Children’s Books with Non Traditional Families

Children love to see something of themselves and their families as they read. Sometimes spotting something of themselves in the main character’s personality or home life is what helps them connect to a book or foster a love in reading. When growing up in a family that is everything you need, but not the expected mom and dad with 2.5 kids and a dog, it is sometimes hard to make that connection. Thankfully, since the ‘expected’ family is becoming less of a norm for a altfamilies1variety of reasons I thought it would be helpful to share some children’s books with alternative families to help every child find a book that they can relate to. Here are some picture books and easy readers to share with some young readers about a variety of families.

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell; illustrated by Henry Colealtfamily2
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.

I Love You Like Crazy Cakes by Rose Lewis; illustrated by Jane Dyer
A woman describes how she went to China to adopt a special baby girl. Based on the author’s own experiences.

The Family Book by Todd Parraltfamilies3
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.

In Our Mothers’ House BY Patricia Polacco
Three young children experience the joys and challenges of being raised by two mothers.

Two Homes by Claire Masurel; illustrated by Kady MacDonald Dentonaltfamily5
A young boy named Alex enjoys the homes of both of his parents who live apart but love Alex very much.

Black is Brown is Tan by Arnold Adoff; pictures by Emily Arnold McCully
When it was first published in 1973, Black is Brown is Tan featured the first interracial family in children’s books.altfamily6

There are many more kinds of families, and many more books about how wonderful each is. Here are a select group of more books on the subject:Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah S. Brannen, Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers; illustrated by Marla Frazee,  The White Swan Express: a Story about Adoption by Jean Davies Okimoto and Elaine M. Aoki; illustrated by Meilo So, Who’s in a Family? by Robert Skutch; illustrations by Laura Nienhaus, I Have Two Homes by Marian De Smet; illustrated by Nynke Talsma, Who’s Whose? by Jan Ormerod, Raising you Alone by Warren Hanson, All Families are Special by Norma Simon; illustrated by Teresa Flavin.

My list is not comprehensive, there is no way to include every good book on the subject. If I missed a great one you have run across please share it in the comments so we can all check it out!

Author Spotlight: Grace Burrowes

a single kissNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes is known for her Historical Romance books set in the Scottish Highlands, but she recently ventured into the Contemporary Romance area – with great success!  Her new trilogy, The Sweetest Kisses, begins with the first title, A Single Kiss, out this January.  It’s been named a Top Ten Romance by Publisher’s Weekly.  Hannah Stark has set her sights on corporate law to assure her a career of paperwork, predictability, and conservative suits. Contracts, finance, and the art of the deal sing to her, while the mess and misery of the courtroom do not. But her daughter needs to eat, so when Hannah is offered a temporary position in a small town firm’s domestic relations department, she reluctantly accepts.

Trent Knightley is mightily drawn to his newest associate, though Hannah is as protective of her privacy as she is competent. When their friendship and attraction heat up, Hannah’s secrets put her heart and Trent’s hopes in double jeopardy.

I really enjoyed this book.  Although I read a lot of contemporary romances, this book was fresh, innovative, and a joy to read.  Ms. Burrowes brings this story alive through a touch of humor, smoldering tension and relatable, real life issues.  Her details and witty narrative pull you into the story and you don’t want to leave until you’ve finish the whole book!  The secondary characters are well-developed, leaving you eager to read the next installment of this trilogy.

Book Two, The First Kiss, is due out in February and book three, Kiss Me Hello, is due out in March.

About The Author:

Grace Burrowes started writing as an antidote to empty nest and soon found it an antidote to life in general. She is the sixth out of seven children, raised in the rural surrounds of central Pennsylvania. Early in life she spent a lot of time reading romance novels and practicing the piano. Her gracefirst career was as a technical writer and editor in the Washington, DC, area, a busy job that nonetheless left enough time to read a lot of romance novels.It also left enough time to grab a law degree through an evening program, produce Beloved Offspring (only one, but she is a lion), and eventually move to the lovely Maryland countryside.  Her bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish and Lady Eve’s Indiscretion. The Heir was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010, The Soldier was a PW Best Spring Romance of 2011, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish won Best Historical Romance of the Year in 2011 from RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight was a Library Journal Best Book of 2012, and The Bridegroom Wore Plaid was a PW Best Book of 2012. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.
I was provided with an ARC of this book by Sourcebooks Casablanca.