Former elementary school teacher Roth’s debut picture book gently imparts an essential message: When a marriage ends, the well-being of the children involved is “the most important thing.”
Third-grader Sadie knows something is up at home. Her mom and dad look sad and stop talking when she comes into the room. The happiness she feels about Grandma’s unexpected visit turns to anxiety when Sadie’s sent outside to play because Mom and Grandma want to talk privately. An “A” on a test and a new friend at school can’t take away Sadie’s sense that “something was wrong” at home; even her teacher at school seems to be in on the secret. When a stranger in a “fancy business outfit” comes to the house for a conference with Mom and Dad, the little girl is sent to the kitchen for her favorite snack—but her nervous tummy won’t let her eat. All that Sadie has been able to catch during whispered conversations is the grown-ups’ concern about “the most important thing.” What could it be? This poignant, age-appropriate story—complemented by illustrator Grajczyk’s simple but expressive illustrations—portrays Sadie’s anger, sadness and eventual acceptance of her parents’ divorce. Roth shapes the book’s painful subject with sensitivity and an informed awareness of how deeply affected children are by divorce. She also conveys how important it is for parents to mitigate—through caring communication—the damaging confusion, loss, insecurity and guilt that children may experience when a marriage ends. This gentle picture book can be a valuable tool, not only for children of divorce, but for parents and family counselors, too.
A sensitive, informed picture book about a child’s deep need for communication and reassurance when parents divorce, useful for children, parents and family counselors.