Books for Kids About Non-Traditional Families (part 1)

This great compilation by Patricia Mendell, a New York-based therapist who has long been a supporter of the Choice Mom community, is part of a series that looks at the books helpful for parents of non-traditional families, from how to talk with our kids about their origins to simply sharing the stories about the variety of ways we become families.

Find books for parents here

Find Part 2 here

Find videos/websites here


SEX EDUCATION

Bernstein, Anne C. Flight of the Stork. Discussion is helpful in understanding a child’s cognitive abilities at specific ages around sex and creation. Helpful but could use an update in donor language. Perspectives Press, 1994.

Harris, Robie H, & Emberley, Michael. Illus., It’s So Amazing! Provides accurate answers to nearly every question about reproduction, birth, and babies as it gives children an understanding about their bodies (for age 7 and up). Candlewick Press, 2004.

Harris, Robie H, & Emberley, Michael. Illus., It’s Not the Stork!, Provides answers to the preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary school child about how they began and what makes a girl a girl and a boy a boy (for ages 4 and up). Candlewick Press, 2006.

Richardson, Justin, MD, and Schuster, Mark, MD, PhD. Everything You Never Wanted Your Kids to Know about Sex (but were afraid they’d ask), One of the authors of the book (Richardson) is the co-author of the children’s picture book And Tango Makes Three. This book is a fun read for all parents who find talking or the thought of talking to their kids about their sexual development and others, conception, and gender differences a frightening challenge. The book offers insightful, practical, and humorous approaches to discussing these age old questions. While it does not discuss donation or adoption in great length it does give parents a comfortable guide. Three Rivers Press, 2003.

Silverberg, Cory, Smyth, Fiona, Illustrator, What Makes a Baby, Reader’s guide, this wonderful guide book for parents and a companion piece to What Makes a Baby (WMAB). It also can be a guide for parents who are looking for help when talking with their children about their conception and origins. The spiral soft-cover guide is divided into four sections: general tips and communication strategies, a page by page breakdown of WMAB, a guide to specific topics, and suggested resources. Zoball Press, 2012.

Silverberg, Corey & Smyth, Fiona, Illustrator, Sex is a Funny Word: A Book about Bodies, Feelings, and YOU , A comic book for kids that includes children and families of all makeups, orientations, and gender identities, The book acts as a resource about bodies, gender, and sexuality for children ages 8 to 10 as well as their parents and caregivers. It is designed to open up conversations between young people and their caregivers in a way that allows adults to convey their values and beliefs while providing information about boundaries, safety, and joy. July 2015. Seven Stories Press, July 28, 2015.


BOOKS FOR CHILDREN

Baldacchino, Christine, & Malenfant, Isabelle, Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, The book tells the story of the difficulty a young boy has with his fellow classmates when he decides to start wearing his orange dress at school. Groundwood Books, 2014.

Baxter, Nicola, and Michaella, Sam, Matthew, William, Jessie, Kate, Joseph, Fred, Michael, and Kim. Illus., Donor Conception Network. These books were recently updated from 2002. Are told with kid-like drawings and simple words. These are for young children ages 3-6. The language will refer to parents as mum and dad since they are from England. The book allow you to create your own story.

Series includes:

  1. Our Story, Sperm donation for single mom
  2. Our Story, Double/embryo donation for single moms (singleton)
  3. Our Story, Double/embryo donation for single moms (twins)
  4. Our Story, Sperm donation for lesbian couples (singleton)
  5. Our Story, Sperm donation for lesbian couples (twins)
  6. Our Story, Double/embryo donation for lesbian couples (singleton)
  7. Our Story, Double/embryo donation for lesbian couples (twins)

After a reader orders one of the above books the website will ask you the following questions in order to insure you are ordering the book(s) that would be of the most help to you.

  • Did you use double or embryo donation?
  • Is this your first child or second?
  • Did you have a single baby or twins?
  • Are your donors anonymous, identifiable (at age 18) or known personally to you?
  • Is there any possibility of contact with half siblings?

Baxter, Nicola. Our Story. There are two books, one for children conceived with a single mom and a sperm donor and the second book for children conceived with two moms with a sperm donor. Donor Conception Network, 2002.

