Back to School Books

Times are hard right now…. very hard. As a teacher and mom, I am also struggling with the inner battle of decisions that I am not equip to make. My heart and mind are heavy, but I am trusting in those making the decisions to do what is best for everyone. I am also praying daily that they have the guidance and strength they need.

Since this will not be a traditional “back to school” this year I debating even posting, but thought it may be helpful. I have put together a list of back to school books that can help ease your little one into their transitions. The list showcases books for many different ages and school levels. I hope that you are staying safe and know that I am praying for peace and health for you all. Happy reading!

Preschool Specific

Pete the Kitty’s First Day of Preschool by Kimberly & James Dean

This is one of my little one’s favorite books right now. If you haven’t met Pete you are truly missing out! We LOVE Pete the Cat and Pete the Kitty definitely does not disappoint. This cute story is perfect for your youngest babies who are off to daycare or preschool.

Llama Llama Misses Mama by Audrey Dewdney

Llama Llama is staring preschool! Mama has gotten everything ready for him. They’ve met the teacher and some of his friends. When Mama gets ready to leave, Llama quickly loses his excitement and starts to miss Mama. Don’t worry, his friends swoop in and help him see how much fun he can have while Mama is away.

Kindergarten Specific

King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes

This book is a MUST for your kindergarten students. This adorable story spotlights all of the excitement of starting school.

All Ages

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

This book is another must have. I have shared this book in previous posts because I love it so much. This sweet story is relatable for all students, especially after this pandemic. This sweet character feels different in many ways. She listens as friends share of their elaborate summer travels and begins to feel even more uncomfortable. She then realizes that she has also traveled all over (thanks to her books) and got to spend the summer with her best friend (her sister). This is such a sweet, heart-warming story!

School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex

Everyone gets nervous on the first day of school, even the school building. All summer it has been the custodian and the school and that was fine! Now school is so anxious to have all of the children come back. What is things go terribly wrong? What if they don’t like him? The school day starts of very rocky, but eventually the school gets comfortable and things settle down. This is such a fun read!

The Pigeon HAS to Go to School by Mo Willems

If you don’t love Pigeon books we cannot be friends. Just kidding! Seriously though, you need to know the Pigeon books. Mo Willems is always a winner in my book. All children love the Pigeon! This book did not disappoint. It’s just as fun and cute as all of Mo’s other books. Perfect for all ages!

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

Penelope Rex is so excited to start school! She cannot wait to meet all of her new friends. She soon discovers that her new classmates are humans. It’s very unfortunate that humans are so delicious. She tries so hard not to eat them, but they’re just so tasty! Eventually she gets a taste of her own medicine and realizes it’s not fun to be eaten. This story is hysterical!

Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin

Again, Pete is a MUST! We love singing along to this fun story. Pete has new school shoes, but keeps stepping in things that change the color of his shoes. This is a simple, fun story. You can sing this story on the way to school to ease your child’s nerves.

David Goes to School by David Shannon

David is one of our favorite (naughty) characters. He is too funny! As expected, naughty David has a hard time listening and following the rules at school. This book is a great opportunity to discuss the expectations of school with your little one while making them giggle at the same time.

The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School by Deborah Diesen

Pout-Pout Fish is off to school! He is full of nerves and worries. What if he is the only one who can’t write his name? What if everyone else can do math? Read along as he uncovers that school is just the place for him.

Mae’s First Day of School by Kate Berube

This book is so sweet. It’s Mae’s first day of school, but she is NOT GOING. Her mother walks her to school and meets another parent. She turns to introduce herself and Mae disappears up a tree. Another little girl climbs up and states that she is not going to school. Good thing since Mae isn’t either! Eventually even the teacher climbs up. They express their fears and worries and decide to face them together.

