Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Parents are Divorced, My Elbows Have Nicknames, and Other Facts About Me by Bill Cochran and illustrated by Steve Bjorkman

I was pleasantly surprised when I read My Parents are Divorced, My Elbows Have Nicknames, and Other Facts About Me by Bill Cochran and illustrated by Steve Bjorkman. I think it is an excellent book that focuses on a child of divorce. However, I think it is appropriate for children who have divorced parents, who have parents going through a divorce, and for children who have parents who are married/single parent/other. It is for all children. While it may be more beneficial to some, all children would be able to take away the same message "but that doesn't mean I'm weird" regarding their differences.
This book follows a boy who has parents who are divorced. He discusses aspects of his life other than divorce that may be unique to him or different from other people, but he stresses "but that doesn't mean I'm weird". There are parts of comic relief where he says "thats a little weird". For example, he nicknamed his elbows. This adds some light hearted parts that accompany the possibly more difficult to discuss ideas. His parents are divorced, he spends time with both of them, he likes his stepmother, BUT--that doesn't make him weird.
If it is unclear, I really liked this book. I found myself realizing that these are some things that kids may say to children who have divorced parents such as, "that's weird" when they learn this detail about their family life. I have spent time shadowing elementary school counselors, and there were a few children who have faced divorce. They had these same thoughts. However, others thought it was weird simply because they didn't know anyone like them. This would be a helpful tool to help them realize they are not alone. Although it is just one book, it could really help them.
The illustrations in this book were bright and cartoon-like. The scenes had lots of detail, but it was not overwhelming. My favorite part of the illustrations was how the illustrator chose to display the catch phrase "but that doesn't mean I'm weird" in large, colorful letters.
If I could make any suggestions, I would possibly like to see holidays mentioned or other issues that may be faced by children in divorced families that others may see as "weird". I would recommend this book to others, and I really liked it.

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