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Marriage And Divorce: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about marriage and divorce?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to marriage and divorce. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about marriage and divorce.

Our list includes picture books and chapter books. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about marriage and divorce, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear to popular sellers like Hatchet to some of our favorite hidden gems like Fanny’s Dream.

We hope this list of kids books about marriage and divorce can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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Top 10 Books About Marriage And Divorce

#1
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Fanny's Dream
Written by Caralyn Buehner & illustrated by Mark Buehner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Fanny Agnes is a sturdy farm girl who dreams of marrying a prince, but when her fairy godmother doesn’t show up, she decides on a local farmer instead. Reprint.

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#2
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Ruckus
Written by Laurie Elmquist & illustrated by David Parkins
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Reece’s new dog, Ruckus, tears through life like a Tyrannosaurus rex. He bites every- thing that moves and drives Reece’s mom nuts. The puppy was Dad’s idea, to make things easier for Reece after his parents’ separation, but Ruckus is not easy at all and Mom is getting fed up. When her diamond earrings go missing, it sends the family into a tailspin. What happens when a dog swallows something precious? Reece is about to find out. But they can’t give up on this little Jack Russell terror, can they? He’s family, after all.

We first met Reece and his family in the Orca Echoes title Where’s Burgess?

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#3
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The Invisible String
Written by Patrice Karst & illustrated by Geoff Stevenson
Thoughts from The Goodfather
I love the lesson shared by this book. I especially love how well the story of the String works literally, like the "tugs" that we feel for each other.
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This sweet story is such a sweet read to help little ones realize that they're connected to the ones they love, even when they're not nearby. Whether that's because a family member passed away, or maybe the child is starting their first day of school, this one will bring comfort and all the good feelings!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Picture book for children 4-8 years of age. A simple story that reminds children they are never truly alone. People who love each other are connected by an invisible string made of love.

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#4
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Maisy Goes to a Wedding
Written & illustrated by Lucy Cousins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Excitement is in the air as Maisy discovers the fun of going to a wedding with friends. Today Maisy is going to the wedding of her friends Penguin and Ostrich, so she needs to put on a fancy outfit. She can’t wait! When she arrives at the wedding, there are beautiful flowers, lots of gifts, and many people. As music plays, the bride walks down the aisle, then the happy couple exchange their vows while everyone cheers. Afterward, there’s confetti to toss, food to eat, a speech to hear, a band to dance to, and a bouquet to be thrown. Now who do you think will catch it?

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#5
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All of Me
Written by Chris Baron
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Ari has body-image issues. After a move across the country, his parents work selling and promoting his mother’s paintings and sculptures. Ari’s bohemian mother needs space to create, and his father is gone for long stretches of time on “sales” trips. Meanwhile, Ari makes new friends: Pick, the gamer; the artsy Jorge, and the troubled Lisa. He is also relentlessly bullied because he’s overweight, but he can’t tell his parents—they’re simply not around enough to listen. After an upsetting incident, Ari’s mom suggests he go on a diet, and she gives him a book to help. But the book—and the diet—can’t fix everything. As Ari faces the demise of his parents’ marriage, he also feels himself changing, both emotionally and physically. Here is a much-needed story about accepting the imperfect in oneself and in life.

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#6
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Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents a Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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#7
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Hello, Jimmy!
Written & illustrated by Anna Walker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
A funny, noisy parrot comes into Jack's life and brings him closer to his dad in an unexpected and moving way in this gorgeous, emotionally resonant picture book from the creator of Florette.
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#8
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Here and There
Written by Tamara Ellis Smith & illustrated by Evelyn Daviddi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A young boy, Ivan, experiences the early stages of his parents’ separation and finds hope in the beauty and music of nature. This tale of personal growth will provide a much-needed mirror for children in times of change – and an important reminder for all that there’s beauty everywhere you look.

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#9
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Swim Or Sink
Written by Jake Maddox
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Although only in eighth grade Baxter Reilly is an important member of the Edgeview High School in Tempe, Arizona, and lately the pool has been his place of refuge from the stress of his parents’ separation–but now, between the pending divorce, his father’s miserable apartment, his mother’s new boyfriend, and the resentment and bullying from his older teammates, it is getting harder to focus on his role as the anchor of the 4 x 400 freestyle relay in the upcoming races.