Benedetto, Nina. About Chris. This story affirms the dignity and self-worth of a child who knows that he is a boy despite the fact that his body is female. Chris’s story portrays his determination to be his true self, and the lesson his teacher learns and others as well. CreateSpace,2015.

Bergman, S. Bear, & Dougherty, Rachel, Illus., Is that a boy or a girl? “Tells the story of multiple different unnamed characters who are gender diverse, critiquing norms about gender in the process. This book explicitly discusses and critiques social norms about gender. It also includes other forms of diversity in terms of skin color and one child using a wheelchair. However, there are many characters which may be confusing for children and there is some gender-typing in its reversals (e.g. although a character who is presumably a boy likes reading he says it’s not ‘boyish’). The book is long and uses rhyming.” Flamingo Rampant, 2015.

Bird, LL, & Girouard, Patrick, Illus., It Takes Love (and some other stuff) To Make a Baby. This is a story for kids in two-mom families born via donor insemination. Using bright illustrations and simple, concrete language, and written by a family doctor and writer, LL Bird, the book explains the basics of reproduction and introduces the concept of the donor. Both known donors and anonymous donation are addressed in a way that allows each family to tell its own unique story; for children ages3-12. Catadon Press, 2014.

Bixler, Deb, My two aunts. This book is written and illustrated from the perspective of a 5 year old. The author originally wrote this book as a tool for her sister to use to answer questions from Deb’s nieces and nephews about Deb’s lesbian relationship. Authorhouse, 2007, Children ages 3-6.

Bone, Jeffrey & Lisa, & Docampo, Valeria, Illustrator, Not Every Princess, The book takes the readers on a journey by gently questioning the rigid construction of gender roles pushing readers to use their imaginations while expanding the societal norms that are assumed by many parents and kids. Magination Press, 2014.

Bourne, Kate. Sometimes It Takes Three to Make a Baby. Describes how Mum and Dad became parents with eggs donated by “a kind lady”, with some details about eggs, sperm, embryos and the uterus (for 8-10 year olds). http://www.mivf.com

Brannen, Sarah S., Uncle Bobby’s Wedding. The story of a little niece, who becomes jealous and sad when her favorite uncle announces that he will be getting married two his friend Jamie feeling fearful that she will no longer be special to her Uncle Bobby. As she helps with the planning of the wedding the little girl discovers that she will always be special to her Uncle Bobby and now to Uncle Jamie as well. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2008.

Bryan, Leah & Riches, Sara, Illus., The Baby Doctor: Explaining IVF to Your Child. Narrated by a little girl, this is the story of how her parents want to give her a baby brother or sister and of her anxiety over all

Carter, Kristin, What Matters Most: a Children’s Book about Families. Four year old Keira questions her Dad about whether they are a real family since she does not have a mommy. Her dad assures her that they are a real family by sending her on play dates with a different family each day of the week.   Booksurge, 2008.

Cirisan, Wava and Schultze, Stella, Illus., The Very Special DucklingsVery Simple Story about Egg Donation, This book introduces to very young children egg donation between two families of ducks; one with eggs and one with none and how one mother duck shared her eggs with the mother who had none so that both of them could be moms, Trafford on Demand Pub., 2005.

Clark, W Kathryn, Cutrara, Joanna & Kim, Steve, Illus., Ruby’s Story: An Embryo Adoption Journey. rubyadoption@gmail.com, Self-published, 2014.

Considine, Kaitlyn Taylor, Emma and Mesha My Boy: A Story of Two Moms, 2005.

Corning, Meg, & McGee, Deborah J, Illus., Nick’s Story: How One Family Proved that Miracles Can Happen. This discussion starter is narrated by four-year-old Nick who tells the story of how he “didn’t grow inside [his] mommy’s tummy,” but rather inside the tummy of his surrogate mother who happened to be his aunt. Nice illustrations. Ages 3-7. Authorhouse, 2008.

Davids, Stacy B., & Balsaitis, Rachel, Illus., Annie’s Plaid Shirt, Annie loves her plaid shirt and wears it everywhere. But one day her mom tells Annie that she must wear a dress to her uncle’s wedding. Annie protests, but her mom insists and buys her a fancy new dress anyway. Annie is miserable. She feels weird in dresses. Why can’t her mom understand? Then Annie has an idea. But will her mom agree? Annie’s Plaid Shirt will inspire readers to be themselves and will touch the hearts of those who love them. Upswing Press 2015.

