Materials for Counselors, Teachers & Parents

How are children affected by divorce and death? How can schools provide help for teens and small children of divorce or deceased parents?

Most of the following materials are available to purchase online at and Barnes &, or elsewhere as noted.

Gay/Lesbian Family Issues
Materials to Help Plan Children's Groups

I. Death

Christ, G.H. Healing Children's Grief: Surviving a Parent's Death from Cancer (Oxford U. Press, NY, 2000)

Uses narratives about children ages 3-17 and their families, plus theory, to help us understand mourning & reconstruction of life after a death.

Fry, V.L. Part of Me Died Too (Dutton, 1995)

A hospice worker tells stories of her work with all age children, using art and other means of expression to help them cope with deaths of all kinds.

Grollman, E. Talking About Death: A Dialogue Between Parent & Child (Beacon Press, 1990)

Useful for professionals and parents, for appreciating developmental differences in understanding of death & ways to help young children.

Krementz, Jill. How It Feels When a Parent Dies (Alfred Knopf, NY, 2004)

Reissue of excellent book of photographs and interviews with children ages 7 to 16. They tell their feelings about the funeral, about people who talk about the deceased with them, what they'd like from peers at school...A rare window into the children's experience.

Schaefer, D. & Lyons, C. How Do We Tell the Children? (Newmarket Press, NY, 2001)

Addressed to parents of children age 2 to teenage, addressing this question and discussing children's ongoing assimilation of the event. Excellent for teachers and counselors too.

II. Divorce/Stepfamilies

Bray, J. with Kelly, J. Stepfamilies: Love, Marriage and Parenting in the First Decade (Broadway Books, NY, 1998)

Very readable paperback account of author's 10-year study of stepfamilies, what helps them go well or go off the rails. For parents and professionals.

Diamond, S.A. Helping Children of Divorce: A Handbook for Parents & Teachers (Schocken Books, NY, 1985)

Excellent small book, focusing on how schools can best respond in case of divorce. Chapters can be copied for teachers' immediate use to help them deal professionally and supportively with divorce in their classroom. Deals with teenagers and younger students.

Marquardt, E. Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce (Crown Pub., NY, 2005)

Study of people in their 20's & 30's; compares responses from divorced, unhappy/high conflict, unhappy/low conflict, and happy marriages. Bottom line: regardless how "good" the divorce, the toll is high on the children.

Pedro-Carroll, JoAnne. Putting Children First: Proven Parenting Strategies for Helping Children Thrive Through Divorce (Penguin, 2010)

Complete, sensitive guide for parents, by the developer of another school-based program, the Children of Divorce Intervention Program (see Materials to Help Plan Children's Groups, below.)

Visher, J. & E. How to Win as a Stepfamily (Dembner Books, NY, 1991)

For parents, to help navigate the changes and realize it takes time to build a stepfamily.

Wolfe, A. Why Did You Have To Get a Divorce? And When Can I Get a Hamster? (Amazon, 1998)

By the author of Get Out of My Life but First Could You Take Me and Cheryl to the Mall?, combines humor with good advice about helping children navigate divorce.

III. Gay/Lesbian Family Issues

Buxton, A.P. The Other Side of the Closet: The Coming-Out Crisis for Straight Spouses and Families (Wiley, 1994)

How straight spouses and children feel and deal with coming-out of a parent (one reason for divorces.) Very useful for parents and professionals.

IV. Materials to Help Plan Children's Groups

Margolin, S. Complete Group Counseling Program for Children of Divorce: Ready-to-Use Plans & Materials for Small & Large Groups, Grades 1-6 (Center for Applied Research in Education, West Nyack, NY, 1996)

Title says it all. Some activities are adaptable for older students.

Melekoff, A. Group Work with Adolescents: Principles & Practice (Guilford Press, NY, 2015)

Very good basic book about general group practice with middle-schoolers and up.

O'Rourke, K. & Worzbyt, J. Support Groups for Children (Creative Therapy Store,,1996)
Available for purchase at

Excellent guide to setting up & running groups of all types: divorce, bereavement, stepchildren, children of alcoholics, social skills, stress relief...

Pedro-Carroll, J. & Alpert-Gillis, L. The Children of Divorce Intervention Program: A Procedure Manual one each for K-1, 2-3, 4-6 grades, and adolescents (1993; Available at

Fine 12-session plan with reproducible materials for running groups. There is also a board game.

Rosely, V. & Johnston, J. High Conflict, Violent, and Separating Families: A Group Treatment Manual for School-Age Children (Free Press, NY, 1997)

Excellent source of activities, with careful delineation of the rationale for each one in terms of the needs of the participants. Good for all kinds of separation situations.

Schmidt, T. & T. Spence. Thomas Barker Talks About Divorce and Separation (Johnson Institute, 1991)

Program for young elementary students.

Sunderland, M. Draw On Your Emotions (1999; Western Psychological Services)
Available for purchase at Western Psychological Services

Reproducible materials & instructions for using very simple drawing activities to explore feelings (i.e.: the Life Graph, the First Aid Kit.) No talent required!