Domestic Violence books for kids

Domestic Violence Books for Kids

My mom friend Sarah Perry heads up The Second Step, a non-profit in Newton that provides comprehensive support services to survivors of domestic violence. She reminded me that October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.

I don’t think about Domestic Violence much but when I researched books for kids on this topic, the titles alone broke my heart. And when I went looking for them at the library, my entire list was not on the shelves. Strange, huh?

I’m glad that there is a month every year that raises awareness about domestic violence because it’s under my radar in my day to day life. Luckily, there are brave souls out there who fight on behalf of victims of domestic violence.

One such stand out is actor Patrick Steward. I knew him from my obsession years ago with Star Trek: The Next Generation where he played Captain Jean Luc Picard. Watch this video below in which he answers a question from a brave soul about violence against women and what matters most to Patrick Steward.


Patrick Steward and Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Books for Kids

It’s a difficult subject to read about domestic violence in children’s literature. It’s important, though, for kids who experience fear from their parents or step parents fighting to be able to talk about it. I hope this list helps kids who need these kinds of books. Can you please help me add to this list? Thank you!


Picture Books for Kids About Domestic Violence from Different Perspectives

When They Fight by Kathyrn White, illustrated by Cliff Wright

A small badger is frightened when his parents fight. Using poetic language, this picture book can help facilitate a discussion with a child and reassure him or her about relationships within a family. The beautiful watercolor illustrations combine monotone “scary” images against a color inset to show how little badger is feeling inside. [picture book, ages 2 and up]

When they fight,

the world shakes.

The house quakes.

Beasts roar

and beat on the door.

Clover’s Secret by Christine Winn & David Walsh

In an imaginary land where people can fly, two girls form a friendship that helps one of them deal with the problems she faces at home. [Picture book, ages 4 – 10]

Daddy is a Monster … Sometimes by John Steptoe

Daddy has a way of turning into a scary monster when Bweela and her younger brother Javaka are messy, noisy or annoying. And daddy says, “… Well, I’m probably a monster daddy when I got monster kids.” This could be a good jumping off book for kids as the story is warmly affectionate about how kids sometimes feel about their dad when he is threatening to spank them. This is also a multicultural book showing an African American single parent family. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

I Don’t Want to Go To Justin’s House Anymore by Heather Klassen, illustrated by Beth Jepson

Collin doesn’t want to go to his best friend Justin’s house anymore because since Justin’s dad lost his job, he’s not very nice to Justin. Collin’s mom makes him go anyway. As they are playing, they get hot.

“I’m hot,” says Justin. He stands up and pulls his sweater off over his head. That makes his T-shirt go up too. I see a big black-and-purple bruise on his back.

Heartbreaking, isn’t it? The story ends with Justin being picked up early after witnessing more violence. This time, he is able to explain what is happening to his mom who calls to get Justin’s family help. [picture book, ages 5 and up]

A Safe Place Maxine Trottier

A mother escapes to a domestic violence shelter with her young daughter, where she builds up her strength and gains the courage to begin a new life. As they leave, the little girl gives hope to a frightened boy just entering the shelter. [picture book, 5-9 years]


Mommy’s Black Eye by William Bentrim

Thank you to This Kid Reviews Books for his interview with William Bentrim where I found this book.

Mr. Bentrim – I got an email last week from a Girl Scout leader in Tennessee who thanked me for writing Mommy’s Black Eye and for the domestic violence resources on my web site.  Her girls are preparing for October being National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.