Books for Children Who Wear Glasses

Children getting glasses is life changing in many ways. First and foremost they can see clearly! AMAZING! On the other end, it’s a huge adjustment physically and emotionally. Children look in the mirror and see a different face than they are used to seeing. They feel physically funny on their face and most children feel a bit insecure about them until they get comfortable wearing them. I wanted to share some of my favorite books that showcase children with glasses. I’ve organized it into books that talk about glasses and books that just show characters wearing glasses. Happy reading!

Side Note: I discovered this site from our school social worker. This is a great place to get glasses for under $20! You simply have to upload your prescription, pick out your glasses, and order. Some are even as cheap as $9.95. If you know someone who wears glasses you may want to share this site! https://www.zennioptical.com/

Characters Who Wear Glasses

Violet Shrink by Christine Baldachinno

Violet is just like her father, glasses and all. She has a few quirks… one major quirk. She hates parties. Follow this story line as she figures out how she can cope with what she hates while making her father happy as well.

Elephant and Piggie Books by Mo Willems

Mo Willems is a favorite of all children! The Elephant and Piggie series is absolutely adorable. The series features two friends who are very different. The print is written in speech bubbles, so it’s very easy to read. The illustrations are simple, but so catchy! Elephant, Gerald, wears glasses. It’s never discussed, just part of who he is. This series is a MUST!

Piggy Let’s Be Friends by Trevor Lai

Piggy is the most adorable character with huge red glasses. Mole is extremely shy and rarely comes out of his hole. One day Piggy spies Mole across the garden, but Mole ducks out of sight before Piggy can get to him. Piggy makes it his mission to become Mole’s friend. This is such a sweet story about accepting others as they are.

Books That Talk About Glasses

The T-Rex Who Lost His Specs! by Jeanne Willis

T-Rex has lost his glasses and now he sees the world through blurry eyes. He tries his best, but he cannot see clearly. From wearing his sister’s clothes to washing with an owl he just cannot seem to get it right. Will he find his glasses? This cute rhyming text is filled with humor!

Calvin, Look Out! by Jennifer Berne

Calvin discovers that he needs glasses and is feeling great as he heads home. When he arrives home his cousins begin making fun of his new glasses. He goes off for a long walk in the woods to clear his head and ends up stuck. He uses his glasses to save himself which makes all of his cousins want a pair too. This book is so quirky and cute!

Douglas, You Need Glasses! by Ged Adamson

Douglas and his owner Nancy LOVE to have fun, but lately Douglas keeps messing everything up because he can’t see. Nancy carts him off to the eye doctor to pick out some glasses. This story is absolutely adorable! The end of the story has pictures of real kids wearing glasses. This is perfect for a child who recently got glasses!

Children’s Books that Teach Kindness

Hello fellow readers! Today I am sharing my top ten favorite books for talking about kindness with children. Several of these books directly discuss kindness while others reach into inclusion and acceptance as well. If you want to see more books that discuss kindness visit my book shop link below for a larger list. Happy reading!

https://bookshop.org/shop/roushreads

Finding Kindness by Deborah Underwood

This book is perfect for all ages. It introduces a variety of acts of kindness that could be implemented at any age. The text is simple leaving room for interpretation from the pictures and life experiences. This really opened my eyes on how simple acts of kindness can be.

Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller

Tanisha spills grape juice on her sweater at lunch and everyone laughs. This book follows as a boy tries to figure out what it means to be kind. He realizes that sometimes kindness is more than words, but that it can start small and turn into something big.

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

This book can be used for SO much! Brian is an introverted child who is often overlooked by his peers and teachers. The pictures in this book are incredibly powerful. He is shown without color making him literally look invisible. A new student joins the class and begins to showcase Brian in a different way. You get to physically see Brian come to life in the story. Such a beautiful showcase of how a small act of kindness can change someone’s world.

Come With Me by Holly M. McGhee

This book was shared with me by a fellow Reading Coach and I have loved it ever since! The book begins by showcasing a young girl watching all the violence on TV. She wonders what she can do to make the world a better place. You get to be part of her journey of discovering how to make a positive impact in small ways. This book sends such a positive message to children through the words as well as the illustrations.