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#10
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Dear Beast
Written by Dori Hillestad Butler & illustrated by Kevan Atteberry
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

A jealous cat really, really, REALLY wants to drive away his young owner’s new dog in this playful illustrated chapter book from a two-time Geisel Honor winner.

Simon has taken care of his owner, Andy, for many years. He’s a good cat. Clean, responsible, and loyal. What more could a boy want? Even when Andy’s dad moves out, Simon is certain that Andy doesn’t need another pet. So why would Andy’s dad adopt a DOG?! To make matters worse, the animal is a rude, rowdy troublemaker.

Simon’s job is clear: the beast has got to go. He decides to write him a letter. Strongly worded, of course. But when the dog’s response sets off an unexpected correspondence, Simon realizes the beast may be here to stay. Can he make room for another pet in Andy’s life?

This funny and heartwarming collaboration between Geisel Honor and Edgar Award-winning author Dori Hillestad Butler and bestselling illustrator Kevan Atteberry is a tribute to the love of a good pet - and the joy found in new friendship. With nine chapters and adorable full-color illustrations on every spread, the series is perfect for kids transitioning from picture books to chapter books.

A Junior Library Guild Selection

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Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Marriage And Divorce and...

Books About Marriage And Divorce and Feelings And Emotions

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Ruckus
Written by Laurie Elmquist & illustrated by David Parkins
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Reece’s new dog, Ruckus, tears through life like a Tyrannosaurus rex. He bites every- thing that moves and drives Reece’s mom nuts. The puppy was Dad’s idea, to make things easier for Reece after his parents’ separation, but Ruckus is not easy at all and Mom is getting fed up. When her diamond earrings go missing, it sends the family into a tailspin. What happens when a dog swallows something precious? Reece is about to find out. But they can’t give up on this little Jack Russell terror, can they? He’s family, after all.

We first met Reece and his family in the Orca Echoes title Where’s Burgess?

Buy book
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$6.76
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$5.19
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Hello, Jimmy!
Written & illustrated by Anna Walker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
A funny, noisy parrot comes into Jack's life and brings him closer to his dad in an unexpected and moving way in this gorgeous, emotionally resonant picture book from the creator of Florette.
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Road Trip with Max and His Mom
Written by Linda Urban & illustrated by Katie Kath
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Third-grader Max is heading off on a road trip with Mom. With miles to travel, cousins to meet, and a tall roller coaster to ride (maybe), it will be an adventure! But Max always spends weekends with Dad; will Dad be okay if he’s left behind? And will Max be brave enough for all the new explorations ahead of him?

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Honorable Mentions
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  1. Emily's Blue Period - After her parents get divorced, Emily finds comfort in making and learning about art.

  2. Great Treehouse War - Kids vs. parents! An epic treehouse sleepover! An awesome group of friends! An exciting new book from National Book Award finalist Lisa Graff.

  3. Monster Like Me - There are trolls, goblins, and witches. Which kind of monster is Sophie?

  4. On the Other Side of the Garden - From one of the great creative teams in picture books, On the Other Side of the Garden is about a city girl learning to accept the change brought about by her parents' separation when she is taken to her grandmother's house in the country and befriended by an owl, a frog and a mouse.

Books About Marriage And Divorce and Weddings

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Maisy Goes to a Wedding
Written & illustrated by Lucy Cousins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Excitement is in the air as Maisy discovers the fun of going to a wedding with friends. Today Maisy is going to the wedding of her friends Penguin and Ostrich, so she needs to put on a fancy outfit. She can’t wait! When she arrives at the wedding, there are beautiful flowers, lots of gifts, and many people. As music plays, the bride walks down the aisle, then the happy couple exchange their vows while everyone cheers. Afterward, there’s confetti to toss, food to eat, a speech to hear, a band to dance to, and a bouquet to be thrown. Now who do you think will catch it?

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Violet Mackerel's Personal Space
Written by Anna Branford & illustrated by Elanna Allen
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Is it possible to leave a piece of you wherever you go? Violet Mackerel thinks so in this fourth illustrated chapter book of a charming series.</b> <p/>Violet Mackerel believes that wherever you leave something small, a tiny part of you gets to stay too–like how the little piece of green sea glass under the mattress at the beach house means that a little piece of Violet gets to stay on summer holiday. <p/>Violet’s theory is put to the test when Mama and Vincent announce some very special news: They are going to get married. And they are all going to move. Violet is excited for the wedding, but Dylan is angry about the move. Normally, it is nice to be inside with your family when there is a big noisy storm outside and there is pumpkin soup for dinner and something on TV about penguins. But it is hard to enjoy it when your brother is outside in the garden in a leaky tent. <p/>When Dylan won’t budge, the wedding preparations feel a bit sad. But just in time, Violet thinks of the perfect way to help Dylan feel better about moving. And her Theory of Leaving Small Things Behind is going to come in handy!

