In January 2019, the Japanese edition of a Singaporean picture book about children in divorced families, translated by a Meiji Gakuin University’s Vice President and Professor of Sociology, Shinji Nozawa, was published by The Japanese Association for Research on Children of Divorced Families and Stepfamilies. Titled Dear Mom and Dad, Don’t Make Me Feel Bad: A Child of Divorce Speaks Up, the book is available on the Association’s website (http://www.jarcds.org/document.html). Professor Nozawa is a family sociologist who has been studying stepfamilies for many years.
The book was originally published in English by Singapore’s Ministry of Social and Family Development, and is distributed free of charge at family courts and local organizations supporting divorced families. Professor Nozawa was given a copy of the book by a ministry employee when he attended an international conference at National Taipei University in Taiwan in June 2017. He was impressed by the contents and decided to translate it into Japanese.
The main character is an elementary school boy whose parents are divorced. The book is presented as a simple letter that he gathers the courage to write in order to tell his parents how he is feeling. His experience going back and forth between their two households, his conversations with them and his friends, his memories of arguments, and his feelings, hopes, and thoughts are vividly depicted through the simple illustrations, texts, and dialogue bubbles.
The Japanese version, published with permission from the Singaporean government, is available in PDF format (not yet available in Singapore) on the Japanese Association for Research on Children of Divorced Families and Stepfamilies website to provide easy access for as many people as possible. In addition, approximately 1,000 copies have been printed for showing to interested professionals who support families going through divorce, as well as to family courts, children’s welfare centers, and family visitation support organizations.
Professor Nozawa provided the following comments:
Many children caught up in the middle of parental conflicts through separation and divorce. I was drawn to this picture book that poetically conveys the feelings of children trying to come to terms with their parents’ divorce through a letter written by a little boy, and decided to translate it because I wanted to share it with Japanese readers. By helping divorced parents and those considering divorce tune into their children’s true feelings, and helping children listen to their own hearts, I believe this book has the potential to release them from the muddled emotions they may be experiencing. I hope that it finds a wide readership in Japan.
Key Information About the Book
Original Title: Dear Mom and Dad, Don’t Make Me Feel Bad: A Child of Divorce Speaks Up
Words: Hui Min Lim
Illustrations: Wilkie Tan
Japanese Translation: Shinji Nozawa (A Vice President and Professor of Sociology, Meiji Gakuin University)
Publisher: The Japanese Association for Research on Children of Divorced Families and Stepfamilies (published January 3, 2019)
Available at: http://www.jarcds.org/document.html
*The animated version (in English, Chinese, and Malay) may be viewed at the following links: