Max's divorce earthquake by Rachel Brace

cover image

Illus. by Angela Perrini. Little Steps, 2019. ISBN: 9781925839142.
(Ages: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Divorce, Emotions, Families, Change. Divorce can be a very difficult time for all in a family and this book, written by a psychologist who assists families during separations, will truly assist parents to help their children cope with the complex feelings they may experience during a divorce.
The analogy of an earthquake is a very clever device in this story and shows the level of disturbance that divorce can bring to a child's life in a clear and enlightening way.
The story shows how the parents in this child's life spend time talking and explaining the many feelings Max is expressing and that they don't judge him but support him to identify and cope with them.
The physical changes to Max's everyday life are woven through the story. The two homes he lives in, where he leaves his things, who is picking them up from school, what his parents will say to each other when they meet, are all impacting on his life. He expresses his worries through the story and shows how they minimize towards the end. It was very satisfying to see that Max realizes that his life will settle down and that his parents will always love him, even though his family life has changed dramatically.
The wonderful illustrations for this book done by Italian-born Angela Perrini, capture the mood of each page to perfection. The simple water-colour based pictures show us how rocky Max's world is at the beginning and show the calmness that transcends towards the end of the book as he works through his emotions and comes to realise that even though his life has changed dramatically he can still feel the love that envelopes him from his family (like the blanket shown in the last illustration).
I would recommend this book for every school and library as it would be a must read for parents and caregivers struggling to talk to their children about a separation or divorce. A book trailer is available.
Gabrielle Anderson