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List of Things That Will Not Change
Written by Rebecca Stead
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-13
EIGHT STARRED REVIEWS! The reassuring book kids and families need right now.

"An absolute original . . . a story that kids will love." --R. J. Palacio, bestselling author of Wonder

At a time when everything is changing for Bea and her family, the important things will always stay the same. A soon-to-be classic by the Newbery Award-winning author of When You Reach Me.

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  1. Worm Loves Worm - One of Time Out's "LGBTQ+ books for kids to read during Pride Month," this irresistible picture book is a celebration of love in all its splendid forms from debut author J. J. Austrian and the acclaimed author-illustrator of Little Elliot, Big City, Mike Curato.

  2. Donovan's Big Day - Donovan’s two moms are getting married, and he can’t wait for the celebration to begin. After all, as ringbearer, he has a very important job to do. Any boy or girl with same-sex parents–or who knows a same-sex couple–will appreciate this picture book about love, family, and marriage. The story captures the joy and excitement of a wedding day while the illustrations show the happy occasion from a child’s point of view.

  3. The Ring Bearer - Mama’s getting married, and Jackson has an important job to do! A story about love, weddings, and the special joy that is a blended family. Jackson’s mama is getting married, and he gets to be the ring bearer. But Jackson is worried . . . What if he trips? Or walks too slowly? Or drops the rings? And what about his new stepsister, Sophie? She’s supposed to be the flower girl, but Jackson’s not sure she’s taking her job as seriously as she should. In a celebration of blended families, this heartwarming story, stunningly illustrated by the award-winning Floyd Cooper, is a perfect gift for any child who’s nervous to walk down the aisle at a wedding, and shows kids that they can handle life’s big changes.

  4. Sister of the Bride - Barbara can hardly believe her older sister is getting married. With all the excitement of wedding plans going on, Barbara can’t help dreaming of the day she will be the bride. She can’t wait to fall in love. But as the big day gets closer, wedding planning often turns into family arguments. Even the bride and groom are bickering over details, and Barbara’s fun-loving sister is turning into a very practical, grown-up person. Weddings are fun, but all this serious stuff is scary enough to make Barbara think she’s not going to be rushing into a serious romance any time soon.

Want to see books about weddings?

Books About Marriage And Divorce and Divorce

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The Invisible String
Written by Patrice Karst & illustrated by Geoff Stevenson
Thoughts from The Goodfather
I love the lesson shared by this book. I especially love how well the story of the String works literally, like the "tugs" that we feel for each other.
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This sweet story is such a sweet read to help little ones realize that they're connected to the ones they love, even when they're not nearby. Whether that's because a family member passed away, or maybe the child is starting their first day of school, this one will bring comfort and all the good feelings!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Picture book for children 4-8 years of age. A simple story that reminds children they are never truly alone. People who love each other are connected by an invisible string made of love.

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Two Homes
Written by Claire Masurel & illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A young boy named Alex enjoys the homes of both of his parents who live apart but love Alex very much, in a comforting story about the reality of divorce. Reprint.

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Moon Shadow
Written & illustrated by Erin Downing
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Thirteen-year-old Lucia Frank discovers that she can become the girl she’s always wanted to be with the help of a little “moon magic” in this charming novel about the value of friendship, family, and finding yourself. Lucia Frank has never had time for her mom’s “new age” nonsense. She doesn’t believe in any of that stuff. All she wants is to figure out how to get her best friend, Will, back and cope with her parents looming divorce. But then something strange happens on the night of her thirteenth birthday. When the eclipsed moon slips into the shadow of the earth, Lucia’s Shadow slips out. Now hidden in a moonstone, the Shadow waits for Lucia to sleep so it can come out to play. Lucia’s Shadow seems unlike her in almost every way: daring, outspoken, and unwilling to let anyone push her around. But it actually isn’t the anti-Lucia…in fact, her Shadow is very much like the person Lucia wishes she could be. At first, Lucia is eager to undo whatever magic happened on her birthday so life can get back to normal. But when she realizes her Shadow is doing and saying things she has only dreamed about, she wonders if maybe things aren’t all bad. With a little help from her Shadow, she’s turning into the kind of girl she’s always wanted to be.

