TENAFLY, N.J.– Nadine Haruni of Tenafly was already in her 20s when her parents split up. But once she was a mother of two young children going through her own divorce, she brainstormed a way to help then four-year-old Jake, and almost two-year-old Samantha, through it.
The result is Haruni's first book, " Freeda the Frog Gets a Divorce ." Though designed with her kids in mind, the message is universal.
"The goal is to help kids cope and realize that they’re not alone," the author said. “Mommy and daddy still love them. They’re going to be okay."
The 24-page short story is targeted to children ages 3-9.
It purposely lacks the details of why a divorce happens, and sticks to explaining some of the changes the children will experience.
For example, the tadpoles, Frannie and Frank, have to visit separate lily pads to see their mom, Freeda, and dad, Fred.
Haruni is looking to launch a series of "Freeda" books, all with the theme of helping children cope with difficult situations, she said.
“Right now, I'm focusing all my efforts into this book," she added.
Haruni and her ex-husband had their own law practice together. After they split, Haruni, a worker's compensation attorney, moved to a New York City-based firm, where she's been for the past 6.5 years.
She remarried in August 2012 and and settled in Tenafly with new husband, Jonathan.
Writing has always been a passion, she said, but “I put it on the back burner until everyone got settled with the move.”
Jake and Samantha are now 9 and 12, respectively. Jonathan has three daughters from his previous marriage: Yael (16), Adi (20), and Hannah (22).
“Everyone meshed well," Haruni said. "They really love each other like pure siblings.”
"Freeda" is loosely based off Haruni's mother, Frida. Haruni wrote and illustrated the first draft. Friend Tina Modugno illustrated the published version.
Haruni signed copies of her work at Womrath's Book Store this past weekend.
She will be reading the book to children at 11 a.m. June 25 at Barnes and Noble of Hackensack.