It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers
Today is Family Day – a day in February observed in Canadian provinces. This holiday celebrates the importance of families and family life to people and their communities. In British Columbia, Family Day falls on the second Monday of February. In celebration of Family Day, I have put together a collection of some of my favorite books that celebrate families, from picture books, nonfiction books and chapter books. I have even included a few favorite titles from my childhood! These books would be a wonderful addition to your unit on families and are perfect books for making connections.
The Family Book – Todd Parr
In his signature bright and colorful style, Todd Parr respectfully celebrates the many different types of families.
The Great Big Book of Families – Mary Hoffman
This interesting book showcases all aspects of family life – from houses, holidays, schools, pets and family trees. Each double page spread is filled with charming illustrations and fascinating facts to pour over. A perfect book to compliment a unit of study on families at the primary level.
All Kinds of Families – Mary Anne Hoberman
This picture book uses rhyme to talk about the different kinds of families that belong to not only people, but to animals and objects as well. The rhyming text makes it a great read-aloud for younger students, and while it is not one of my favorite Hobberman books, I still enjoyed the celebration of different families and the retro-illustrations.
Families Around the World – Margriet Ruurs
This is an excellent book to use for a unit on cultural diversity. In it, we visit fourteen children from different countries around the world to learn about their families, homes, customs and family activities. Each two-page spread is told in first person and begins with a greeting in the child’s native language. Bright, detailed illustrations and lesson suggestions are included in the back.
You and Me Together – Moms, Dads, and Kids Around the World – Barbara Kerley
This is one of my favorite books for practicing making connections. Short, sparse narrative and stunning photographs by National Geographic photographer Barbara Kerley, this book shares the simple joys of families being together and the message that no matter where you come from around the world – we all share a special bond with our family.
Families, Families, Families! – Suzanne Long
This brand new book takes on the topic of the diversity of families in a charming , humorous way. Funny cartoon animals illustrate the idea that families come in all different forms. Delightful, charming, clever!
I Love You Like Crazy Cakes – Rose Lewis
Author Rose Lewis brings to lifer her true story of adopting a baby from China. The story documents the adoption process, beginning with her letter to Chinese officials and ending with her bringing home a baby girl. Touching and heartwarming.
The Snow Globe Family – Jane O’Conner
I loved snow globes as a child so was immediately drawn to this book. It tells the parallel story of two families – the old-fashioned “big” family inside their Victorian house and the almost identical little family inside the snow globe. Both families are longing for a snow storm. Charming, clever and a fun ending.
Charlie Anderson – Barbara Abercrombie
This book is one of my all-time books for reading and practicing questioning and inferring. While you think this story is about a cat who spends the days in one house and the nights in another, the message is really about children from separated or divorced families who live part time with one parent and part time with another. Like Charlie the cat, having two homes and two parents who love you is a good thing.
All-of-A-Kind-Family – Sydney Taylor
I could not complete a list of favorite family books without including this classic from my childhood. I LOVED this book when I was young and read and reread it over and over again. I loved reading about the adventures of five sisters (Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte and Gertie – yes, I still remember their names!) from a Jewish family living in New York’s lower east side at the turn of the century during the turn of the century. From bags of penny candy to searching for buttons in the front parlor – I put myself into this book and lived every adventure with this family.
Finn Family Moomintroll – Tove Janson
Another blast from my childhood past, these quirky, slightly strange collections of whimsical stories are centered around the magical Hobgoblin’s hat – which has the power to change things into something else. I loved the characters – Moomintroll, Sniff, Snufkin, Thingummy and Bob and all their magical adventures and I still think about those floating clouds when I throw my eggshells into the garbage!
The Borrowers – Mary Norton
The Borrowers—the Clock family: Homily, Pod, and their fourteen-year-old daughter, Arrietty are tiny people who live underneath the kitchen floor of an old English country manor. As a child, I was fascinated at the thought of this tiny world of this tiny family who lived by “borrowing” things. It was magical and whimsical and I wanted to be tiny and live with the Clocks!
Year of the Dog – Grace Lin
Wonderful contemporary story of family and friendship, Year of the Dog chronicles a year in the life of Grace Lin’s Taiwanese/Chinese American family in upstate New York. I love using this book for Literature circles as there are so many connections to family, school and friendship that students will make.
The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher – Dana Alison Levy
Saving the best for last…. this is a brand new novel and I LOVED it! So many wonderful themes are included in this fantastic story of a family with four boys including taking risks, caring for each other, making choices. This would be such a great read-aloud to share as the book stimulates so many connections that would lead to great discussions. I loved how each chapter begins with a short note -a little clue of the misadventure that’s on the way. I loved how much I cared for each of the characters. I loved how this book made me smile. Basically I loved everything about this book It is charming, funny, heartwarming, beautifully written and my favorite new chapter book of the year so far!
Happy reading and Happy Family Day everyone!