De Haan, Linda and Nijuland, Stern Illus., King and King and Family. This story presents a same-sex attraction and union in a sweet and child-like way. Its storyline is direct and playful. And the outcome is presented in a matter-of-fact way. Tricycle Press, 2006.

Dine, Tina & Jaded Dragon Studios, Illustrators, The Little Red Stocking Help Make Us Three, Mascot Books, 2013.

Egan, Jennifer, Gulak, Robin, Illus., Cookies and Cake & The Families We Make. The story is told through rhyme and metaphors using cookies and cakes to help parents and guardians explain to their children how diverse families, though different, are all wonderful including: single parents, multiracial parents, two moms, two dads, one of each, or even an unrelated guardian. Laredo Publishing Co., 2011.

Erickson, Cher, What is a family? The book was written for the purpose of teaching children that there are many different types of families. The book speaks from the perspective of children as they describe their families in a contemporary, as well as sensitive manner. It is meant to be read with an adult to help facilitate a child’s understanding of the issues presented in the book. With this understanding, the book strives to promote confidence and assurance to all children, that they can be proud of themselves and their family regardless of their particular family structure. CreateSpace, 2014.

Falk, Crystal & Smith, Kathea, Illus., Sophia’s Broken Crayons. A story of surrogacy from a young child’s perspective, written by the gestational surrogate in words that a two year old would understand; explaining simply how and why two dads choose surrogates to help grow their families and why surrogates choose to help other families that way. The broken crayons are the metaphor for a broken belly. The story focuses on the power of giving to others who are less fortunate than yourself. (ages 2-6) Birth, Bump & Beyond, LLC, 2015.

Galvez, Jason. I am loved right where I am. Sylvia is a special girl who knows all about how family love comes in different colors, forms, types, and sizes. She has a lot of friends–each with a unique family makeup. Maybe your family has some things in common with that of Sylvia’s friends, or maybe yours is very different. No matter what type of family you come from, Sylvia wants you to know that is exactly where you belong, and that you are LOVED! Tate Publishing. February, 2006.

Garden, Nancy & Wooding, Sharon, Illus., Molly’s Family, This is a story about Molly, a kindergartener with two moms who with her classmates is asked to draw a picture of her family for Open School Night. The dilemma comes when another classmate looks at her picture and tells her that having a mommy and mama is not a family. Molly doesn’t know what to think; no one else in her class has two mothers. She isn’t sure she wants her picture to be on the wall for Open School Night. Through the sensitivity of words and art she is helped to understand and to let her classmates understand that even if a family is different from others, it can still be happy, loving, and real. Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); First Edition. April 7, 2004.

Garlitos, Rhandee, Penaflorida, & Tokwa Salazar, Illustrator, The Fierce and Fabulous Boy in Pink, The book tells the story of a little boy named Adel who seems to be fond and passionate about the color pink. While Adel is adored by his family, siblings and close friend, there are others who do not accept his pink choices. Adel insistence proves to everyone that true bravery and strength does not lie in how one acts or looks but in showing courage and acceptance where others do not. http:/www.vibebookstore.com 2013.

Gomez, Judith Shepard, & Caire, Christo, Illus., Mia’s Two Grammas: A Child’s Coming Out Story. This is a book for children about Gay Grandparents. It was written for children with LGBT parents and/or grandparents, but is appropriate for all families who want to share in the message that families are created and sustained by love. CreateSpace, 2015.

Gordon, Elaine, & O’Malley, Kathy, Illus., Mommy, Did I Grow in Your Tummy? Where Many Babies Come From. Explains infertility, IVF, and alternate ways to become a family including donor gametes and surrogacy. This is one of the first books published in the US in 1992 on family building. EM Greenberg Press, Inc. Updated 2011.

Grimes, Janice, Before You Were Born: Our Wish for a Baby, Using bears instead of people for young children. The story is told by the parent bears to their child bear about how they came to be part of the family. X, Y, & Me, LLC, 2004.

