i and the Great Divide
by Fiona McGlynn, illustrated by Robin Urquhart

Love Letter Press, 2013. ISBN 978-1-490-43423-0.
Reviewed by Judy Miller
Posted on 11/11/2013

Younger Readers; Nonfiction: Life Lessons; Nonfiction: Relationships

I was compelled to immediately read i and the Great Divide upon pulling the book from its shipping envelope, so captured was I by the fun, colorful and quirky illustrations on the cover. i and the Great Divide, written for children ages 6-9, explores the sensitive subject of separation and divorce. I felt invited and the "child-me" surfaced; the child of divorce felt safe.

i and the Great Divide examines separation and divorce through the perspective of the egocentric child, represented by the alphabet letter "i." The reader follows i as she expresses her thoughts and acts out about her parents'—"t" and "n"—decision to not live together.

Children of divorce often attempt to take the blame of their parents' separation and/or act out, and McGlynn address this with great understanding and empathy. i and the Great Divide will resonate with children of separation and divorce, helping them to process their own thoughts and feelings.

Through the use of wonderful poetry and letters (delightfully illustrated by Robin Urquhart), McGlynn is able to represent the many types and truths of families. This reader found the approach very clever.

Kiddos will likely be drawn in by the illustrations and the story, a great springboard for discussion of feelings and the "whys." A few discussion questions are included in the back of the book. McGlynn also provides resources for children and their families on her website.

Author Fiona McGlynn grew up on the west coast with a love of stories. Like i, Fiona's family changed when she was young. Fiona found this hard at the time but later realized that it had all worked out for the best. She wrote i and the Great Divide to help others with changing families. Fiona loves to play ukulele, climb rocks, sail boats, and curl up with a good cup of tea and a book.

Illustrator Robin Urquhart was born and raised in Canada's great white North. His father, a well-known Northern cartoonist, instilled in him a love for bringing stories to life through pictures. In addition to drawing, he loves animals, climbing and playing music. Robin lives in an igloo (not true) and takes a dogsled to school everyday (also not true).

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