When you think of children’s books, you probably think about happy stuff. Carnivals, bicycles, pizza. And you should. Those topics deserve to be in books of all kinds—especially for young children! But sometimes, a hard topic like divorce belongs in a kids’ book.

Why?

Because divorce and separation is part of many kids’ worlds. These are the everyday reality for many young girls and young boys. And children need to realize they’re not alone as they work through the complex emotions that separation and divorce bring about.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. When I was writing my first middle-grade realistic fiction book, I’m 12 Years Old And I Saved The World, I didn’t make the whole story up. Adam’s dad losing his job and Adam’s fear that his parents would get divorced is true. I know, because it’s my story.

If you’ve not read the book, I won’t tell you whether Adam’s parents get divorced. But mine did. And even though I was an adult when it happened, I was scared and sad. My world was changed forever. I have new family dynamics to deal with and new family diversity as both of my parents remarried.

For a few years after the divorce, I dealt with intense feelings and tough times. I knew my parents loved me, but it was still tough.

As adults, we try to protect our children from the harsh realities of life. Instead of tackling hard topics head on, we sugarcoat them or avoid them altogether.

Unfortunately, doing this only makes life harder for kids. It confuses them. Because while they may be young and inexperienced, children are not dumb. They know when things are not as they should be.

This middle-grade book admits that. It confirms that kids are smarter than adults often want to acknowledge. And I suspect this is why the book has found a special place in so many hearts. Some have even declared this to be their favorite book, an honor I never anticipated when writing it.

To any kids with families that are struggling to stay together, stay strong. Remember that if your parents separate or get divorced, it is not your fault, and your parents and other family members don’t love you any less.

Struggling to believe this? Don’t keep these scary feelings inside! Tell someone about your pain. Find a close friend or relative, a counselor or neighbor to talk with.

And if you know if a child looking for a book with a sweet story that gives hope and a gentle reminder that younger kids, older children, younger teens, and older teens aren’t responsible for their parents’ marital problems, check out the full reviews of I’m 12 Years Old And I Saved The World or grab a copy and decide what you think of it on your own.