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  • Kim Bogren Owen

Family Ties: Books that Celebrate All Kinds of Families

Families may have many different configurations, and at times not get along very well, but in the end they all love and care for one another. Here are several books showing different aspects of what it means to be a family from the happy times to the more challenging times.

Books That Show Different Types of Families

Daddy, Papa, and Me by Lesléa Newman and Carol Thompson- This book is about a child with two families. It uses simple text to talk about how his fathers’ care for him. There is another one titled Mommy, Mama, and Me for two mother families.

A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza- Choco is looking for his mother, but no one looks like him. Finally, he meets Mrs. Bear and although she does not look like him, he finds that she can still be his mother by her actions. This book is usually included with books about adoption, but I included it here because it sends such as wonderful message that what makes a family is about more than blood relation.

Families by Ann Morris- Ann Morris uses wonderful photographs to demonstrate different kinds of families as well as the things they do to support one another.

The Family Book by Todd Parr- As in all of his books, Todd Parr takes a humorous, yet serious and informative, look at families in all their forms and actions.

One Family by George Shannon and Blanca Gomez- Starting with diverse families this counting book moves to community and finally the earth to show how we are all one family of humans.

Books about Divorced or Stepfamilies

Two Homes by Claire Masurel and Kady MacDonald Denton- A small child named Alex shows the differences and similarities between his mother’s and father’s homes, but ends with an acknowledgement that he is loved and safe in either home.

Do You Sing Twinkle?: A Story About Remarriage and New Family by Sandra Levins and Bryan Langdo- This book tells the story of the remarriage and joint custody from a young boy’s perspective.

Books about Foster /Adoptive Families

Foster Parents (Families) by Rebecca Rissman- This books looks at the different types of foster families to reassure children that they will be cared for, as well as reaffirms that the child is in foster care so they can be safe.

Train to Somewhere by Eve Bunting and Ronald Himler- This piece of historical fiction tells the tale of a Marianne whose mother places her in an orphanage while she goes out west to find work. While the girl holds out that her mother will send for her, Marianne is placed on an adoption train and sent out west to live with a different family.

My Family is Forever by Nancy Carlson- The story of a girl's adoption, and how this has created her forever family whom she loves even though she wonders about her birth mother.

Books about Conflicts in Families

Five Minutes' Peace by Jill Murphy- Sometimes families need “5 minutes peace” from each other to regroup and relax! This is book any parent and older child can relate to, espeically how difficult that 5 minutes of peace is to find.

The Pain And The Great One by Judy Blume and Debbie Ridpath Ohi- A brother (the pain) and his older sister (the great one) point out everything they don’t like about each other and are both sure their parents love the other more. Of course, in the end they realize that is not true and they do love each other.

Sometimes Mama and Papa Fight by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and Kay Chorao- Two children learn that fighting (even between parents) is a normal part of family life and does not diminish everyone’s love for each other.

Books about Family Histories

The Keeping Quilt by Particia Polacco- When Anna comes to American she brings only her dress and a babushka. When she outgrows the dress, her mother uses the dress, babushka, and clothing from other relatives to create a quilt. The quilt is passed down from generation to generation, and is used to tell the stories of their family.

The Memory String by Eve Bunting and Ted Rand- After her mother’s death, a girl takes out a string of heirlooms from important events and reminisces about her mother. She learns that not only does the memory string help connect her to the past, but she can use it create her own memories to share. After reading this, consider making a memory string of your own with your child. (This is a rare one that I have not read, but it looked so wonderful that I wanted to include it)

Books about Families Doing Things Together

Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo by William Joyce- Dinosaur Bob enjoys time with his human family, but ends up causing some trouble in the process. This is very a fun book!

Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell- In this counting book, a family goes to the store to buy food to prepare for a meal. They all shop, load and unload the groceries, help with the preparation, and then sit down to enjoy the meal together.

When I was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant and Diane Goode- A girl remembers how much she loved living in the mountains with her grandparents even though they did not have a lot of money.

How My Parents Learned to Eat by Ina R. Friedman and Allen Say- While dating, a multi-cultural couple secretly learn how the other culture eats so they can show the other one they care about and value their culture. A wonderful story of how families can be created even when the members come from different backgrounds. After reading this book make some family recipes from all sides of your family and talk about where your ancestors came from.

I hope you enjoy these books. As always, feel free to share with credit to Words Reflected and Kim Bogren Owen on Facebook, your website, or in your newsletter. Please add your recommendations for additional books about families in the comments.

(This blog uses the Amazon affiliate program so when you click on the title and purchase through Amazon, you are supporting us! If you don't purchase through these links, please, be sure to support your local, independent bookstore or find them at your library!)

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