Diverse Families: Recommended Books for Children

The Great Book of Familes

by Mary Hoffman, Illustrated by Ros Asquith 

What is a family? Once, it was said to be a father, mother, boy, girl, cat and dog living in a house with a garden. But as times have changed, families have changed too, and now there are almost as many kinds of families as colours of the rainbow – from a mum and dad or single parent to two mums or two dads, from a mixed-race family to children with different mums and dads, to families with a disabled member. This is a fresh, optimistic look through children’s eyes at today’s wide variety of family life: from homes, food, ways of celebrating, schools and holidays to getting around, jobs and housework, from extended families, languages and hobbies to pets and family trees. Age 4-8

The Family Book

by Todd Parr

The Family Book celebrates the love we feel for our families and all the different varieties they come in. Whether you have two mums or two dads, a big family or a small family, a clean family or a messy one, Todd Parr assures readers that no matter what kind of family you have, every family is special in its own unique way. Age 5-6

Stella Brings the Family

by Miriam B. Schiffer, Illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown

Stella’s class is having a Mothers Day celebration, but whats a girl with two daddies to do? Its not that she doesn’t have someone to help her with her homework or tuck her in at night. Stella has her Papa and Daddy who take care of her, and a whole gaggle of other loved ones who make her feel special and supported every day. She just doesn’t have a mom to invite to the party. Fortunately Stella finds a unique solution to her party problem in this sweet story about love, acceptance, and the true meaning of family. Age 4-7

Families, Families, Families!

by Suzanne Lang

No matter your size, shape, or pedigree–if you love each other, you are a family! Moms, dads, sisters, brothers — and even Great Aunt Sue — appear in dozens of combinations, demonstrating all kinds of nontraditional families! Silly animals are cleverly depicted in framed portraits, and offer a warm celebration of family love. Age 3-5

Donovan’s Big Day

by Lesléa Newman

Donovan’s two moms are getting married, and he can’t wait for the celebration to begin. After all, as ringbearer, he has a very important job to do. Any boy or girl with same-sex parents–or who knows a same-sex couple–will appreciate this picture book about love, family, and marriage. The story captures the joy and excitement of a wedding day while the illustrations show the happy occasion from a child’s point of view. Age 3-7

Do You Sing Twinkle?: A Story About Remarriage and New Family

by Sandra Levins

Mom has a new family! She has a new husband who is not my dad, and worst of all, new kids. Girls! Just as it feels for the young child in “Do You Sing Twinkle?” living apart from a parent can be a hard adjustment for kids. And, when that parent remarries and has stepchildren, things can get really confusing for kids! Told from a young boy’s point of view, the book sensitively addresses many questions that children may have while adjusting to remarriage and joint-custody situations. Age 3-6

Heather Has Two Mommies 

by Lesléa Newman

Heather’s favorite number is two. She has two arms, two legs, and two pets. And she also has two mommies. When Heather goes to school for the first time, someone asks her about her daddy, but Heather doesn’t have a daddy. Then something interesting happens. When Heather and her classmates all draw pictures of their families, not one drawing is the same. It doesn’t matter who makes up a family, the teacher says, because “the most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love one another.”

And Tango Makes Three

by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

This tale is based on a true story about a penguin family living in New York City’s Central Park Zoo and it explains same-sex parenting to children. Age 2-5

Horton Hatches the Egg

by Dr. Seuss

This book is ideal for a variety of parenting situations, including adoptive families and those with absentee parents. Horton is a lovable elephant who happens upon a mama bird, Maysie, and her egg. Maysie persuades Horton to sit on the egg for her. Age 4+

What are Parents?

by Kyme & Susan Fox-Lee

Playfully rhyming words and beautifully illustrated pictures lead a child through a journey to discovering diversity while learning to accept their unique family. The book teaches children about all types of families. Age 4+

Raising You Alone

by Warren Hanson

Raising you alone is an essential book for any single parent family. With heart and humour, it talks about the quirks and challenges that must be faced every day. A picture book for parents as well as children, this honest, engaging story is the perfect way to say, “I will always love you.” Age 4+

Do I Have A Daddy?

by Jeanne Warren Lindsay

Addressing single parent families, this book helps kids with absent, deceased, and unknown dads talk about and deal with this often difficult situation. When Erik, a preschooler, is teased by other children about not having a dad, his mother explains that there are many kinds of fathers, and not all of them live with their children. Age 3+

Goodnight Daddy

by Angela Seward

This is a realistic portrayal of a little girl’s love for her absent father and her disappointment at being “stood up” by him. Her mother helps her realize that she can cope with being disappointed by someone she loves and move ahead with her life. Age 4+

All Families are Special

by Norma Simon

The book helps children understand how people in the family support each other through good times and bad. It introduces children to many different types of family. Age 4+

Love is a Family

by Roma Downey

Lily storms home to her mother one day, demanding a real family, she’s positive they are the weirdest family. Her single parent mom doesn’t seem overly fazed. Age 4+

Mommy, Was Your Tummy Big?

by Carolina Nadel

This book is filled with charming and bubbly illustrations in pink and purple that will help parents explain both IVF and donor egg conception. It tells the story of a baby elephant who notices lots of pregnant animals and innocently asks, “Mommy, was your belly big.” Age 4+

Who’s in a Family?

by Robert Skutch

Who’s in a Family? looks at a vast array of families using snappy text and colorful illustrations. Some kids live with mom, dad, a brother and a Golden Retriever in a big house, while others live with just mom, and yet others travel back and forth between parents’ homes or live with a grandmother. But, regardless of their differences, all of the families have love in common. The book features a blank page at the end, so your child can draw. Age 3-7

You, Me and Superlove

by Claire Murphy

In this story Holly asks the question why her Daddy does not live with her. Mummy addresses the question, without going into the specific details, by telling Holly about “The Superlove”. The story aims to reinforce to a child that a situation of a parent not being around right now is in no way the child‟s fault, and that they are loved very much – in fact, Superloved! Age 3+