Other book versions include:

  1. Before You Were Born: Our Wish for a Baby: Donor Sperm (single)
  2. Before You Were Born: Our Wish for a Baby: Gestational Carrier
  3. Before You Were Born: Our Wish for a Baby: Donor Embryo
  4. Before You Were Born: Our Wish for a Baby: Frozen Embryo
  5. Before You Were Born: Our Wish for a Baby: Male Partners
  6. Before You Were Born: Our Wish for a Baby: Single Dad: Donor Egg/Gestational Carrier

Guess Who. Love Makes a Family. a CD and written book series about how different families are created through adoption, egg &sperm donation and surrogacy (Daddy and Pop; Mom and Dad and the Journey They Had!; and Mom and Me…The Way it Should Be!). Guess Who? Multimedia and Pacific Fertility Center, Los Angeles, www.GuessWhoMedia.com.

Hashrard, Gina. Your Story: How some special babies are made. August, 2014.

Hill-Meyer, Tobi, & Toczynski, E., Illus., A princess of great daring! “Jamie hasn’t seen her friends all summer, and is now living her affirmed gender as a girl. She meets up with her three (cisgender male) friends, and is happy that they are accepting of her gender. The four friends have imaginative adventures together about princes and a princess. Jamie asks her friends to support her when she has to tell everyone at school the following week, to which they all agree. Most of this story focuses on the imaginative adventures the four friends have together, and is a story of acceptance from peers, Jamie’s gender is a non-issue. Jamie is described as ‘a girl now’ by one of her mums, and at the end of the book describes herself as ‘really a girl’, framing gender as a binary. Flamingo Rampant Publishing, 2015.

Hoffman, Mary, & Asquith, Roz, Illus., The Great Big Book of Families: Welcome to the Family.This book explores the arrival of new members into a family by talking about all the different ways a baby or child can become part of the clan, including natural birth within a nuclear family, adoption, fostering, same-sex parents, and many other aspects of bringing babies or children home. It is part of the The Great Big Book of Families and uses colorful pictures using one theme for each set of pictures with lots of humor, jokes, and fun along the way; sending the positive message that every family is different and every family is equally valid and special, no matter how or when their children arrive. Dial Publishing. April, 2014.

Hoffman, Sarah, & Hoffman, Ian, &Case, Chris, Illustrator, Jacob’s New Dress, This the story about Jacob who likes to wear dresses at home. Over time he convinces his parents to let him wear dresses to school too. Albert Whitman & Company, 2014.

Kanterezhi, Yeveniya, and Illus., Special Man, This book is designed to help children from all kinds of families answer the question, “What makers a family?” This book is about the gratitude a lesbian couple has towards their sperm donor. This special man gave a lesbian couple the chance to have babies of their own; helping children understand how two mothers came to have them. Self-published, 2012, (ages 3-10).

Karst, Patricia & Stevenson, Geoff, Illus., The Invisible String. The story is about how families are created by love. It emphasizes that a child should never feel alone because they are connected by a string that is invisible (you cannot see it) but it is there. No matter where you are or who you are with you will always be connected to each other in a family by love. The string metaphor implies that family connections are not about genes but about family bonds. (ages 3-10). DeVorss & Company, 2000.

Kates, Bobbi J & Mathieu, Joe, Illus., We’re Different, We’re the Same. Picture book from Sesame Street for preschoolers. Random House, 1992.

Keen, Sherry & Gillen, Rosemarie, Illus., You Were Meant To Be! This is a colorful picture book for children born through egg and sperm donation using puzzle pieces as part of the theme, told by a mom, but making it clear that no matter how you came to be that you were meant to be here. (ages 5 &under) Big Tent Books, 2013.

Kluger-Bell, Kimberly, The Pea That Was ME, Are a series of children’s picture books told in rhyme to help explain to young children how they were conceived. The books are written by a trained reproductive mental health professional. There are seven books to date each one explaining the unique way a child was conceived. In the course of the story the question is answered in a clear, simple and positive way about how they came to be and what parts (egg, sperm, egg and sperm and or uterus (tummy) was needed to make them as babies. It is written for children ages 3 & up. Self-published from 2012-2015, www.kimklugerbell.com. Other versions include:

  1. The Pea That Was ME, An Egg Donation Story
  2. The Pea That Was ME, An Embryo Donation Story
  3. The Pea That Was ME, A Single Mom’s Sperm Donation Story
  4. The Pea That Was ME, A Two Mom’s Sperm Donation Story
  5. The Pea That Was ME, A Two Dad’s Egg Donation and Surrogacy Story

See Part 2 here

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