As a child of divorce, I can tell you that the worst part is feeling alone, and feeling like no one could ever understand how awful it is. This book counters those terrible feelings in a beautiful, heartfelt, funny, and digestible way. So incredibly important.—PETER PAIGE, executive producer and co-creator of ABC Family's "The Fosters"
Anastasia Higginbotham...doesn’t sugarcoat the words or the charmingly rumpled illustrations in her new book about parents spitting up...With real humor and no pretension, Ms. Higginbotham offers kids empathy necessary to gain hope and perspective on any traumatic event.—JULIE BOWEN, actress, "Modern Family"
Honest, frank, and oh so authentic...with a touch of humor, this story helps kids feel less alone and more understood at a time when they feel their whole word is falling apart.—HAPPILY EVER ELEPHANTS
This book provides, through honest language and evocative imagery, a uniquely realistic view of how children experience divorce. While neither softening or whitewashing this difficult topic, Higginbotham offers an ultimately comforting message to parents and children experiencing separation and divorce.—LISA SPIEGEL, LMHC, Soho Parenting, NYC
As families reconfigure through divorce, the best interest of a child should be front and center. Sharing Divorce Is the Worst can help parents focus on their child’s needs as distinct from their own, encourage supportive communication, and nourish resilience for future well being.—ABBY ROSMARIN, Esq., LMHC Mediation Counsel, McCarthy Fingar, LLP and Executive Director of the New York Association of Collaborative Professionals
Higginbotham...manages to have compassion for the adults in this story without letting them off the hook. The 3-D collage, paper-bag art is absolutely beautiful...I wish this book had been around for my nephews when they were going through their parent’s divorce.—AMY RAY, musician, the Indigo Girls
I wish so much that this book had existed during my divorce, to help my daughter through. I also wish it had existed during my parents’ divorce, to help me through. Thank God someone is finally talking to kids about every day, terrible things. That alone makes them feel less terrible.—KRISTA VERNOFF, screenwriter, "Grey's Anatomy," "Shameless"
“Talking about ordinary terrible things is an essential part of healing from them. Sometimes you need other people’s words when you can’t seem to find the right ones yourself. This is a cool book full of medicine for the heartsick child.”ANI DIFRANCO, musician
First in the Ordinary Terrible Things series, Higginbotham’s debut children’s book offers a frank look at the painful, confused emotions that are often a part of divorce. Set on the brown paper of bagged school lunches, the collaged artwork incorporates fabric scraps, torn photographs, and hand-lettered text as (largely unseen) parents tell their child that they are divorcing. “It can come as a surprise. When it does, it’s the worst,” writes Higginbotham as the child (whose gender is kept neutral) gasps. Higginbotham draws the child’s features in ink, and readers follow a chain of emotions that includes shock, anger, sadness, and (short-lived) hope. “You’re getting me a horse?” the child asks. “Um no,” comes the response. “A divorce.” The illustrations deliver a substantial emotional impact—a series of pages shows the child doing household chores while “reasons” like “We fell out of love” and “We’ve changed” appear on dirty dishes and thick gray carpeting. But it’s Higginbotham’s directness and refusal to talk down to her audience that will make this book such an asset to families negotiating divorce. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)
K-Gr 3—This insightful and attractive picture book looks at divorce from a child's perspective. The title opens on a gender-neutral and ethnically ambiguous child being told by (unseen) parents that they're planning on splitting up. The child addresses readers directly about divorce while going about daily life (riding a bike, going to the bathroom). Higginbotham is honest with kids, acknowledging unpleasant truths, such as typical emotional responses (anger, guilt, sorrow) and what to expect from parents (crying, fighting, even offering kids bribes to soften the blow). She also places the burden directly on parents: "We don't decide our parents' lives. What they decide affects our lives." The beautiful collage illustrations (backgrounds look like ripped or wrinkled craft paper with photos and other images pasted on) and hand-lettered typeface give the book a homemade feel that will resonate with children. Higginbotham's decision not to portray the parents is a wise one: because readers never see a mother or a father, the title could be used for same-sex divorces, too. Appended are instructions aimed at helping kids express negative emotions by making a collage of their own. VERDICT While divorce books are plentiful, this one stands above the rest.—Brooke Newberry, La Crosse Public Library, WI