The Kindness Book by Todd Parr

If you haven’t read Todd Parr PLEASE rush to the library and check out every single one of his books. This is his newest book and as always it’s amazing! His bright, simple pictures engage all readers. The book is full of ideas of ways to be kind. From helping things grow to holding open a door this book covers it all!

What Is Given from the Heart by Patricia C. McKissack

James Otis and his mother have fallen upon hard times, but still want to give to a family in need. James struggles to find something to give away because he has so little. His mother reminds him that when you give from the heart it is felt by others. This book demonstrates the importance of giving from the heart.

Tomorrow I’ll Be Kind by Jessica Hische

This sweet story goes through all the feelings we strive to embrace everyday. Each page showcases a different feeling and a way to put it into practice. This is the perfect nighttime story or even read aloud for school.

Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev

This story has quickly become one of my new favorites. A boy and his pet elephant are excited for Pet Club Day! They arrive to the designated house to find a sign that reads “Strictly No Elephants.” They are devastated, but they refuse to let it stop them. This is a beautiful story about inclusion and acceptance.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead

Amos McGee spends his days taking care of his animal friends at the zoo. From running races with turtles to reading bedtime stories to owl, he does it all. When Amos wakes up too sick to go to work, the animals swoop in to take care of him.

One by Kathryn Otoshi

This book is so well written. The characters are colors and red is a hot head. He makes the other colors feel bad. No one is brave enough to stand up to him. One comes along and changes everything. He stands up to red and defends his new friends. A great story about using your voice to make change.

Books with Black Characters

Eight years ago I looked up from my rocking chair to see 18 beautiful faces staring back at me. Those faces represented all shades of color and several different countries. I sat in awe of them for a few seconds. We had just finished reading Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles. I purposefully chose this text to start a conversation about how blessed we are to be able to play together. I had just witnessed a conflict on the playground and wanted to recenter us. I watched proudly as the conversation began and the students engaged with each other. Then all of a sudden, one of my brightest students said “But Mrs. Roush, sometimes people still don’t treat black people fair.” I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. She was absolutely right. How can I, as a white teacher, be sitting here having this conversation? Why does it take an 8 year old to make me pause to see this? Something is wrong. We have to change this.

If an 8 year old is able to articulate that our nation has not changed and we are still living in a world of injustice it is time to wake up. It is our job to listen and learn. We cannot begin to make change unless we seek to understand. We can begin this conversation with our youngest children. We can show them diversity, teach them about the history of our nation, and encourage them to speak up for change. It is time. It is past time.

I have shared some of my favorite books that have black main characters below. I encourage you to make them part of your child’s library and share them time and time again. I vow to listen and seek to understand. I will do my part to speak up when I can and help educate others. I hope you will join me. Happy reading!

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

This book by Jacqueline Woodson is absolutely perfect. The texts discusses times when we may feel we do not fit in. We follow along as the characters discover what makes them unique. The illustrations are beautiful, but the text will make your reader feel empowered and proud of their differences.

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

Jabari Jumps is one of my all time favorites. It is SO relatable for children. Jabari has aced his swim lessons and he is ready to tackle the high dive. His dad takes him to the pool and offers words of encouragement. As Jabari begins to make his way to the high dive his nerves begin to overtake him. This heartwarming story will have you rooting for Jabari and feeling his nervousness right alongside him.

Saturday by Oge Mora

Saturday’s are the BEST! This sweet mother-daughter duo look forward to them every week. Saturday is their day to do whatever they want. The mother has the perfect day planned, but as luck would have it nothing goes as planned. The daughter steps in and refuses to let a few hiccups ruin their perfect day.

The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes

Kindergarten is a big milestone in children’s lives. Watch out as “The King of Kindergarten” embarks on his journey off the school. This story is a must have for every child getting ready to start school.

