Recommended Reading: Alternative and Single Parenting Stories

We love reading stories with our kids about non-traditional families. And we actively seek information about alternative family-building for ourselves. Here are recommendations.

Now, here are books recommended by the Choice Mom community over the years. Please add your own recommendations and reviews in the Comments below and we’ll update this list for easier downloading in time:

DONOR INSEMINATION

  • My Beginnings: A Very Special Story, available at www.mybeginnings.com
  • Sometimes it takes three to make a baby at www.mivf.com.au
  • Hope and will have a baby at www.hopeandwill.net
  • Mommy, did I grow in your tummy? at www.elainegordon.com or www.tapestrybooks.com
  • Before you were born: My wish for a child at www.xyandme.com
  • making miracles at acebabes.com
  • butterflies and magical wings at amazon.com
  • How babies and familes are made at amazon.com
  • Our Story at www.donor-conception-network
  • Why Don’t I have a Daddy? Available at Authorhouse.
  • What are Parents. Talks about family on a very basic level that children can understand and not feel like they are alone in being in a non-traditional but loving family. www.StoryTymePublishing.com
  • A Tiny Itsy Bitsy Gift of Life: a Children’s Egg Donor Story. Pally and Comet have everything in life except a baby bunny. The book is colorful and suited to young children. Order from www.atinyitsybitsygiftoflife.com
  • Recipes of How Babies are Made. This book helps parents share the way they were born with their children through the illustrations that children can easily visualize all these complicated methods and easily understand them. www.carmenmartinezjover.com
  • Mommy, was your tummy big? A mother elephant explains her use of donor eggs to her child (note the elephant has a husband, but at least does introduce the donor egg concept). Appealing illustrations and simple words. View entire book at www.carolinanadel.com/books.html

GENERAL FAMILY STORIES

Are You My Mother?
This is the classic. Are You My Mother? follows a confused baby bird who’s been denied the experience of imprinting as he asks cows, planes, and steam shovels the Big Question. In the end he is happily reunited with his maternal parent in a glorious moment of recognition.

Hug
How can it be that a book with only one word–hug–repeated throughout, can be so good? The proof is in the pudding (or the wilds of Africa) in Jez Alborough’s picture book Hug, a delightful mini odyssey of a baby chimpanzee on the hunt for his mum and a cuddle. Our little friend wanders through the trees, witnessing many other animals from chameleons to giraffes as they snuggle together. “Hug,” he says, happily, at first, but then with growing despair as he sees there are no hugs for him. The story is told purely by the expression on the little chimp’s face as his hopes are built up and dashed again until eventually, with a huge smile, he finds his mum and reaps the reward. Ideal for sharing with small ones, this lovely book is a warm, comforting read that cannot fail to please.

Mommy Hugs
What could be sweeter than adorable baby animals snuggling with their mommies? This simple board book with warm illustrations feature a variety of animals and celebrate the affection between mothers and children.

The Family Book
There are so many different types of families, and THE FAMILY BOOK celebrates them all in a funny, silly, and reassuring way. Parr includes adopted families, step-families, one-parent families, and families with two parents of the same sex, as well as the traditional nuclear family.

The Mommy Book
Although some mommies drive motorcycles, and others drive minivans; some mommies go fishing while others go shopping, all mommies want their children to be who they are. That’s Todd Parr’s story, and he’s sticking with it (as reinforced by his It’s Okay to Be Different, This Is My Hair, and lots more funky, friendly picture books). Using his trademark style of brightly colored stick figures, with bold outlined smiley faces for heads, Parr portrays a world of diversity and peace in his simple, esteem-boosting titles.

When Mama Comes Home Tonight
The remains of the day are softly romanticized in this gentle lullaby book about a mother and child reunion. “When Mama comes home from work, dear child, when Mama comes home tonight, she’ll say, ‘Let’s put your blocks away–the red, the green, the white.’ She’ll fix herself a cup of tea, and let you have a sip. She’ll mend your blue pajamas and her own pink satin slip.” The real-life weekday evenings of a working mother and her child may not be as rosy and calm; in this lovely interlude there’s also time for pat-a-cake, stargazing, and plenty of rocking chair cuddles. But like a simple prayer, Eileen Spinelli’s rhyming verse and Mem Fox’s (Time for Bed) creamy pastel illustrations praise this everlasting mother-child connection and offer hope for the peaceful nights and soothing images we long for.

When Mama Gets Home
A realistic glimpse into family life where children are often home before their parents. As a little girl eagerly waits for her mother to come home from work so she can tell her about her day, she helps her older sister and brother get ready for dinner. When Mama does arrive, she is bombarded with questions and comments from all three children, but laughingly puts them off until dinnertime. Finally, after her older sister talks about high school and her brother talks about his basketball team, it is the youngest child’s turn. The story becomes even more realistic when viewed through the festive gouache paintings done in warm yellows, soft red, and bold green. The scene depicting the child talking to her mother is priceless — both of her siblings are sitting at the table, staring off into space, completely bored. However, Mama has a smile on her face, and is patiently listening to her youngest daughter’s long list of news, making her feel important. There are a lot of small details scattered throughout the pages, such as the many family photos that fill the apartment walls. They subtly show that although their father is not included, this is a loving and happy family.

Is Your Mama A Llama?
An enchanting animal guessing game for preschoolers. Lloyd, a baby llama, asks each of his friends, “Is your mama a llama?,” and all respond in turn with a rhyming description of their mother that is answered on the following page.

I’ve also attached below a booklist from All Families Matter, compiled a few years ago, that suggests excellent books about many important themes.

Please add your own suggestions below, or reviews of any of these.

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  3 comments for “Recommended Reading: Alternative and Single Parenting Stories

  1. Barbara Levin
    December 14, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    JUST THE BABY FOR ME is a picture book for young children that explains the concept of donor insemination. It was the bedtime story I told my daughter when she was a toddler. I wanted her to know "where she came from", so to speak, and wanted her to know how very much she was wanted. I think it helped her feel secure about herself and her status; she was very matter-of-fact when friends started asking questions. It’s available from Lulu.com and on Amazon.

  2. Amy
    May 18, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    My favorite is "Love You Forever" by Robert Munsch. It’s a great book for the single mom of a son. It’s a mother and son book. No mention of a father. Just a real good loving story.

  3. Chrissy Fowler
    May 4, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    I Like It When by Mary Murphy
    also comes in Spanish language (Me gusta cuando) It came from the pediatrician and is a favorite of my toddler.

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