Each day, 1,300 new blended families are formed in the United States. Navigating the world of two family units merging as one can be particularly challenging, especially for children. Books can help kids work through their feelings and normalize and validate their own experiences within the context of their new environment. Below are eight books for children of all ages to help them understand the dynamics of blended families and learn to cope with the changes.
“Do You Sing Twinkle?” by Sandra Levins
Divorce can be a hard adjustment for children. When parents remarry, the adjustment becomes more complicated. Kids have a lot of questions. Their emotions might be up and down, and understanding what is happening around them can be very confusing.
“Do You Sing Twinkle?” is told from a young boy’s point of view, offering children a chance to learn firsthand what it’s like to live between two homes. An enlightening note from Jane Annunziata, PsyD is included for parents who want to talk to their kids and help them warm up to their new living situation. The book is both a sensitive story and an insightful guide for stepfamilies.
“The Family Book” by Todd Parr
“The Family Book” introduces children to families of all types, including the blended family. Not all families are the same, and this delightful read sums up that thought with colorful illustrations and poignant details that get to the heart of the matter and help children process what’s happening around them. It’s a great book for teaching kids acceptance of and appreciation for diversity and family.
“Amy Meets Her Stepsister” by Callie Barkley
Part of “The Critter Club” series, which invokes a love of animals into every story, “Amy Meets Her Stepsister” tells the tale of two stepsisters who may never be friends. Amy is thrilled to meet her new stepsister Chloe, but Chloe doesn’t feel the same way. Chloe is nice to Amy when the grown-ups are around, but becomes very mean when she and Amy are alone. Can they work out their troubles and get along? Or will this family fall apart too?
“Why Do Families Change? Our First Talk About Separation and Divorce” by Dr. Jillian Roberts
“Why Do Families Change?” is part of the “Just Enough” series, which are designed to be conversation starters for parents and children. This book focuses on separation, divorce, and what happens next, including the possibility of a blended family. Author Dr. Jillian Roberts is a child and adolescent psychologist who specializes in children’s development and well-being.
“Hey, Who’s in My House? Stepkids Speak Out” by Erin Mantz
Author Erin Mantz is quick to point out that according to The Stepfamily Foundation, one in three Americans live in a stepfamily. Much has been written about the wicked stepmother or overstepping stepfather, but this book aims to present blended families in a new light and focuses solely on stepsiblings. “Hey, Who’s in My House?” shares real stories from real kids who have experienced the adjustment from nuclear family to “Hey, Who’s in My House?”.
by Lisa Cohn
“A much-needed book for young teens living through family upheaval. Whether due to divorce or death, many tweens are dealing with stepparents, stepsiblings, invasions of privacy, and changes in household rules,” says one Amazon reviewer. The book includes upbeat illustrations, fun quizzes, advice from other stepkids, “survival tools” to use when the going gets tough, and suggestions for what to do when nothing else seems to be working.
“We Are All Made of Molecules” by Susin Nielsen
Ashley and Stewart, new stepsiblings, are still reeling from the changes of living under the same roof – with near strangers. Stewart is a quirky, intellectual student suffering from the loss of his mother. Ashley is the popular fashionista who is learning to cope with her parents’ divorce. Through heartbreaking and humorous twists and turns, the teens find themselves questioning values, friendship, and what it really means to be a family. Will they ever find common ground and accept their new beginning?
Blended: Writers on the Stepfamily Experience by Samantha Waltz
Ideal for older teens and young adults, “Blended: Writers on the Stepfamily Experience” explores the dynamics of blended families through the experiences of thirty writers who have “been there.” These deeply personal anecdotes capture the true reality of stepfamilies and what it’s like to live with people who are different from you.
“Families are assembled and disassembled in a variety of ways. Each set of circumstances is unique. This collection of heartfelt stories shines a bright light on what it really means to be a part of a stepfamily. No one asks to be part of one, the ebbs and flows of life lead some of us there,” says an Amazon reviewer.
What books would you recommend to help kids understand the dynamics of blended families?