I Am Enough by Grace Byers

This book is written as a lyrical which makes it an easy and engaging read. I Am Enough encourages readers to celebrate who they are and respect others for their differences. The illustrations and text are simple which makes it a great read for all ages!

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry

Zuri is getting ready for a very special day and it is up to Daddy to fix her hair. Daddy tries his best, but it just isn’t right. They finally come up with a plan to make everything perfect. This sweet story celebrates the special bond between father and daughter.

The Last Stop on Market Street

CJ bursts out of the church doors and finds his Nana waiting for him. He watches his friends get into their cars and leave as he and Nana make their way to the bus stop. CJ doesn’t understand why they don’t have a car. He doesn’t want to wait at the bus stop anymore. He doesn’t want to ride with people he doesn’t know. As they ride, Nana encourages CJ to look for the beautiful in the neighborhoods they pass. The finally arrive at their stop, Market Street, where they volunteer to serve dinner at a soup kitchen. This book showcases the importance of perspective.

The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard

Mary Walker was born a slave. At age 15 she was freed. She learned to read at the age of 116! This story tells her amazing journey and how she came to the conclusion that you are never to old to learn. Mary Walker is truly inspiring!

Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts

Jeremy wants “those shoes.” You know… the pair everyone has… the coolest pair around! The only problem is that grandma doesn’t have the money for them. He desperately tries to fit into a small pair they found at the local thrift shop, but is in more pain than it is worth. Follow Jeremy as he discovers that the things he has are far better than the things he wants.

Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie

Thunder Boy Jr. is named after his dad. He loves his dad, but longs for a name that is all his. He wants a name that celebrates HIM and what HE has done…. something just for him. Will he find a name to call his own? Follow this sweet story as father and son try to pick the perfect name.

Friendship

“A friend is someone who helps you up when you’re down, and if they can’t, they lay down beside you and listen.” – Winnie the Pooh

Friendship is arguably one of the most important things in life. Below I’ve shared my top 10 favorite children’s books that delve into the topic. Happy reading!

Flight School by Lita Judge

One day a penguin shows up to Flight School. They try to tell him that penguins can’t fly, but he is determined. He practices hard everyday, but when it’s time to take flight he sinks like a rock. Penguin is discouraged and begins to give up… until his friends come up with a brilliant plan to help him feel success.

Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed

Pete is the “perfectly predictable pig.” He has his daily routine and enjoys his life just as it is. Then one evening the rain starts and an unexpected visitor turns his world upside down. Pickles, a large elephant, is terrified of the storm. He makes himself right at home which in turn makes Pete perfectly miserable. Read along as a bizarre friendship forms and they go to extreme lengths to save each other.

Hannah and Sugar by Kate Berube

Every day Hannah gets off the bus and sees Sugar waiting for her owner Violet. Hannah refuses to pet Sugar each day and is visibly afraid of her. Then one day Sugar is not there and Violet explains that she is missing. They search everywhere with no sign of Sugar. When darkness falls, Hannah explores on her own and sees Sugar caught around a bush. Hannah pushes down her fear and bravely unwraps Sugar. This book is a great example of overcoming your fears to embrace new friendships.

Little Beauty by Anthony Browne

This book…. I can barely find the words. I love this book so much! Gorilla lives in a zoo and is lonely. All he wants is a friend. The zookeepers find him a little kitten named Beauty. Their bond is evident as the gorilla gently cares for her each day. One night they watch a movie that upsets the gorilla and the keepers threaten to take Beauty away. Beauty rushes in and defends the gorilla. Such a beautiful story of friendship and ways we can support and balance each other.

Bird Hugs by Ged Adamson

Bernard is not like his other bird friends. Sadly, his wings are far too large to fly. He sits sadly while his other friends take flight. He becomes creative in his desperate attempt to fly, but nothing works. One day he stumbles upon a very sad orangutan and discovers that his ultra long wings are great for hugging. He begins to give out hugs to friends in need and in return they give him the greatest gift of all —- flight.