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  1. The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones - “My secret life is filled with psychic vampires, wheelchair zombies, chain-rattlin ghosts, and a one-eyed cat. But they’re nothing compared to my real-life stalker: a sixth-grade girl named Kandi Kain. The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones is a terrifically funny and poignant story about a boy finding the courage to get to know the real characters all around him and to let them know him.”–

  2. It's Not Your Fault, Koko Bear - KoKo bear learns what divorce means, how to deal with changes and how to recognize and deal with feelings

  3. Always Mom, Forever Dad - Children whose parents no longer live together discover that although much has changed, and time spent with Mom is different than time spent with Dad, love is there no matter what.

  4. My Family's Changing - This unusual picture book for younger children explores the issue of divorce. The author of this book is a psychotherapist and counselor and helps children to face their fears, worries and questions when their family is going through a break-up. A special feature, “What About You?” sidebars appear frequently with questions directed at the child reading the book. The questions encourage children to explore their own feeling about the situation. Full color illustrations throughout.

Books About Marriage And Divorce and Friendship

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Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents a Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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Swim Or Sink
Written by Jake Maddox
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Although only in eighth grade Baxter Reilly is an important member of the Edgeview High School in Tempe, Arizona, and lately the pool has been his place of refuge from the stress of his parents’ separation–but now, between the pending divorce, his father’s miserable apartment, his mother’s new boyfriend, and the resentment and bullying from his older teammates, it is getting harder to focus on his role as the anchor of the 4 x 400 freestyle relay in the upcoming races.

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Drum Roll, Please
Written by Lisa Jenn Bigelow
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Find the confidence to rock out to your own beat in this big-hearted middle grade novel. Not to be missed by fans of Raina Telgemeier’s Drama and Tim Federle’s Better Nate Than Ever! Melly only joined the school band because her best friend, Olivia, begged her to. But to her surprise, quiet Melly loves playing the drums. It’s the only time she doesn’t feel like a mouse. Now she and Olivia are about to spend the next two weeks at Camp Rockaway, jamming under the stars in the Michigan woods. But this summer brings a lot of big changes for Melly: her parents split up, her best friend ditches her, and Melly finds herself unexpectedly falling for another girl at camp. To top it all off, Melly’s not sure she has what it takes to be a real rock n’ roll drummer. Will she be able to make music from all the noise in her heart? Ami Polonsky, acclaimed author of Gracefully Grayson, raved, “Drum Roll, Please is a perfect middle-grade love story. Bigelow delivers a mighty message to turn up the volume on your inner drumbeat.”

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  1. Dirt Diary - The first book in Anna Staniszewski's award-winning YA best selling book series: The Dirt Diaries!

  2. Two Naomis - A realistic contemporary story of two girls whose divorced parents begin to date—perfect for fans of Lisa Graff, Sara Pennypacker, and Rita Williams-Garcia. Other than their first names, Naomi Marie and Naomi Edith are sure they have nothing in common, and they wouldn’t mind keeping it that way.

  3. My Bright Friend - Now that his parents are separated, Ludo has two homes: one in the country with his mom, and the other in the city with his dad. The young boy doesn’t like leaving the countryside and his friends to go to his father’s apartment in the city, but he does find some entertainment in the flashing traffic lights on the street corner under his window. Ludo convinces himself (with the help of his father) that the lights are controlled by a tiny gentleman who sits inside the signal pole, flipping switches all day and night. Ludo starts sneaking out to leave food for the man, and he soon makes a new friend in the big city. A tender story, complemented by vibrant illustrations, that reminds us empathy and generosity are marvelous tools to overcome one’s troubles.

  4. Strider - Strider has a new habit. Whenever we stop, he places his paw on my foot. It isn’t an accident because he always does it. I like to think he doesn’t want to leave me. Can a stray dog change the life of a teenage boy? It looks as if Strider can. He’s a dog that loves to run; because of Strider, Leigh Botts finds himself running – well enough to join the school track team. Strider changes Leigh on the inside, too, as he finally begins to accept his parents’ divorce and gets to know a redheaded girl he’s been admiring. With Strider’s help, Leigh finds that the future he once hated to be asked about now holds something he never expected: hope.

