A Monstrous Volume

When the Divorce Monster showed up in her son's kindergarten classroom, Monica Arana was not pleased

Karan asked a court employee to present a copy of the coloring book to some school board members at a meeting in September -- though she doesn't know which members received it. Seemingly none of them contacted Palm Springs North principal Hurns.

"There apparently is no centralized review of materials such as these," Karan says. "There should be."

Judges Karan and Soto both believe that the book undermines county efforts to help children who are having family problems. In Miami-Dade all couples seeking divorce who have minor children must complete a four-hour course that teaches them to help their kids cope. Children ages six through seventeen must also attend a three-and-a-half-hour course called the Sandcastles Program. Final divorce decrees are not granted until all the classes are completed.

Nationally known family therapist M. Gary Neuman of Miami Beach designed the Sandcastles Program, which is mandatory in more than a dozen American cities. "You don't want to lead children into fears they are not experiencing already," he says of the coloring book. "There may be some kids who would find the Divorce Monster funny and it would do them no harm, but others would find it frightening.... Before we give something to our children to use, it should be tested.

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