Little Elliot, Big Family by Mike Curato

Elliot’s friend mouse leaves for a family reunion. Elliot sets out for the day, but ends up feeling very lonely and wonders what it would be like to have a big family. Feeling sad and desperate he goes to the movie theater. As he is leaving he hears mouse calling for him. Mouse knew Elliot would be sad and takes him to his family reunion. This book is a sweet story of love and inclusion!

One by Kathryn Otoshi

Blue is quiet and calm. Unlike hothead Red, he likes things to be peaceful. Red continuously bullies all of the colors and everyone is scared of him. Then One comes along and he isn’t afraid of anyone or anything. He teaches the colors a valuable lesson on friendship and standing strong together.

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

This book is one of my all time favorites! Brian is shy, quiet, but so creative. Each day he goes to school as does exactly as he is told, but he still feels invisible. He is the last pick during recess games and is overlooked in class. Justin, a new student, joins the class and notices Brian’s drawings. Read along as Brian slowly begins to be seen and noticed.

Strictly No Elephants by Ame Dyckmann

This beautiful story follows a young boy and his pet elephant. They have a very close relationship and watch out for each other in every way. Unfortunately, having an elephant for a pet makes you stand out… and not always in a good way. They head to a local pet club to join other animal lovers. When they arrive they find a sign that says “strictly no elephants.” They turn away sad and discouraged. Then they come up with an all inclusive idea to make everyone happy.

Truman by Jean Reidy

Truman is a turtle…. a very loyal turtle. He is Sarah’s best friend. He never worries when Sarah leaves. Until the day she leaves with a backpack for school. He waits forever but she doesn’t come back. He begins the long journey to find her. This sweet story shows how valuable friendship can be.

First Five of 2020

It is now April (yikes!) of 2020. I’m not sure where the time has gone, but I figured with a lot of us being quarantined you may enjoy hearing about some new books. I’m calling this post my “First Five” of 2020, but really they are my top five favorites so far. There is no need to waste your time hearing about blasé books. I hope you are staying healthy and enjoying time with your families. If you are stuck at home check one of these amazing books out to help pass your time. Happy reading!

Conviction by Denise Mina

Anna is leading a quiet life with her husband and two daughters…. until her best friend shows up to the door and her husband announces that they have been having an affair. They whisk her two daughters away leaving Anna in their wake. In desperation, Anna begins listening to a podcast that she soon discovers oddly intertwines with her life. An unexpected visitor shows up and they embark on a crazy journey in fear of their lives.

The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall

Two couples are forced paths when both husbands are offered a ministry within the same church. This story follows decades of friendship with a lot of heartache and learning along the way. A beautiful story about faith, friendship, and family.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Emira is a 25 year old babysitter on the verge of being kicked off her parent’s insurance. One evening she receives a call her from Alix, the woman she babysits for, who asks her to leave a party to help them out. Emira whisks Briar away to a grocery store to distract her until things are settled. While in the grocery store she is confronted by an employee and things take an ugly turn. This story unfolds with a lot of doubt and self-discovery along the way. It’s a quick and easy read.

Recipe For a Perfect Wife

This story follows two women and their relationships. It bounces between Nellie Murdoch in 1955 and Alice Hale in 2018. There are two common threads between the women, the house they live in and the double lives they lead. One day Alice stumbles upon an old cookbook of Nellie’s and decides to try out some recipes (which are scattered throughout the story). Slowly she begins to uncover the story of Nellie’s life and with that her own secrets begin to unravel as well.

Followers by Megan Angelo

Orla, an aspiring writer, spends her days writing about celebrities on a popular click-bait site. Floss, her wannabe celebrity roommate, comes up with an elaborate plan to make them both into who they want to become. They are thrown into a whirlwind lifestyle and end up making choices that will follow them the rest of their lives.

