I’ve had quite a few messages recently from parents and teachers looking for books about different types of families, so I have created a list of our favourites.
There are 24 books in total and they cover a really wide range of family groups and family members. There are books about mums, dads, grandparents, siblings and new babies. There are books with two parents, books with single parents and books with same sex parents. There are also books about adoption and foster care, IVF and surrogacy.
Hopefully every child will see themselves represented within the pages of these stories and they will learn a little about other families too.
This beautiful #ownvoices book shows us an ordinary day in the life of one afro-caribbean household.
Mummy is at work but her two children are missing her very much. They trail their father around the house as he does the chores and continuously ask him when she will be back (Later!”).
As the day passes many people knock at the door and each time the kids run excitedly to open it, hoping it will be their mother. Instead they are greeted with Postman Jerry, Old Mr Longfoot, Nana and a whole host of other characters from the community. Each visitor uses a different style of greeting and speech, including some Jamaican Patois. They are all met with enthusiasm from the two children – but when will Mummy be home?
You’ll need to get your tissues ready for this heartwarming and truly uplifting book about showing courage and kindness during difficult times.
When Noah’s Daddy is rushed to hospital the little boy is sent to stay with his grandmother. Naturally he is scared and confused but he finds comfort in an old lamp which has been placed in his bedroom. Shaped like a baby bird, the lamp emits a warm and soothing light and Granny lets slip that she thinks it might have magical properties.
Later that night Noah finds himself unable to sleep. He tosses and turns, worrying about his Dad, until something wonderful happens. The glowing bird leaps from its perch and flutters over to the bed. She introduces herself as the Starbird and gently talks to him until he feels calmer. She offers up a glowing feather to help him feel brave and Noah starts to feel a little better.
It’s time for another chapter book review and this one is utterly adorable!
Little Rabbit is a very bored bunny, so when the opportunity comes along for her to spend the day with her grandfather – Big Rabbit – she is very excited indeed. Big Rabbit tells her he has lots of work to do and she can be his assistant. Little Rabbit thinks this sounds like fun but she’s a little confused. As far as she’s aware her grandfather doesn’t have a job – he just spends all his time talking to his friends!
Over the course of the day the two rabbits encounter lots of different animals who need help. The entrance to Mole’s new burrow is much darker than he had realised and he’s worried that Little Mole and his friends might take a tumble. Granny Hedgehog has a nasty cold and she’s feeling very lonely in her little nest by herself. Dormouse has just moved in to a new house but it needs a lot of work and he has four little babies to feed and look after. And poor Squirrel has sprained her paw which means she can’t forage for food for her young children.
This lovely little hardback celebrates the brilliance of brothers big and small.
The gentle rhyme and wonderfully diverse illustrations give us a detailed look at what the world is like with a brother at your side. They are playmates and mentors, mess-makers and occasional tormentors but whatever you face in life you know that your brother will always be by your side.
We see that all families are different and a brother doesn’t just mean someone with whom you share both parents. Half-brothers and step-brothers are equally special and even our friends can become like brothers to us. The bond between siblings is strong and you will always be there for each other, whether you are near or far.
This super sweet story follows a little girl as she starts to notice the differences and similarities between her mum and the mums of other children in her class. She wonders – does the fact that her mum wears a hijab make her different?
Her friend Sarah’s mum has curly hair in a bun and she is lots of fun. The little girl’s mum is lots of fun too. She was wearing her red scarf when they played hopscotch and they laughed so much they were nearly late for school!
Laura’s mum has blonde hair and she takes Laura shopping at the weekend. The little girl’s mum takes her shopping too. She was weraing her blue scarf the last time they went to buy fruit and vegetables.
When Loretta discovers that her Aunt Esme and Uncle Jax are expecting a baby her whole world changes. Her family explain to her that babies are a celebration of love, life and hope and soon the whole household buzzes with activity as they prepare for the new arrival. Nappies are purchased, a cradle is built, a nursery is prepared and little woolly hats are knitted. There is even a baby shower with a huge stack of gifts!
Loretta is a kind and thoughtful girl so naturally she wants to give the baby a gift too – but she just can’t think of anything appropriate. She doesn’t have enough pennies in her money box to buy anything and when she tries to make something she ends up just making a mess. What can she possibly give to someone as precious as a new baby?
I am a firm believer that you shouldn’t label children based on their behaviour so the first time I read this book I practically punched the air with joy. Lauren Child totally gets it! A positive label can put pressure on a child to conform and a negative label can affect their self worth or give them something to hide behind when faced with a challenge. No one is ever completely good/bad, or quiet/loud or any other combination of opposites we regularly see used to categorise people.
Chirton is a good boy. He eats broccoli, goes to bed on time and cleans the rabbit’s cage without making a fuss. He’s so good that his parents have even given him a badge with ‘Goody’ written on it. Chirton tells us: “If people have decided you are good, do not disappoint them by being bad.”
Life is different for his sister Myrtle though as she is a bad child. She won’t eat broccoli, doesn’t go to bed on time and never cleans the rabbit’s cage. Their parents don’t even try to make her behave anymore as it’s just too difficult. Myrtle tells us: “If people have decided you are bad, do not disappoint them by being good.”
What’s your bedtime ritual with your child? Our routine is generally bathtime, pyjamas, milk, teeth, books and then bed although this sometimes gets shaken up a little if we’re away or one of us is ill. You may do something similar but equally your evenings may look very different to ours. ‘Goodnight World’ by Nicola Edwards and Hannah Tolson follows a group of children from around the world as they come to the end of their day.
The gentle rhyme guides us through the different things a child may do before going to sleep. We see a baby being rocked, a boy having a bath and a group of children jostling around a sink brushing their teeth. We see siblings tidying up toys and snuggling up for a story, a child saying goodnight to an absent loved one on the phone and even a group in a tent, settling down to watch the stars.
Ivy and I are big fans of this colourful picture book which celebrates different kinds of families and the bond between parent and child.
Jamie lives with his grandparents and he thinks they are the coolest grown-ups he knows. He has lots of friends and he loves the fact that each of them has a different family set up, because it makes playing with them so interesting.
Kate has two dads who take her for brunch. Harry has one mum who is ace at baking cakes and pretending to be a pirate. Olivia has two mums and three siblings. Lily’s parents are separated so she has two houses and even two bedrooms!