as a blended family. The authors of the book are the children themselves. They share a very open account of their unique experiences, both the highs and the lows, of dealing with the dynamics of divorce and remarriage.
Weekends with Max and His Dad
Check out this book for middle-grade readers that explores all of the fun, bonding activities that occur when a boy has his dad all to himself. A third grade boy learns to embrace his second home and new neighbors. Pizza dinners, pancake breakfasts, school projects and new adventures can be more exciting in a whole different setting. This illustrative book expertly addresses the inner emotions of a young boy grappling with a changing family dynamic.
Divorce is Not the End of the World
Sometimes the best advice for kids comes directly from kids who have experienced it themselves. In this helpful guide, two pre-teens provide a lot of insightful information on how to navigate multiple households. They also address the roller coaster of emotions that kids will experience. The most important message this book delivers is that perhaps divorce is not the end of the world.
Dear Mr. Henshaw
In this Newbery Medal winning book by Beverly Cleary, a fourth grade boy, Leigh, gets the surprise of a lifetime when his favorite author responds to his letter. A relationship through written correspondence soon develops. Mr. Henshaw turns out to be a a remarkable friend and mentor for Leigh, who is struggling with the recent divorce of his parents and an absentee father, amongst other things.
Dear Sweet Pea
Dear Sweet Pea is middle-grade chapter book about girl who navigates her parents' most unusual separation while dealing with all other social issues that plague adolescents. Patricia, otherwise known as Sweet Pea, is dumbfounded when her parents split up but purchase identical houses on the same street. As she comes to terms with this strange new family life, she contends with an ex-best friend and lands herself in the role of local advice columnist.
In this complex and timely novel, an 11 year old girl spends her life bouncing back and forth between the homes of her divorced parents. Her attempt to find balance with this difficult lifestyle is further compounded by an identity issue. As the offspring of a black father and white mother, she struggles to feel whole. There are many layers to unpack in a book that does not gloss over the reality faced by many kids in mixed race, blended families.
It's Not the End of the World
You can count on Judy Blume to deliver a book that resonates with pre-adolescent, independent readers. Karen is desperate to keep her family together. Her father moved out weeks ago and her mother seems happy about the divorce. It seems like Karen is the only one who is falling apart, so she hatches a plant to restore the Newman family. Along the way, she learns that maybe it's not the end of the world.
The Great Treehouse War
Winnie's parents drop a bombshell at the end of her fourth grade. They announce they are getting divorced, and that Winnie will split her timely equally between both houses. Therefore, one day a week she will sleep in a treehouse equidistant between both of them. Winnie is less than thrilled with this arrangement and invites several friends to join her in their "embassy". Everyone has their own unique demands in this coming-of-age novel about friendship, family, and life lessons.
Raymie Nightingale carries the weight of the world on her shoulders. Her father has abandoned the family, so she concocts a plan that she believes will lure him back home. A National Book Award finalist, this coming-of-age novel weaves together a story of heartbreak and friendship. A relatable tale of divorce that will resonate with middle grade readers.
A graphic novel for tweens tackles many complex issues. Tori is already balancing her life with both her mother and father, both of whom treat her like a baby. As if moving back and forth between two homes wasn't difficult enough, Tori is dealing with friendship issues. Fortunately, she is a creative writer who likes to get lost in her fantasy stories. The magic, fairies and witches that come to life in her journal help her cope with a complicated reality.
Mom's House, Dad's House for Kids
An extraordinary guide designed to help kids navigate the many complicated aspects of separation and divorce. The book is filled with tips on resiliency and managing complex schedules. Kids are also advised on how to stay out of the conflict while also maintaining relationships with both their mothers and fathers. It's a time-tested, invaluable book for kids who will learn how to come out stronger and more self-reliant than ever before.
The Mendoza sisters, Racquel and Lucinda, are struggling with their parents' split. Their relationship is strained as the girls cope very differently with their home life. Racquel tries to take charge and control everything she can, while Lucinda retreats into her music and skating. Just when Racquel thinks that she can orchestrate a reunion between her parents, she discovers that her father has a girlfriend. And to make matters worse, Lucinda actually likes her! Despite some well-planned schemes, Racquel finally realizes that acceptance may just be the best path.
The Divorce Express
Phoebe loves her life living in New York City. But when her parents divorce and she is forced to move to the suburbs with her father, this ninth grader is not happy. She misses her friends in the city and is anxious about starting life over at a new school. Riding the train in to NYC every weekend to visit her mom is getting old, too. When her mom announces that she is getting remarried, Phoebe feels like things went from bad to worse. A story about divorce that tweens will appreciate and understand.
Helping Pre-Teens During a Divorce
Kids nearing their teenage years are going through a transformational period of their lives. Teetering between childhood and adulthood, they need as much stability at home as possible in order to handle the internal turmoil associated with these years. When a parents go through a divorce during this period of adolescence, it adds a level of complexity to this tumultuous developmental stage. Helping tweens through this family transition requires a multi-faceted approach. Consider utilizing all of these strategies throughout the process and make adjustments based on what seems to be most effective for your tween.
- Seek professional help for your pre-teen. Find a counselor who specializes in adolescence, with a specific focus on family therapy. Sometimes kids will talk to several therapists before finding someone with whom they feel comfortable. As much as parents will want to know about all their tween's struggles, this is a time in their lives when they naturally pull away from parents. A divorce adds another layer of complexity in emotional development which often requires the assistance from a professional.
- Do not treat your pre-teen like a friend or confidant. Even the most mature tweens are not capable of understanding all the emotional facets of a divorce. It is simply not fair for either parent to confide in their children in the same manner they would an adult friend or peer. No matter how acrimonious the split, it is of upmost importance for both parents to shield their kids as best as possible from the most intimate details. During these formative years, tweens needs to spend more of their emotional energy developing their own healthy relationships with peers without the interference of their parents' more complex problems.
- Model respectful communication. The way parents behave directly affects the health and strength of their children's future relationships. Disagreements are an inevitable part of the divorce process, and they are often fueled by years of unresolved conflict in a relationship. Parents going through a split often lost their composure, resulting in ugly exchanges that can have a profound effect on kids who witness the fight. One of the most important things parents can do is to keep their cool when kids are within hearing distance. Adolescents who are witness to nasty words and accusations can be permanently affected by observing these fights.
- Buy some tween chapter books about divorce. The emotional nuances are captured in the stories of tweens who are navigating the separation of their parents. Reading about a variety of experiences and perspectives can be enormously beneficial for kids who are sorting through a variety of mixed feelings. Sadness, anger, indifference, confusion, relief, and fear are just a few of the many conflicting emotions that pre-teens feel. Characters who are going through the same emotional rollercoaster can help to normalize this firestorm of feelings and even offer advice for managing them.
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