Ten years ago, when I was searching for books about different family structures, there were only a couple. Happily, there are more and more being published each year. Here are some of my favorites to read and to share.
Who’s In My Family?: All About Our Families (Let’s Talk about You and Me)
Written by Robie H. Harris, Illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott (2012)
This simple yet charming book presents a wide variety of families, in a matter of fact way that is accessible and appealing to preschoolers. For example: “Children are born into their families or adopted into their families.” The book starts at the zoo with children pointing out different animal families, and then transitions to talking about human families. Families are illustrated with different family structures, race, and ethnicities. The text explains simply and directly that families may eat different foods for breakfast, but who all like to do fun things together.
All the World
Written by Liz Garton Scanlon, Illustrated by Marla Frazee (2009)
This is one of my favorite picture books. Period. I love reading this as a bedtime book. Scanlon’s text is a lyrical celebration of the beauty of everyday life, and Frazee’s illustrations tell a pictorial story that weaves together with the text to produce a whole that transcends each part. Why include this book in a list of books about family diversity? Because Frazee’s joyful illustrations follow several families as they go about their day, going to the beach, the farmer’s market, getting rained on, eating dinner, and going to bed. The families are diverse in age, race, family structure, and general quirky individuality, but all express warmth and love. There’s a reason this book has a Caldecott Honor sticker on the cover. It’s gorgeous.
Written by Susan Meyers, Illustrated by Marla Frazee (2004)
This adorable board book was a favorite at my house. Frazee once again illustrates a diverse range of families living with and loving their babies. A favorite page is the exhausted new moms with their newborn.
The Family Book
by Todd Parr
This is the book I read to my eldest. It has the familiar Todd Parr structure and bright, primary colored illustrations. The refrain in this book is “Some families are…” Young children love this book, and the other Parr books (It’s OK to be Different, The Feelings Book) but adults may tire of it after a few re-reads.