16 Best Children’s Books About Family & Family Diversity

Updated

Cake values integrity and transparency. We follow a strict editorial process to provide you with the best content possible. We also may earn commission from purchases made through affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more in our affiliate disclosure.

Most children will assume that the combination of parents, grandparents, and siblings in their household is the default for everyone—until they have examples to understand families come in many sizes and types. 

Jump ahead to these sections:

Reading about different types of families in storybooks is an excellent way to introduce your child to these ideas. Great children’s books entertain while also expanding your child’s horizons.

The stories help them see that having different kinds of families in the world is enriching for us all. Be prepared for a discussion after the first time you read these books, since your child may want to know more.

Best Children’s Books About Family History

Understanding that families have histories can be abstract for a child. Consider using one of these stories if you want to start a conversation with your child about family history.

1. How Far Do You Love Me by Lulu Delacre

How Far Do You Love Me offers a charming “game” that allows a child to realize that the depth and background of their family’s love forms a close bond that holds them all together.

View This Book on Amazon

2. This Is the Rope: A Story from the Great Migration by Jacqueline Woodson

This beautiful story of an African-American family leaving behind the South and moving for better opportunities elsewhere offers a lesson in how objects are often more than they seem.

After reading This Is the Rope, consider asking your child about objects in your house that have significance to her parents or grandparents.

View This Book on Amazon

3. Sometimes It’s Grandmas and Grandpas, Not Mommies and Daddies by Gayle Byrne

Sometimes It's Grandmas and Grandpas explores the life of a child being raised by her grandparents rather than her parents. This story is a reality for millions of children in the United States alone.

It focuses on the positives and sweetness of this relationship and how it's a normal and positive arrangement. It might be a particularly good book to add to a classroom library if one or more kids in the class are being raised by grandparents.

View This Book on Amazon

4. Love is a Family by Roma Downey

Love is a Family shows a relatable path. A child notices something different in her family (single mom, no siblings).

She wonders if it will be considered unusual to be a small family at her school’s Family Fun Night. What results is a heartwarming story about how love, not a particular family formula, is what matters to a happy home.

View This Book on Amazon

ยป MORE: Keep a loved one's memory alive by creating a diamond from their ashes.

 

Best Children’s Books About Extended Family

Especially for children who don’t spend much time with aunts, uncles, cousins, or grandparents, it can be fun to learn about how many combinations of families under a single roof can exist.

These books can also be a great introduction when a young child is about to go to a family reunion. They will be more eager to get to know members of their family they haven’t spent much time with before.

5. One Family by George Shannon

Discussing the term “one” in detail, One Family showcases how a family can be a lot of different things and still be unified.

Children, who often want concrete definitions of what is correct, may find it beneficial to see that there are lots of ways to incorporate and name one’s family.

View This Book on Amazon

6. Shades of People by Shelly Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly

Learning that you can have members in your family who are from different backgrounds, of different ages, and different skin tones can be a powerful message.

Shades of People is full of real photographs and can help children see themselves as part of a wide, diverse, extended family.

View This Book on Amazon

7. Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis

This sweet tale of adoption shows that there are people in the story of adoption beyond just the child and the adoptive parents.

Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born shows that the ‘extended’ part of one’s family could include birth parents and other family members.

View This Book on Amazon

8. Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar by Keith Richards

Gus & Me is a charming story of a boy and his grandfather. It showcases how intergenerational closeness can be one of the most valuable parts of an extended family.

View This Book on Amazon

Best Children’s Books About Diverse Families

Each child has a unique story about how they came into the world. Children eventually question how aspects of their culture, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, and other factors impact how their family is viewed.

Having affirming, positive books about family diversity can help children to make sense of their world. A diverse world has so many configurations around the core of loving and caring for one another.

9. Who’s In My Family? All About Our Family by Robie Harris

A day of discussion on all the different forms that families can take has an uplifting and positive end, helping children start the conversation if they feel like their kind of family is not represented in their classroom or school.

Who's In My Family? offers reminders that unique family situations are great and offer benefits that can help a child thrive.

View This Book on Amazon

10. Dear Child by John Farrell

Dear Child focuses on how much a child can change the life of a parent. It can be a lovely story for helping a child understand just how deeply loved they really are.

Seeing that they are a major part of their parents’ lives can be helpful if a child ever feels like some factor is isolating them from their parent.

View This Book on Amazon

11. My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete

My Brother Charlie is a book about sibling relationships and understanding and celebrating differences, including neurological differences such as autism. It attempts to show children how everyone’s brain works a little differently--and one isn’t better than the others.

Children who meet other children who are on the autism spectrum may learn some new empathetic tools from books like this one.

View This Book on Amazon

12. A Rainbow All Around Me by Sandra L. Pinkney

This beautifully photographed book will draw children in and engage them with the positive ideas of valuing diversity and difference.

A Rainbow All Around Me can be a great start to a conversation about race or ethnicity if your child is meeting people from different backgrounds or who look different from the people they are used to.

View This Book on Amazon

Best Children’s Books About Family Traditions

Creating family traditions or understanding a new friend’s family traditions can be made easier if your child has read a few books about different family traditions around the world.

Understanding the norms and rules of your home and recognizing that they don’t necessarily apply in every family is an important part of growing up.

13. All Families Are Special by Norma Simon

All Families Are Special is a beautiful story about children realizing that there are many wonderful structures for families. It focuses on a teacher sharing her family story and encouraging children to share theirs as well.

View This Book on Amazon

14. A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams

A Chair for My Mother is a beautiful story about a family with a grandmother, mother, and daughter going through a tough time after a devastating fire is a great example of how the little things can bring a big impact on a family.

View This Book on Amazon

15. The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman

Structured to teach kids a fun and easy vocabulary for all the ways that families can be structured, alongside pretty illustrations that will engage young ones, The Great Big Book of Families includes a variety of family structures that will help children see how new family figures, like stepparents or new siblings, can fit into their families too.

View This Book on Amazon

16. Do You Sing Twinkle? by Sandra Levins

Specifically focused on family traditions in blended families, Do You Sing Twinkle? shows a child combining the things they’ve grown to expect from their parents with the traditions of their new stepparent and step-siblings. Normalizing these transitions can help children make sense of change.

View This Book on Amazon

The Wide World of Family Diversity in Books

Children are constantly soaking up information. Early on in life is a great time to introduce them to a lot of diversity in small doses. Show them that the world has so much variety in it, that diversity is the norm of our world. 

As children grow, they are more able to process their family trees and understand their connections beyond their immediate family. Having this baseline understanding can be helpful in hard circumstances, such as processing and remembering a family member who died

In some contexts, combining books about family with books about death can ease a child’s experience of grief for the first time. Such books can also prepare them to go through a grief or loss event. While nothing can make the experience of grief or loss easy, books about others working through the hard questions of life can give your child some light for the journey.

Icons sourced from FlatIcon.