Books About Marriage And Divorce and Family

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Dear Beast
Written by Dori Hillestad Butler & illustrated by Kevan Atteberry
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

A jealous cat really, really, REALLY wants to drive away his young owner’s new dog in this playful illustrated chapter book from a two-time Geisel Honor winner.

Simon has taken care of his owner, Andy, for many years. He’s a good cat. Clean, responsible, and loyal. What more could a boy want? Even when Andy’s dad moves out, Simon is certain that Andy doesn’t need another pet. So why would Andy’s dad adopt a DOG?! To make matters worse, the animal is a rude, rowdy troublemaker.

Simon’s job is clear: the beast has got to go. He decides to write him a letter. Strongly worded, of course. But when the dog’s response sets off an unexpected correspondence, Simon realizes the beast may be here to stay. Can he make room for another pet in Andy’s life?

This funny and heartwarming collaboration between Geisel Honor and Edgar Award-winning author Dori Hillestad Butler and bestselling illustrator Kevan Atteberry is a tribute to the love of a good pet - and the joy found in new friendship. With nine chapters and adorable full-color illustrations on every spread, the series is perfect for kids transitioning from picture books to chapter books.

A Junior Library Guild Selection

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The Prince and the Dressmaker
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 12-17

Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

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Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage
Written by Selina Alko & illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

For most children these days it would come as a great shock to know that before 1967, they could not marry a person of a race different from their own. That was the year that the Supreme Court issued its decision in Loving v. Virginia.<br></br><br></br>This is the story of one brave family: Mildred Loving, Richard Perry Loving, and their three children. It is the story of how Mildred and Richard fell in love, and got married in Washington, D.C. But when they moved back to their hometown in Virginia, they were arrested (in dramatic fashion) for violating that state’s laws against interracial marriage. The Lovings refused to allow their children to get the message that their parents’ love was wrong and so they fought the unfair law, taking their case all the way to the Supreme Court - and won!<br></br>

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  1. Music for Tigers - From Governor General's Literary Award finalist Michelle Kadarusman comes a novel about a young violinist who discovers her mother's family secretly harbor a sanctuary for extinct Tasmanian tigers in the remote Australian rainforest

  2. Lisa and Lottie - When they meet for the first time at summer camp, two ten-year-old girls discover they are twins and plot to bring their divorced parents together again.

  3. Weekends with Max and His Dad - From acclaimed author Linda Urban comes a younger middle-grade novel about the weekend adventures of a boy and his dad, who each see “home” in new ways as they adjust to changes in their family. Max and his dad love their weekends together. Weekends mean pancakes, pizza, spy games, dog walking, school projects, and surprising neighbors! Every weekend presents a small adventure as Max gets to know his dad’s new neighborhood–and learns some new ways of thinking about home. Acclaimed author Linda Urban deftly portrays a third-grader’s inner world during a time of transition in this sweet and funny illustrated story that bridges the early reader and middle grade novel.

  4. Dinosaurs Divorce! - This timely, reassuring picture book is the perfect resource to help young children and their families deal with the confusion, misconceptions, and anxieties apt to arise when divorce occurs.

Books About Marriage And Divorce and Multicultural

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Here and There
Written by Tamara Ellis Smith & illustrated by Evelyn Daviddi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A young boy, Ivan, experiences the early stages of his parents’ separation and finds hope in the beauty and music of nature. This tale of personal growth will provide a much-needed mirror for children in times of change – and an important reminder for all that there’s beauty everywhere you look.

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Magnolia Mudd and the Super Jumptastic Launcher Deluxe
Written by Katey Howes & illustrated by Valerio Fabbretti
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-10

Magnolia Mudd’s Uncle Jamie is the very BEST grown-up. He always invents cool things with her . . . until the day he and Miss Emily announce their engagement. That’s bad enough–but even worse, Miss Emily wants Magnolia to be a FLOWER GIRL! No way is Magnolia tossing petals. But maybe Uncle Jamie’s new bride-to-be is more fun that Magnolia imagined . . .

