Sunday, July 5, 2015

Summer Reading 2015 Family Changes

Family Changes is a helpful book for younger children who are curious or confused about separation and divorce. The setting and characters are obviously make-believe, which helps provide some emotional distance between the reader and what is happening in the story. This was a deliberate choice by the author, who knows that dealing with difficult issues is easier through the use of bibliotherapy. Asking questions about what the characters are doing or saying feels much safer and less frightening than asking questions about one's own life. Reading that Zoey's parents are not divorced because of something Zoey did (or didn't) do, can reassure youngsters that their own parents are not getting a divorce because a child forgot to do their homework, or some other small transgression. The story touches on several key issues that children worry about - will their parents still love them, will they have two homes now, did they somehow cause the divorce, etc.

But the book also opens with a straightforward Note to Adults and ends with a list of questions that adults can discuss with children. Often books that do a good job of explaining divorce and separation are so focused on the child's point-of-view, that they don't offer any advice for the parents, caregivers, and teachers that are trying to help the child makes sense of it all. Family Changes avoids that problem and gives good guidelines for adults.

I would recommend this book to parents and other family members, educators, and counselors as a way to get the conversation started an address some of the concerns that children have about divorce. I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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