My Parents Are Divorced, My Elbows Have Nicknames, and Other Facts about Me

My Parents are Divorced, My Elbows Have Nicknames, and Other Facts about Me by Bill Cochran, illustrated by Steve Bjorkman.

Ted’s parents are divorced, but that is just one aspect of this kid.  His parents may live separately, may not watch his games together, and he may still be sad whenever he thinks about the divorce, but that definitely doesn’t mean that Ted is weird.  What makes Ted weird are the other parts of his life:  eating cold spaghetti sauce out of the jar, naming his elbows, and wearing soap Mohawks.  When taken all together, Ted is the sum of many things and being the son of divorced parents is a big part but only a part of him.

This book takes divorce and makes it normal.  It talks about the feelings, the confusion, the pain of divorce but offsets it with the humor and silliness of Ted’s other interests.  In this way, Cochran makes it into more than a simple book on divorce.  It becomes a book that any child, from a divorced family or not, can see themselves in, and see themselves celebrated.  Yes, it is a book about divorce, but just like Ted, that is only a part of what it is.

Bjorkman’s illustrations gleefully add to the silliness of the story.  Nicely, the pages about the divorce are not darker or different.  They are just as bright and colorful as the rest.  In the most poignant illustration, Ted sits between his parents as they tell him about the divorce.  He is snug up against his mother with his hand and arm reaching toward his father on the other side of the couch.  A lovely illustration that encompasses the feel of divorce in a single image.

Highly recommended as a book on divorce that will not depress children but will encourage moving through it and beyond.  Appropriate for ages 5-8.

Reviewed from copy received from publicist.

Also reviewed on Book Dads, Young Readers, and A Chair, a Fireplace and a Tea Cozy.

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