Early Literacy Activities

Educator and mom is a difficult balance. I know all the things I should be doing, but most days I’m just too dang exhausted to do anything other than get through our regular evening routine. While I am absolutely terrified of what is happening in the world right now, I have chosen to focus my energy on feeling blessed. I am blessed that our schools made the decision to close their doors. The decision was not an easy one to make, but was the right one to keep us safe. All educators are filled with fear and anxiety for our students.

What are our school babies doing while they are gone?

Are they alright?

Do they have food to eat?

Are they learning anything virtually?

Do they know we still love them?

I push this anxiety aside by focusing on the fact that I am blessed to be able to experience more time home with my son. I finally have the opportunity to teach him. I have time to slow down and enjoy him. To soak up all of his snuggles and laugh at all of his funny sayings.

This is not a blessing I take for granted. I am so thankful for our amazing healthcare workers who do not have the opportunity to stay home. They are fighting the great unknown. Daily putting themselves and their families at risk. They are in my thoughts and prayers every moment of the day.

Families of school aged children are daily navigating the waters of homeschooling life. They are diligently working through assignments from their child’s teacher. MAD PROPS to these amazing parents! Overnight you had to become teachers while many of you are also still balancing a career. You are doing an amazing job!

Other families may be home with little ones because daycare or preschool is closed. They do not have plans to follow and are ending each day purely exhausted. Many are probably feeling like they are getting nothing accomplished. I see you and I feel you. I too am trying to find a balance of virtual work while also engaging with my toddler. Today I am sharing a few early learning activities that are FUN and guaranteed to keep your little ones engaged. I am sharing my top three in an effort to help and not overwhelm. Find one that your child likes and stick with it until they get bored. Do not feel like you have to do it all everyday… or do any! We are all trying to survive while also enjoying the opportunity to slow down. I hope you find them helpful and I hope your little one enjoys them. Happy learning!

ABC Fishing

Materials: ABC puzzle (this one from amazon is amazing), water, a scoop or slotted spoon

Gather all of your materials and fill a pan, bowl, or even the sink with water. Choose which letters you want your child to “fish” for. I would recommend starting with two letters at a time if you are just starting to learn letters.

Ask you child to “fish” for the letter. You can call the letter by it’s name or sound depending on what you are working on. I said the letter name and had him say the sound once he caught it.

Once they “catch” the right letter have them place it in the puzzle.

This activity is great! You can do this in so many different ways… letter names, letter sounds, colors, shapes, etc.

Letter Plate Clip

Materials: Plates (we used Styrofoam, but could use paper plates, cardboard, card stock, or even real plates), clothes pins

Put letters, words, or colors around the outer edge of the plate. Write the letters, words, or color the ends of the clothes pins to match the plate. See the picture below.

Have your child match the clothespin to the appropriate letter on the plate. This activity is not only great for letter recognition, but it is also a good fine motor activity! When we did this at home we did the letter sounds as we matched them. You could easily color the ends of the clothespins for younger children and have them match the colors.

Name Building Scavenger Hunt

Materials: Sticky notes, paper

Write your child’s name on a piece of blank paper. For older children you could write sight words or spelling words they are working on. Write random letters, including the ones needed to build the word, on sticky notes. Place them on a wall or other flat surface. Have you child find the letters used to build the word.

Resources for Homeschooling

Since we’re all stuck inside for the foreseeable future, I wanted to share some free, easy-to-access resources for homeschooling. The following are some of my favorite websites or apps to use both as a teacher and as a mom. I am sharing my top 5 in an effort to not overwhelm, but there are SO many other amazing companies offering free subscriptions as well. Sending prayers for health and happiness. Happy reading!

Storyline Online

Storyline Online is free and does not require you to set up an account. This site features authors and celebrities reading popular books. There are subtitles which is an added bonus for older children. The selection of stories is absolutely amazing! They have such a wide variety and feature popular stories which will definitely keep your child interested.

Hoopla or Libby App

This app is my favorite! All you need is a local library card and you are set to go. Once you have signed in with your card you have access to ebooks, audiobooks, videos, and music. This is a saving grace since our local libraries are closed. I primarily use this app for myself, but have been accessing children’s books for my little one lately too!

