Depending on the people in the family, they can look like many different things. My favorite books as a child were about white families with two to three kids doing family things, or about animal families with two to three kids doing family things. Rarely did children’s books come out that showed how different and real family life can be. That’s changed, which is good. Now, a lot of kids’ books show and celebrate families of all kinds doing their normal things, which can also be very different! My daughter and I love all of them.
They show how different families can be, but also show what really makes a family: love and care.
Board Books About Family
Love Makes A Family By Sophie Beer
Every type of family is shown in this board book. Getting up early to the sound of drumming is one way families show how much they care for and love each other. They also play in the biggest puddles. Such a sweet message. Vibrant art and bright colors make the art stand out. Toddlers can point to and name a lot of the things in the art.
Homemade Love By bell hooks, Illustrated By Shane W. Evans
It is a poetic board book that shows how much a mother and father love their little girl. It’s cute and fun to read.
My Two Moms And Me And My Two Dads And Me By Michael Joosten, Illustrated By Izak Zenou
These two board books show different LGBTQ+ families. It shows moms and dads and their kids going about their daily lives until it’s time to go to bed. These are a lot of fun.
Better Together: A Book Of Family By Barbara Joosse And Anneke Lisberg, Illustrated By Jared Andrew Schorr
My daughter loved this lift-the-flap board book for a few months. Each page shows a different animal family member alone with a possible threat. Lift the page, and their family comes to help them. As a bonus, it gives the names for groups of animal families like “a dazzle of zebras,” “a cloud of bats,” and “a town of prairie dogs.” Neat!
Picture Books About Family
Between Us And Abuela By Mitali Perkins, Illustrated By Sara Palacios
To make the movie La Posada Sin Fronteras, Mara and her family drive across the border to see their grandmother through the border wall. As long as Mara hasn’t seen her abuela in a long time, she still remembers what she said and how she hugged her. There are gifts from both of them. Her scarf fits through the fence, but Juan’s family picture doesn’t. Even though Mara doesn’t know how, she comes up with a way to give her grandmother both gifts. When a family is on either side of a border, they’re always still a family. This story is about that. The last time I read this, it made me cry. I just want Abuela to hug me, my two brothers, and my sister the way she used to.
Jazz Baby By Lisa Wheeler, Illustrated By R. Gregory Christie
“Auntie taps her toes.” This is one of my favorite stories to read aloud. Uncle has soft-soled shoes. Fancy a little dance? It sounds like the baby is singing, “DOO-WOP-DOO!” Every page in this book has that sing-song rhythm, and it shows a very jazzy family having fun with their youngest member of the family.
Love And The Rocking Chair By Leo And Diane Dillon
A rocking chair is passed down through the generations, with each new family rocking their baby in it until that baby is a child and then a parent, rocking their first child to sleep in it. It’s a heartwarming book, and it also shows a mixed-race family. Many picture books have been written or illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. This one might be about me.
When Aidan Became A Brother By Kyle Lukoff, Illustrated By Kaylani Juanita
When Aidan was born, his parents thought he was a girl, but in fact he was a different kind of boy who was born. In Aidan’s case, his mom is pregnant again, and he can’t wait to be a big brother again. But he doesn’t want his younger brother to feel the same way he did when he was a child. They can be anyone they want. He wants them to know that. This book talks about family in many different ways. First, it shows how people we love can make assumptions about us that hurt us. It also shows how families can change their behavior to embrace and respect different ways of being. When I read this book, I like how Aidan’s parents treat and honor him, and I think it will help them make sure their next child has a better childhood. I also think that Aidan’s struggle and anxiety about becoming a big brother is important to talk about with new parents. People who have transgender kids are shown in this movie as people who want the best for them. Lovely, too. My two-year-old child enjoys flipping through the book as well as reading it.
Thanking The Moon By Grace Lin
My favorite children’s book author is Grace Lin. It tells the story of how a family prepares for and celebrates the Chinese Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, and how they thank the moon for everything. Before the ceremony starts, each member of the family has a job to do. This includes setting out the food and setting up the moon-honoring table. Everyone then sends a secret wish to the moon. If you like books about family and this Chinese holiday, this one is for you!
Georgia’s Terrific, Colorific Experiment By Zoe Persico
Georgia is a scientist in a family of artists. This is a real shame. When she grows up, she wants to learn about famous scientists and do her own experiments. They try to help her with their artistic ideas, but she doesn’t want them to help her. So, she goes off on her own to do some very clever scientific experiments that are going to be very interesting. Except, she can’t move. What can she learn that hasn’t already been learned? Then, she comes up with an idea that involves her family, and then she comes up with another idea. It turns out that their art can help! Every family has fights, pouts, and creative differences. They are all important parts of a family. This book is a great way to look at those ideas in a fun way.
