Books that Celebrate All Kinds of Families

 Ten years ago, when I was searching for books about different family structures, there were only a couple. Happily, there are more and more being published each year.  Here are some of my favorites to read and to share.

Who’s In My Family?: All About Our Families (Let’s Talk about You and Me)

Written by Robie H. Harris, Illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott (2012)

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This simple yet charming book presents a wide variety of families, in a matter of fact way that is accessible and appealing to preschoolers. For example: “Children are born into their families or adopted into their families.” The book starts at the zoo with children pointing out different animal families, and then transitions to talking about human families. Families are illustrated with different family structures, race, and ethnicities. The text explains simply and directly that families may eat different foods for breakfast, but who all like to do fun things together.

All the World

Everywhere Babies

The Family Book

A Garden of Picture Books

Spring is coming, at least theoretically. Here in the Northeast we are still shivering in our winter coats and looking longingly at the small patches of dead grass that have begun to appear. There is still about a foot of snow on top of my garden, but I am dreaming of green growing things.

Some of my favorite books about gardening, gardens, the cycle of seasons, and the cycle of life are (in no particular order):

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The Curious Garden

by Peter Brown

The Curious Garden is magical and gorgeous and features acts of guerrilla urban gardening. Kids relate to Liam’s mistakes as he learns to tend his accidental garden and his joy as it spreads. Knowing that the book was inspired by the true story of the High Line, an elevated garden built on reclaimed freight tracks in New York, just makes it more magical.

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Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!

by Candace Fleming, illustrated by G. Brian Karas 

Reading Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! aloud is a treat. Adult gardeners will relate to Mr. McGreely’s escalating attempts to keep the bunnies out of his vegetables. Kids will root for the adorable (and persistent) bunnies. This book is just fun.

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Sophie’s Squash

by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf

Sophie’s Squash is not a gardening book, though it does celebrate a love for vegetables. It is a warm and wonderful introduction for young children to the cycle of loss and rebirth with the seasons.

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Linnea in Monet’s Garden

by Christina Björk, illustrated by Lena Anderson

Linnea falls in love with Monet’s waterlilies, and the reader falls in love with Monet’s garden through her enthusiasm. Lyrical text and whimsical illustrations blend with reproductions of Monet’s paintings. I love the movie made from the book even more than the book itself, which is a rarity. It is a quiet story, but it inspires and engages kids.

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The Gardener

by Sarah Stewart, illustrated by David Small
Set during the Depression, a young girl brings seeds with her to the city, where she creates a secret rooftop garden in hopes of bringing joy to her uncle. Lydia, like Liam, is determined to transform her environment bit by bit.
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Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt

The same duo that created Over and Under the Snow, one of my favorite nature picture books, now brings us a book timed perfectly for the spring thaw.
And of course, there is The Upside Down Garden!