Reading A to Z

This is one of my go to sites as a teacher. Reading A to Z allows teachers to assign books as well as print leveled books with the coordinating lesson. This website is a win-win because it is also amazing for parents! The RAZ kids side to this site offers great ebooks and audiobooks for students to read, research, and discuss. They are offering free accounts for teachers through the end of the school year. The website is full of rich resources!

Riverbanks Zoo & Garden

Did you know that turtles have feeling in their shells?! I didn’t until I tuned in for Riverbanks Zoo’s z-learning this morning. Our amazing zoo has set up z-learning for animal lovers of all ages. Every morning at 10:00 they go live on their Facebook page to give viewers a behind the scenes look. They feature a different animal each day and give viewers an up-close look at them.

ABC Mouse

ABC Mouse is a great site for young learners (they recommend ages 2-8). It reaches from pre-kindergarten to 2nd grade level. The website features activities for reading, math, art (colors), and science. It’s engaging and fun for children. They are offering 30 days free!

Children’s Books With Diverse Family Structures

There is an old saying that books are mirrors to our souls. It is crucial that children see themselves in the books they read. We want them to also see their families in books. The traditional family of a mom, dad, and children is no longer the norm. There are single parents, grandparents, same gender parents, aunts, uncles, foster families, and more. All family structures need to be portrayed in books for children. Below I have listed some of my favorite books that showcase a variety of family structures. Happy reading!

Saturday by Oge Mora

Ava’s mother works everyday except Saturday. Every week Ava and her mother look forward to the adventures they will have on their one day together. This Saturday, Ava’s mother has bought them tickets to a puppy show. They begin their day and everything goes wrong…. from canceled library time to ruined hair, it just is not their day. Ava’s mother reassures her each time something goes wrong trying her best to keep Ava happy. They arrive to the puppet show and realize they left the tickets at home. This time Ava’s mom crumples. Now Ava steps in to reassure her mother. This story is so heartwarming! My Mommy heart could so relate to how this mother feels. It truly shows how deep the love between a parent and child runs.

We Are Family by Patricia Hegarty

This book is amazing! The text is so fun to read. The rhymes and sweet message appeal to all ages. The pictures showcase all different types of families and races. This book blesses all different types of families and the things they do together. Perfect for everyone!

Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie

This precious story follows a boy who does not like his name. He is named after his dad and longs for a name of his own. He spirals down the rabbit hole trying to find a new name when his dad comes up with a good solution. This sweet story of a father and son is a must have!

The One Day House by Julia Durango

This book gave me so many warm fuzzy feelings! The story follows Wilson and his Gigi as they spend their days together. Wilson makes promises of the ways he will one day fix up her house so she can relax and enjoy life. Gigi assures Wilson that he gives her all the love and joy she needs in life. Then Wilson makes their dreams come true and surprises his grandmother by following through on all of his promises. Such a sweet story of love and devotion.

Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer

This book is perfect for your youngest reader. It lists all the things love could mean to a family. From something as simple as knowing where missing things are, to kisses before bedtime, this book covers it all! The best part of this book is the pictures. They are very colorful and bright, but best of all they showcase modern families. From same gender parents to single parents, these pictures show all types of families!

Fred Stays With Me by Nancy Coffelt

This little girl goes back and forth between mom’s house and dad’s house, but her beloved dog Fred always stays with her. Dad gets frustrated with Fred, mom gets fed up, and they both insist Fred cannot stay with them. The brave little girl stands up and reminds them that Fred stays with her. A sweet story showing divorced or separated families.

The Big Bed by Bunmi Laditan

Each night it’s mommy, daddy, and daughter all in the big bed. That is until the little one decides it’s time to confront the problem. Daddy just cannot stay in bed anymore. Laugh along as she convinces dad it’s best for him to sleep elsewhere. This book is adorable!