Stella Brings The Family By Miriam B. Schiffer, Illustrated By Holly Clifton-Brown
Mother’s Day is coming up, and Stella’s teacher is having a party. All the moms are welcome. She doesn’t have a mother. They’re both her dads. It doesn’t say. With the help of a friend, Stella decides to invite her whole family. A lot of her stress is caused by having a party. Then she and her family have so much fun getting to know all of the other people’s family. A side note: Stella’s teacher should have told the class about the party when she talked about it. It turned out there was nothing to worry about. This is a great book for kids in binary families to learn about same-sex families and to show kids with same-sex parents that they’re not alone and that their family is important.
First Laugh: Welcome Baby! By Rose Ann Tahe And Nancy Bo Flood, Illustrated By Jonathan Nelson
In Navajo tradition, a baby is a member of their community when they start to laugh. Then, a party is held to welcome them into the community. They are trying to get their new child to laugh in this picture book. Which member of the family will make the child laugh first? Makes me so happy to read. It’s a great book!
Jingle Dancer By Cynthia Leitich Smith
With her grandmother, Jenna wants to dance in her jingle dress at the next powwow. She needs more jingles for her dress. She gets enough jingles for the powwow because she helps her family and friends. This picture book also shows a Native American family in the present day, honoring their traditions. It’s important.
Mango, Abuela, And Me By Meg Medina, Illustrated By Angela Dominguez
They live together, but her abuela doesn’t speak English or Spanish, so she and Mia don’t get along. This is how the two learn each other’s languages and build their relationship. They help each other out with a parrot, some persistence, and a lot of love! This story sounds as sweet as it is. It’s as good as it looks.
Around The Table That Grandad Built By Melanie Heuiser Hill, Illustrated By Jaime Kim
Grandpa built this table. These are the sunflowers that my cousins picked and put on the table that Grandad made. Each page adds to the list of things that need to be done to the table that grandpa built. Finally, the whole family is ready to eat what looks like a very tasty meal. In the words that my daughter says: ‘Yummy!’ MMMMMmmmmm.” The book’s rhythm makes it a great book to read aloud, and I’m happy to see so many different kinds of people and food at the table that grandpa built. If food and family get together, this book is about both of them.
Middle Grade Books About Family
The Vanderbeekers Of 141st Street By Book Riot Contributing Editor Karina Yan Glaser
This book is about a large, mixed-race family living in a brownstone in Harlem and trying to live their best lives. It’s light but still deals with real-world things. There have been three books in the series so far, and if you’ve already read them, then take this quiz to find out which one you are! Laney: I’m Laney.
The Lotterys Plus One By Emma Donoghue, Illustrated By Caroline Hadilaksono
Adult novels are what Emma Donoghue is best known for. Her best-selling book, Room, is one of them. She’s written two middle-grade Lotterys books so far, and they’re cute and funny and very different. A family called the Lotterys has a lot of kids and a lot of pets. There are four parents and a lot of kids and pets. A lot of things happen in book one. When Grumps is diagnosed with dementia, he comes to live with the Lottery family and takes Sumac’s room. Sumac tries to be okay with this, but Grumps is known for making fun of Sumac and his family’s life.
Kinda Like Brothers By Coe Booth
Jarrett has a foster brother named Kevon, but he doesn’t trust him and doesn’t think of him as a brother at all. There are a lot of big changes in Kevon’s life when he moves into Jarrett’s house. He’s failing 5th grade, his mother has a new boyfriend, and he’s learning about what it’s like to be a black boy in the US. Fun can be found in the book, even though it talks about important things.
The Other Half Of Happy By Rebecca Balcárcel
Quijana is half Anglo and half Guatemalan. She likes her Anglo side more than her Guatemalan side. But then, her Guatemalan family comes over and convinces her parents to go on a trip to Guatemala with her and her friends. This trip is not something Quijana wants to do. She doesn’t speak Spanish and has a new crush, so she doesn’t want to go. As for her little brother, though, something isn’t right about him. Balcárcel is a poet, so it should come as no surprise that the prose in this book is beautiful, but it does.
The Science of Breakable Things By Tae Keller
A sad state of mind is what Natalie’s mother is going through. She wants to fix her more than anything else in the world. When you think about it that way, it’s not how depression works. The same age as Natalie, I had a parent with depression. I wish I’d had this book when I was younger so that I could have learned about depression. As long as it’s there, I’m happy. I also like the friendships that Natalie makes at school.