Written & Illustrated by: Laurene Krasny Brown & Marc Brown
For ages: 6 years and up
Topics Covered: Family, Love, Community, Divorce, Friendship, Social-Emotional Learning.
Summary: This book begins with a Contents page and list of ‘Divorce Words’ with definitions. The book covers lots of sensitive topics, like fighting parents or ways that parents show they’re angry with each other. Next brings some explanations about how the reader (ostensibly the child whose parents are getting divorced) might be feeling, and how they can express it to parents. Specifically mentioned is not having to listen to one parent speak poorly about the other. This book encourages the child advocating for themselves with needing affection, space for processing emotions, and getting into the routine of living in two houses. Next up are more tricky topics of meeting one parent’s ‘new friend’ and how to navigate a potential step-parent, step-siblings, and moving into a bigger house to accommodate a growing family.
This book touches on a lot of emotional issues, and explains them in a developmentally appropriate manner for young children. It doesn’t shy away from issues like a child not loving their step-parent and instead emphasizes respecting them instead of insisting that they try and love them. While a child may grow to love the step-parent, the book very much validated the beginning emotions that children experience when a new adult joins their life. Overall, the book emphasizes love and the love parents have for their children despite getting a divorce. The book does touch briefly on only spending time with one parent, but does not go into great detail. The next illustration after offers spending time with other trusted adults instead and shows a grandmotherly figure. This book is from 1986, but continues to ring true today!
- How can you let others know what you’re feeling, and what you need because of it?
- What are some things you can do to be a good friend to someone who may be going through a family-changing event?
- If any of your family members ever got divorced, do you think this book would help them?
Continuing the Conversation:
- Families come in all shapes and sizes, and live all different distances. Instead of celebrating a specific family member on a holiday, try having a Fancy Friendship party or Family Day where all loved ones can gather and spend time together.
- A big part of this book are the comic panel illustrations! Try writing and drawing your own comic book. Work by yourself or in a small group to decide what characters you will have in your comic book, and get to drawing!
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Laurene Krasny Brown was born in New York City, NY! Prior to her career in fine art, Laurene authored, and in one volume also illustrated, sixteen popular picture books for children. She has broad academic and professional experience in education, the arts, and children’s cognitive development.
Marc Brown is best known for the Arthur book series! Marc Brown is also one of the most prominent names in children’s literature. Author of the bestselling Arthur books, as well as the creator of the six-time Emmy Award–winning animated Arthur series on PBS (with 17 Emmy nominations), Brown is a household name and has been entertaining generations of young readers with his relatable stories featuring Arthur the Aardvark. Over 65 million copies of his Arthur books have been sold, and in recent years, Brown has illustrated such award-winning and critically acclaimed picture books as Wild About Books, Born to Read, ZooZical!, and Wild About You! His latest book, In New York, introduces children to the city he now calls home.
Marc enjoys speaking to children, students, educators, parents, and all who are interested in his work. Not only does he speak about his career as an author-illustrator, but he frequently discusses the importance of reading to young children and is considered by many to be one of the prominent voices in the push to make literacy a priority in families and children’s lives. Marc has given lectures tailored to art students, and has spoken on college campuses about the power that art and illustration can have. An energetic, thoughtful, and engaging speaker, Marc is sure to provide a wealth of knowledge to each group of people he speaks to.