Two Outstanding Debut Chapter Books for Kids with Domestic Violence Themes

One for the Murphys by Lynda Hunt

Carley becomes a foster child with the Murphy family after suffering from a severe attack by her step dad that leaves her mother still recuperating in the hospital. Despite reservations on both Carley’s part and the Murphy father, her stort stay with her foster family changes everyone. She experiences a loving, stable family life that she’s never known. This is a book that you can’t put down. It will will you cry but you will want to reread it immediately. It might even inspire you to become a foster parent one day!  [chapter book, ages 10 and up]

Catch Rider by Jennifer H. Lyne

Fourteen-year-old Sid’s life is upside down after her father Jimmy dies in a car accident. She hates her mom’s new boyfriend. Her life is all about horses, just like her dad’s had been. After her mom’s boyfriend hits her, she moves in with her Uncle Wayne. He has the same gift as her father to evaluate, break, and train a horse. Her dream is to become a catch rider, a show rider who can ride anything for any kind of competition. And if they can make money off the new horse Uncle Wayne bought, maybe this is the ticket to getting her mom away from that boyfriend. [young adult chapter book, ages 12 and up]

To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

 Domestic Violence books for kids

I am an Amazon affiliate which means if you buy anything through my blog, I get a very small kickback at no cost to you. I use this money to pay for postage and handling for my giveaways.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Particularly impressed with When They Fight…it is really difficult to bring a subject like this down to the level of very young children, but it sounds like this book accomplishes that aim.

    • Hi Barbara,
      When They Fight is perfect for preschoolers and younger kids and I liked how it was animals instead of people. I think that would make it easier for kids to relate to and not feel scared about talking about the topic of parents fighting and how they feel (let alone if they get hurt).
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Domestic Violence Books for KidsMy Profile

  2. This is such an important list – thank you for compiling it. One for the Murphys is a fantastic middle grade title – so glad you included it here. Another picture book that could be added to your list: The Magic Beads written by Susin Nielsen-Fernlund It deals with a little girl and her mother who are living in a shelter.
    Carrie Gelson recently posted…Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Preschool animal discoveriesMy Profile

  3. What an important topic for a children’s book. So important yet difficult to address. Great list, Mia.
    Erica recently posted…7 Simple Tips for an Enjoyable Family Game NightMy Profile

  4. I feel so blessed that neither me nor my husband were raised in the homes plagued with domestic violence. Having a stable and loving family is a true gift, and books like these on your list help us appreciate this gift.
    Natalie recently posted…Comparative Geography for Children–Korea and NorwayMy Profile

  5. That “Murphy” book sounds good. I’ll try to find it. 🙂
    Erik – This Kid Reviews Books recently posted…Space Cop Zack, Protector of the Galaxy by Don WinnMy Profile

  6. Ann

    Heartbreaking. The video was amazingly moving too.
    Ann recently posted…Souper!My Profile

  7. Such an important topic. Thank you for putting this list together!
    maryanne recently posted…Playing Catch Up!My Profile

  8. Domestic violence is hard topic of discussion as I faced the same problem in my childhood (excuse me, but I won’t tell you more about that). The most difficult thing is that children get psychological damage, which can sometimes lead to anything from taciturnity to escapes from home. You gave me a very nice idea, and I think I’m going to write my review of such books also, but when I’ll dive into it more. Thanks…
    Maria G. recently posted…Detailed Review of Sigma DP3 MerrillMy Profile

  9. All schools should have a list like this if they discover children who are suffering under domestic violence. It’s upsetting to think of any child damaged psychologically and/or physically but it’s good to see that there are authors trying to help them – and lists like this then made available.
    Kriss MacDonald recently posted…Halloween in Britain – import or export?My Profile

    • Hi Kriss,
      My heart breaks for the child and the teacher who may be the confidant of the child in his or her classroom. But hopefully, if the child in need gets the right book, it will help. I’m grateful for these books that address domestic violence from different angles and for different ages.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…20 Gentle Chapter Books for a Young GirlMy Profile

  10. Oh, this must have been a hard list to put together. I know these books are important for some kids, though. Thanks for sharing it with us at After School.
    Anna recently posted…Letter M Crafts for PreschoolersMy Profile

  11. Thank you for this timely post. I am frequently asked about books just as these. (I’ve also been on the hunt to find one that discusses human trafficking.) Now, I am a resource I can share with others. Perfect!
    Sheila recently posted…Magic Moments Monday in November!My Profile

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