Need Help Talking About Family Separation with Your Child?

Need Help Talking About Family Separation with Your Child?

We, like so many others, are outraged and horrified by our country’s recent separation of families at the border. What is happening is cruel and heartbreaking. Many people, including our amazing followers, have spoken up and pushed back against this devastating situation. People are working hard not just to end all family separations, but also to bring the families that have been separated back together.


But how do you talk to your children about it?

Family separation is a hard topic to explain. It’s a scary situation for children (and anyone) to imagine, especially when they think about how they would feel if they were separated from their own caregivers. It is hard for them to wrap their minds around how or why this could happen. It is difficult for them to make sense of the impact this could have on families (and it's difficult for us to make sense of it, too).

How do you explain the trauma and the fear that so many families are experiencing in a way that makes sense for a child? How do you explain how this could happen?

We know it can be difficult to talk to children about this topic, and it is sometimes hard for them to make sense of it. Here are two books we recommend that can help:

Mama's Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation is the story of Saya, a young girl whose mother is sent to an immigration detention center. The story "shows the human side of immigration and imprisonment."


Se Llevaron a Papa / They Took Dad tells the story of Karina, a 10-year-old girl whose father is deported to Mexico. The story is told in English and Spanish.

While these books are not written about the exact situation we see happening at United States borders today, they delve in the topic of family separation from a child's perspective. By using these as a launching off point, you can have a conversation about this horrible reality with your young children.

These books are a great start, but there is so much more to cover. What other books do you recommend to help explain this heartbreaking situation to kids?

For more ways to bring social justice to the little ones in your life, sign up for the LJL newsletter here

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