Thematic Reading List: All in the Family
Families come in all shapes and sizes, and all of them should be celebrated! This assortment of books examines families of all kinds, including fiction and non-fiction titles. No matter what a family looks like on the outside, it is filled with love on the inside. These books are selected for children ages 5-8 and their families.
Contributed by: Mary Lanni
|All Families are Special
By: Norma Simon
Illustrated by: Teresa Flavin
Students in Mrs. Mack’s class describe their families–big or small, living together or apart, with two moms or none–and learn why every family is special and important.
|And Tango Makes Three
By: Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Illustrated by: Henry Cole
At New York City’s Central Park Zoo, two male penguins fall in love and start a family by taking turns sitting on an abandoned egg until it hatches. Based on a true story.
|Book of Big Brothers
By: Cary Fagan
The story of a younger brother’s life with his two older brothers as they entertain, protect, and tease him.
|A Different Pond
By: Bao Phi
Illustrated by: Thi Bui
As a young boy, Bao Phi awoke early, hours before his father’s long workday began, to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis. Unlike many other anglers, Bao and his father fished for food, not recreation. Between hope-filled casts, Bao’s father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam.
By: Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly
Celebrate diversity with a picture book for very young children about the many faces of contemporary families. Big or small, similar or different-looking, there are all kinds of families. Some have one parent, some have two, and many include extended family. An inclusive look at many varieties of families.
|Families, Families, Families
By: Suzanne Lang
Illustrated by: Max Lang
A host of animals portrays all kinds of non-traditional families.
|A Family is a Family is a Family
By: Sara O’Leary
Illustrated by: Qin Leng
When a teacher asks the children in her class to think about what makes their families special, the answers are all different in many ways — but the same in the one way that matters most of all. One child is worried that her family is just too different to explain but listens as her classmates talk about what makes their families special. One is raised by a grandmother, and another has two dads. One has many stepsiblings, and another has a new baby in the family. As her classmates describe who they live with and who loves them — family of every shape, size and every kind of relation — the child realizes that as long as her family is full of caring people, it is special.
|The Family Book
By: Todd Parr
Represents a variety of families, some big and some small, some with only one parent and some with two moms or dads, some quiet and some noisy, but all alike in some ways and special no matter what.
|A Fine Dessert
By: Emily Jenkins
Illustrated by: Sophie Blackall
Depicts families, from England to California and from 1710 to 2010, preparing and enjoying the dessert called blackberry fool. Includes a recipe and historical notes.
|Grandma’s Tiny House
By: JaNay Brown-Wood
Illustrated by: Priscilla Burris
In rhyming text, when the whole family and guests show up for the big dinner at Grandma’s house, it becomes clear that the house is much too small to hold them all.
|My Blended Family
By: Claudia Harrington
Illustrated by: Zoe Persico
Lenny follows Olivia for a school project and learns about her life with her stepfamily.
|My Family, Your Family
By: Lisa Bullard
Helps children understand what a family is and recognize all the people who are part of their own families. Explains such words as “divorce” and “stepmother.”
|The Last Stop on Market Street
By: Matt de la Pena
Illustrated by: Christian Robinson
A young boy rides the bus across town with his grandmother and learns to appreciate the beauty in everyday things.
|Still a Family
By: Brenda Reeves Sturgis
Illustrated by: Jo-Shin Lee
Despite living in separate shelters, a little girl and her parents find time to be together, demonstrating that even in the most trying of times, they are still a loving and committed family.
|Tea with Grandpa
By: Barney Saltzberg
No matter how far apart they are, a little girl and her grandfather share a cup of tea every day at half past three.
|We are Family
By: Patricia Hegarty
Illustrated By: Ryan Wheatcroft
All families are different – and yet in many ways the same! This book uses a gentle rhyming text to follow eight different families, celebrating their everyday differences as well as the similarities they share.
|What a Family!: a fresh look at family trees
By: Rachel Isadora
Grandpa Max explains to Ollie the ways their relatives are connected.
|What Makes a Family?
By: Diana Kenney
Explains how all families enjoy sharing time together and celebrating their unique cultures.
|We Belong Together
By: Todd Parr
The joy of adoption and bringing families together is presented in this tale.
|Welcome to the Family
By: Mary Hoffman
Illustrated by: Ros Asquith
Introduces different types of households and discusses families with children, adoption, foster parents, same-sex parents, and fertility treatments.