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Juana and Lucas: Big Problemas
Written & illustrated by Juana Medina
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

When her mami meets someone new, Juana worries that everything will change in a humorous, heartwarming follow-up to the Pura Belpré Award-winning Juana & Lucas. Juana’s life is just about perfect. She lives in the beautiful city of Bogotá with her two most favorite people in the world: her mami and her dog, Lucas. Lately, though, things have become a little less perfect. Mami has a new hairdo and a new amigo named Luis with whom she has been spending a LOT of time. He is kind and teaches Juana about things like photography and jazz music, but sometimes Juana can’t help wishing things would go back to the way they were before. When Mami announces that she and Luis are getting married and that they will all be moving to a new casa, Juana is quite distraught. Lucky for her, though, some things will never change – like how much Mami loves her. Based on author-illustrator Juana Medina’s own childhood in Colombia, this joyful series is sure to resonate with readers of all ages.

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  1. Black, White, Just Right - A girl explains how her parents are different in color, tastes in art and food, and pet preferences, and how she herself is different too but just right.

  2. Blended - Eleven-year-old Isabella’s blended family is more divided than ever in this thoughtful story about divorce and racial identity from the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Out of My Mind, Sharon M. Draper. Eleven-year-old Isabella’s parents are divorced, so she has to switch lives every week: One week she’s Isabella with her dad, his girlfriend Anastasia, and her son Darren living in a fancy house where they are one of the only black families in the neighborhood. The next week she’s Izzy with her mom and her boyfriend John-Mark in a small, not-so-fancy house that she loves. Because of this, Isabella has always felt pulled between two worlds. And now that her parents are divorced, it seems their fights are even worse, and they’re always about HER. Isabella feels even more stuck in the middle, split and divided between them than ever. And she’s is beginning to realize that being split between Mom and Dad is more than switching houses, switching nicknames, switching backpacks: it’s also about switching identities. Her dad is black, her mom is white, and strangers are always commenting: “You’re so exotic!” “You look so unusual.” “But what are you really?” She knows what they’re really saying: “You don’t look like your parents.” “You’re different.” “What race are you really?” And when her parents, who both get engaged at the same time, get in their biggest fight ever, Isabella doesn’t just feel divided, she feels ripped in two. What does it mean to be half white or half black? To belong to half mom and half dad? And if you’re only seen as half of this and half of that, how can you ever feel whole? It seems like nothing can bring Isabella’s family together again—until the worst happens. Isabella and Darren are stopped by the police. A cell phone is mistaken for a gun. And shots are fired.

  3. A Galaxy of Sea Stars - In this heartfelt middle-grade novel, Izzy’s quiet beach town life is upended when a new friendship with a Muslim girl teaches her about acceptance, respect, and being true to what is right. Izzy is starting sixth grade, and she wants her dad to act like he did before he was deployed to Afghanistan. She wants her mom to move back to the marina where they live. Most of all, she wants Piper, Zelda, and herself—the Sea Star Posse—to stay best friends. But everything changes when Izzy’s father invites his former interpreter’s family, including twelve- year-old Sitara, to move in. Izzy doesn’t know what to make of Sitara, with her hijab and refusal to eat cafeteria food, and her presence disrupts the Sea Star Posse. But as Izzy and Sitara grow closer, Izzy must make a choice: stay in her comfort zone and risk betraying her new friend, or speak up and lose the Sea Star Posse forever. A Galaxy of Sea Stars is about family, loyalty, and the hard choices we face in the name of friendship.

  4. Uncle Bobby's Wedding - "A joyous, heartwarming, sweet-and essential-update." Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

Books About Marriage And Divorce and Family Problems

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All of Me
Written by Chris Baron
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Ari has body-image issues. After a move across the country, his parents work selling and promoting his mother’s paintings and sculptures. Ari’s bohemian mother needs space to create, and his father is gone for long stretches of time on “sales” trips. Meanwhile, Ari makes new friends: Pick, the gamer; the artsy Jorge, and the troubled Lisa. He is also relentlessly bullied because he’s overweight, but he can’t tell his parents—they’re simply not around enough to listen. After an upsetting incident, Ari’s mom suggests he go on a diet, and she gives him a book to help. But the book—and the diet—can’t fix everything. As Ari faces the demise of his parents’ marriage, he also feels himself changing, both emotionally and physically. Here is a much-needed story about accepting the imperfect in oneself and in life.

