In her introduction to “Sending Love… My “Different-Functional” Family,” Lori Hilliard explains that this children’s book was created in order to have a storybook that would show real photos of a real child going through divorce, rather than “made up characters.”
The book is narrated by her son, 5-year-old Joshua, who shows us the members of his “different-functional” family that has survived divorce. Any child will identify with the things that Joshua deems important; family, home, school, pets and the good feeling that comes with understanding that even when things in one’s family are different than other people’s family, there can still be an abundance of love.
The book is full of real people, a family, real places, real pets and a real situation that DadsDivorce.com visitors know the difficulty of. But, divorce is mentioned as just another fact of life. Children, it seems, don’t focus too much on the abstract concepts of adult life, but rather on the importance of stability and security in their own world. And, Joshua’s world is reassuringly stable and safe.
Lori Hilliard credits her ex-husband Timothy for providing many of the colorful family photos that adorn the visually engaging book, and lists him as well on the cover. It is a testament that perhaps might be only picked up by the adult reader, that divorce doesn’t mean the end of partnership where the children are concerned.
Kids reading this book with their parents will find themselves getting lost in the bright images, vibrant and imaginative child-centric design, and engaging narrative. But, Hilliard goes beyond showing Joshua’s story.
The second half of the book offers blank spaces where the young reader can past his or her own photos in the book, creating a kind of do-it-yourself affirmation that even in a “different-functional” world, love survives. The last page offers mom and dad the opportunity to write what they each think about when they think about their child, and a place for them to sign their names.
We at DadsDivorce.com recommend “Sending Love… My “Different-Functional” Family” as a great way to discuss what matters most: the endurance of love for our children no matter what.
Rick Ortiz is editor of DadsDivorce.com