My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero

This story follows a girl and her father as they take a motorcycle ride through their community. The daughter describes all the sights she sees on the ride, while the father seems to quietly unwind after a long day of work.

Night Job by Karen Hesse

This book is about a father who works the night shift cleaning a school. His son rides along with him each night to work. The book tells the routine of their nights shared together.

Bebe Goes Shopping by Susan Middleton Elya

This adorable book features a mother and baby on their trip to the grocery store. The text is filled with color and rhymes making is very engaging. There are Spanish words throughout, but are easy to understand within the context of the story. I love that it showcases an everyday activity that all children can relate to.

Guy’s Favorite Books

Three years ago today, my sweet baby boy was born. I cannot believe that my little 6lb 9oz baby is now THREE! It has been a wild ride, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Being Guy’s mother has truly been the biggest blessing of my life. He is full of love, energy, and emotion! He knows what he likes and will let everyone know it. He feels big and loves even bigger. He remembers everything…. even when we wish he would forget. He makes us laugh each and every day. Happy birthday to our sweet Guy! May your day be filled with trucks, tractors, and all of your favorite things. We love you so much!

In honor of our little man’s big day, I am sharing Guy’s top 10 favorite books. Happy reading!

Little Excavator by Anna Dewdney

This one is Guy’s very favorite. Even at three he can read the words almost completely independently. This story is so fun to read aloud! It has lots of rhymes and onomatopoeia.

Little Excavator tries to help out, but is too small to do the jobs. He keeps trying and fails again and again. In the end, there is one job left and none of the big trucks can do it. Little E comes to the rescue and finally feels some success. This story shows that you are valuable and important even when you are small.

Stanley the Farmer by William Bee

Stanley is one of our favorite characters! This book features Stanley as a farmer. He plows the field, plants his wheat, spreads manure, and eventually harvests his crops. The pictures are very simple with bright colors which give it a vintage look. There are several other Stanley books, so you are sure to find a topic your little one will enjoy.

Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw

This one is an oldie, but a goodie! This fun rhyme keeps my little one laughing. The text is very simple, so it is a fast read which makes it great for very young readers. The sheep go for a drive in the jeep, but everything goes wrong.

Three Cheers for Kid McGear! by Sherri Duskey Rinker

This is our newest favorite by the same author as Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site. Kid McGear is new to the construction yard. She wants to help, but the other trucks insist she is too small and needs to stay out of the way. She does as she’s told until two construction trucks fall over a slippery edge. She uses her special features to save the day and all the trucks learn a valuable lesson about working together.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury

This is another classic favorite. We love reading this and acting it out along the way. This story has been loved by children for decades and we are no exception!

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin

Pete the Cat is another favorite character in our house! We love this book because Guy can guess the colors as we read. This fun rhyme also incorporates colors along the way. There are plenty of other Pete the Cat books you can read after this one. We have yet to find one we don’t love.

No, David! by David Shannon

No, David is the perfect book to talk about behavior. We love to read it and laugh at all the bad things David does, but it also allows us to talk about what why we shouldn’t behave that way.

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle

Little Blue Truck is the perfect book for all young children! The friendly little blue truck rides through the country. The dump truck zooms past without speaking to the animals. He gets stuck and none of the animals want to help him. Leave it to the friendly blue truck to step in and save the day. This book teaches a valuable lesson on working together and being kind.

Potato Pants! by Laurie Keller

We checked this hysterical book out from the library and read it every night for two weeks straight. He has been begging for it ever since, so we surprised him with it for his birthday. Potato is excited that his favorite store is selling POTATO PANTS for one day only! His excitement quickly fades when he sees Eggplant, his arch enemy, through the window. Will he get the courage to go in and get his potato pants? This book is full of idioms and jokes making it fun for adults and children!

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow

Another childhood favorite for everyone. Guy LOVE to read/sing along to this fun story! It’s a classic and needs no explanation. 🙂