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Tiny Infinities
Written & illustrated by J. H. Diehl
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

When Alice’s dad moves out, leaving her with her troubled mother, she does the only thing that feels right: she retreats to her family’s old Renaissance tent in the backyard, determined to live there until her dad comes home. In an attempt to keep at least one part of her summer from changing, Alice focuses on her quest to swim freestyle fast enough to get on her swim team’s record board. But summers contain multitudes, and soon Alice meets an odd new friend, Harriet, whose obsession with the school’s science fair is equal only to her conviction that Alice’s best stroke is backstroke, not freestyle. Most unexpected of all is an unusual babysitting charge, Piper, who is mute—until Alice hears her speak. A funny and honest middle-grade novel, this sharply observed depiction of family, friendship, and Alice’s determination to prove herself—as a babysitter, as a friend, as a daughter, as a person—rings loud and true.

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If This Were a Story
Written by Beth Turley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In the tradition of Crenshaw and The Thing About Jellyfish, ten-year-old Hannah copes with the bullies at school and troubles at home through the power of stories in this sweet and sincere debut. Tenacious. That means strong-willed. My mother calls me that. I wish I felt the same way. If this were a story, I would discover I was a direct descendent of a famous soldier who won countless battles and protected hundreds of people. This resilience running through my veins wouldn’t be damaged by the notes; it would fight off bullies and prevent my parents from yelling at each other. But this is not a story. This is real life. My life as ten-year-old Hannah Geller, who is the only girl in fifth grade to have little red bumps on her face, is unable to let the sad thoughts escape her mind, and leaves heads-up pennies wherever she can to spread good luck. And who also finds magic in the most unlikely of places.

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  1. Raymie Nightingale - A 2016 National Book Award Finalist! Two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo returns to her roots with a moving, masterful story of an unforgettable summer friendship. Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie’s picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.

  2. Honeybees and Frenemies - Twelve-year-old Flor faces a bittersweet summer with a pageant, a frenemy, and a hive full of honey. It’s the summer before eighth grade and Flor is stuck at home and working at her family’s mattress store, while her best friend goes off to band camp (probably to make new friends). It becomes even worse when she’s asked to compete in the local honey pageant. This means Flor has to spend the summer practicing her talent (recorder) and volunteering (helping a recluse bee-keeper) with Candice, her former friend who’s still bitter about losing the pageant crown to Flor when they were in second grade. And she can’t say no. Then there’s the possibility that Flor and her family are leaving to move in with her mom’s family in New Jersey. And with how much her mom and dad have been fighting lately, is it possible that her dad may not join them? Flor can’t let that happen. She has a lot of work to do.

  3. The Lost Boy's Gift - There are places where you want to go and places where you want to leave. There are also places where you want to stay. Nine-year-old Daniel must move across the country with his mom after his parents’ divorce. He’s leaving behind his whole life—everything—and he’s taking a suitcase of anger with him. But Daniel is in for a surprise when he settles into While-a-Way Lane and meets his new neighbors—the Lemonade Girl, the hopscotching mailman, the tiny creatures, and especially Tilda Butter. Tilda knows how to look and listen closely, and it’s that gift that helps Daniel find his way in that curious place called While-a-Way Lane. Kimberly Willis Holt explores themes of divorce, acceptance, intergenerational friendship, and the power that comes with listening thoughtfully in this insightful novel.

  4. The Friendship Lie - Cora Davis’s life is garbage. Literally. Her professor parents study what happens to trash after it gets thrown away, and Cora knows exactly how it feels—to be thrown away. Between her mom and dad separating and a fallout with her best friend, fifth grade for Cora has been a year of feeling like being tossed into the dumpster. But Cora has learned a couple of things from her parents’ trash-tracking studies: Things don’t always go where they’re supposed to, and sometimes the things you thought you got rid of come back. And occasionally, one person’s trash is another’s treasure, which Cora and Sybella learn when they come across a diary detailing best-friendship problems. Told in two intertwining points of view, comes a warm, wry story of friendship, growing up, and being true to yourself. Written by Rebecca Donnelly, author of How to Stage a Catastrophe (an Indies Introduce and Indie Next List honoree), The Friendship Lie will speak to any reader who has struggled with what to hold on to and what to throw away.

Books About Marriage And Divorce and Social Themes

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Foreverland
Written by Nicole C. Kear
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Endless rides, endless junk food, and endless adventure? Who wouldn't want to live in an amusement park? Foreverland is sure to be a big hit with young readers.
--Suzanne Selfors, national bestselling author of Wish Upon a Sleepover and Fortune's Magic Farm

Nicole C. Kear's Foreverland is a bighearted coming-of-age story about being lost, and finding your way back home again.

