No matter who we're with by Robert Vescio
Ill. Cheri Scholten. IP Kidz, 2013. ISBN 9781922120212.
This is a sensitive story about two children who are dealing with an issue that so many of our students do - their parents are separated and they spend time living at both houses. Even though they do different things with each parent, like growing their own vegetables in mum's splendiferous garden or helping dad make spaghetti bolognese, there's a joy that shines through and the most important message that regardless of who they're with they know they are loved and that will never change.
Cheri Scholten's colourful illustrations are the perfect accompaniment as they manage to portray the fun and joy and love the children have, reaffirming and reassuring the young reader that even monumental events like your parents separating can be overcome.
So many children struggle with their parents' separation, and often blame themselves. They believe that if they had been better, then their parents would not have split. And then, on top of that guilt, comes the perceived difficulties of spending time with both parents which often leaves them confused and conflicted. The beauty of this book is that it demonstrates that they can have fun with both parents and celebrate the spontaneity and pleasures of childhood, making the most of what is, rather than regretting what was or what should be. It's a book that needs to be in the library's collection so that our young readers can read about other children just like them, which in itself, can be a powerful healer. It might even be the catalyst for getting a troubled child to write their own story about the good things they do with each parent and realise that they are loved by both and that won't change, no matter what.