Multimedia Bibliography: Families
by Angela Barratt
I set out to create a bibliography for kids to learn about different types of families. I soon found, however, that aside from picture books there is precious little out there (and even some picture book topics could use expansion). I hope someday to see better resources for kids (and maybe even help create them?) but for now I have created a guide for adults (parents, teachers, librarians, etc.) to use when teaching children about families. The bibliography is divided by family type; so if, for example, you are doing a week on adoption you could simply reference that section. I have tried to be inclusive but it is sometimes difficult to define family types and there is not always good information about them. The sections I have created are: General Family Diversity, Adoptive/Foster Families, Same-sex Parent Families, Grandparents as Guardians, and Single Parents, Divorced and Blended Families. The Web Intro of each section introduces the topic for the adult, while the other resources can be moderated by the adult for use with children. The resources for kids are most appropriate for grades 1-5, though certain listings may not appeal to the oldest or youngest.
General Family Diversity
- American Academy of Pediatrics. “Different Types of Families: A Portrait Gallery.” Healthy Children. Last modified January 5, 2012.
Provides an overview of many types of families, including statistics.
- Hare, Jan, and Lizbeth Gray. “All Kinds of Families: A Guide for Parents.” Edited by Ann Nordby. CYFERnet. Last modified January 14, 2008.
Discusses different forms families may take and makes suggestions as to how to talk to kids about them. While aimed at parents, this is a very useful tool for educators as well. Presents activities that could be done in the classroom or library.
- Willhoite, Michael. 1991. Families: a coloring book. Boston, Mass: Alyson Wonderland.
There do not seem to exist coloring pages about diverse families online, but this somewhat elusive picture book seems like a great alternative. It depicts traditional, modern, multi-generational and multi-cultural families as well as same-gender parents. It was ahead of its time, and I am guessing that’s why it went out of print. It is still available online through used book retailers for less than $10; my suggestion would be to make copies of the pages for use in the classroom or library.
- Parr, Todd. 2003. The family book. New York: Little, Brown.
Brightly colored illustrations celebrates the fact that “there are lots of different ways to be a family.” Depicts families with variations in size, color, parents (gender and number), noise level, eating habits and more but emphasizes that all are families and they still have a lot in common.
- Moulton, Mark Kimball, and Karen Hillard Couch. 2000. One enchanted evening. Delafield, WI: Lang Books.
Queen Spider and Sir Fieldmouse fall in love at the Annual Midsummer Eve Dance. The rhyming verse and charming illustrations ask: “why question the happiness true love doth bring?” This is not specifically about one of the types of families, but it does emphasize that love can surprise you and that real love can exist between very different people.
- Rule, Jim. 1994. “A family is what you make it” in Share this world. Lake Forest, CA: PNO Tuna.
Rule’s song celebrates family differences, stating that he used to believe a family was the stereotypical mom, dad and 2.3 kids but now realizes that that is not the only kind of family. The album was well reviewed in SLJ: “add this one to your collection.” Unfortunately unavailable through youtube or other free sites, but available for purchase as CD or digital download on Songs for Teaching website.
• Chasnoff, Debra, Ariella J. Ben-Dov, and Fawn Yacker. 2000. That’s a family! San Francisco, Calif: Women’s Educational Media.
Kids talk about their families in this 35-minute documentary. Stories include single-parent, mixed race, grandparent guardian and adoptive families as well as same-gender parents and divorced parents. The online trailer would be great in class as well. DVD available for purchase as institutional or individual; institutional comes with licenses, discussion and teaching guide.
• Nemours. “Feelings.” KidsHealth. Last modified 2011.
The “My Home and Family” section contains articles like “Living with a Single Parent,” “Living with Grandparents,” “Living with Stepparents,” “Being Adopted” and “Foster Families.” Not an exhaustive resource (contains nothing about same-sex parents), but very informative and reviewed by medical doctors and PhDs. The articles are written so that any kid could read them, and provide an understanding overview of the topics. Read more…