Margaret is tired of everything always changing. Middle school has gone from bad to worse. Her best friend is becoming a stranger. And her family--well, it's not even a family anymore.

So Margaret is running away to Foreverland, her favorite amusement park. Hiding out there is trickier than she expects--until she meets Jaime, a thrill-seeking, fast-thinking runaway who teaches Margaret how to stay one step ahead of the captain of security.

At first, this after-hours, all-access pass to the park is a dream come true: sleepovers in the Haunted House, nonstop junk food, and an unlimited ticket to ride. But as the runaways learn each other's secrets, they must face the reasons they left their normal lives behind. With the Captain closing in and Jaime's future on the line, can Margaret finally take control?

Foreverland is an exhilarating story about riding life's rollercoaster--figuring out how to hang on and learning when to let go.

An Imprint Book

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Center of Gravity
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In Shaunta Grimes' middle-grade novel Center of Gravity, a girl loses her mom, and her dad remarries quickly, so she must rebuild her life and friendships.

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Weekend Dad
Written by Naseem Hrab & illustrated by Frank Viva
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

"This home is home because my dad is here, and it's nothing like home because my mom isn't here," thinks the boy in this story when he enters his dad's new apartment for the first time. His dad moved out on Monday and now it's Friday night, the start of his weekend with his dad.

The boy and his dad follow their normal weekend routine -- they eat eggs for breakfast, play cards and spend time at the park. And then they do the same things on Sunday. It is hard to say goodbye at the end of the weekend, but Dad gives his son a letter to remind him that, even if they can't always be together, the boy is loved.

Naseem Hrab has written a poignant yet hopeful story, strikingly illustrated in Frank Viva's signature style, about what happens when parents separate, and the new reality of having two homes.

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  1. Ella Unleashed - The Parent Trap meets Best in Show in this charming novel about a girl who must learn to make peace with the unpredictability of life. Ella Cohen was skeptical when her mom started dating Krishnan just a few months after her parents’ divorce. But two years later, she really likes having her new stepfather around. When she decides to enter a junior dog show, Krishnan even lets her start handling his dog, Elvis. She’s determined to become an expert handler, even after her first show ends in disaster. Unfortunately, some things are harder to control—like Ella’s dad, who has changed a lot since the divorce. He used to be laid back and fun, but now he hovers over her constantly, terrified she’s going to shatter into a million pieces if she so much as hints that everything in her life isn’t perfect. Ella is particularly upset that his animosity toward Krishnan keeps him from coming to watch her handle Elvis, especially when she wins a lottery spot in the National Dog Show in Philadelphia. When Ella’s best friends suggest she find her dad a date to the dog show, it seems like the perfect solution. If her dad has a new girlfriend, surely he won’t mind so much that Ella’s mom has a new husband. So Ella decides to play matchmaker, going so far as to create a fake online dating profile in order to find her dad his one true love. But it turns out people, much like dogs, aren’t always so easy to control, and Ella’s plan backfires at the worst possible moment. Can Ella manage to bring her divided life together in time for her moment in the spotlight?

  2. Rosetown - From Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant comes the charming story of nine-year-old Flora Smallwood and the eventful year she spends in the quiet community of Rosetown, Indiana. For nine-year-old Flora Smallwood, Rosetown, Indiana, is full of surprises, many of the best of which happen at the Wing and a Chair Used Book Shop, where she loves to read vintage children’s books after school in the faded purple chair by the window. But lately, those surprises haven’t been so good. Her dear old dog, Laurence, recently passed away. Not long after, her parents decided to take a breather from their marriage, and now Flora has to move back and forth between their two houses. Plus, she’s just begun fourth grade, and it is so much different than third. Luckily Flora has two wonderful friends—one old and one new. And with them around to share thoughts and laughs and adventures big and small, life in Rosetown still has many sweet moments—and even some very happy surprises!

  3. Name Tags and Other Sixth-Grade Disasters - Fun, funny, and fully heartfelt. Everyone needs true-blue friends like Lizbeth's. SuperChicken for life.
    --Kristin L. Gray, author of The Amelia Six and Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge

    One of those books that explores difficult topics--divorce, a new school, being dubbed a weirdo--with grace and good humor.
    --Rebecca Petruck, author of Boy Bites Bug and Steering Toward Normal

    This hilarious and heartfelt gem is moving straight to my favorites shelf.
    --Lisa Lewis Tyre, author of Last in a Long Line of Rebels and Hope in the Holler

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