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.
Reeder, Jill Hancock, Reeder, Tristan, Jessica & Jill, Illus., Once Upon a Surrogate, The Stork’s Helpers. Written by a surrogate and illustrated by her children and written from your children’s view point to other surrogates and their children to explain the process and experience they went through to help a family have their baby. 2010. firstname.lastname@example.org
Rella, Tina & Meza, Monica, Illus., Summer, Molly, producer, Daddy and Pop, The story about Jessie and her two fathers. Jessie is asked by a girl in class about why she does not have a mom and from there is told the journey that her dads went on to have her with the help of an egg donor and surrogate told in simple language through rhyme. Guess Who, A Children’s Multimedia Company (Part of a series), 2010.
Rella, Tina & Meza, Monica, Illus., Summer, Molly, producer, Mom, Mama and Me and How I Came To Be!, This is the story about Jonathan who is concerned when it is announced that there will be Career Day at school and that all of the students in Jonathan’s class will be sharing what their moms and dads do for a living since he has two moms. That night he asks his Mom and Mama why he doesn’t have a father, and they tell him about the extraordinary journey they took to have him, using a sperm donor, told in simple language through rhyme. Guess Who, A Children’s Multimedia Company (Part of a series), 2010.
Richardson & Parnell And Tango Makes Three The story of two male penguins that were given the chance to nurture an egg and the chick that they hatched. This book is a wonderful way to introduce children to the concept of different types of families. Simon & Schuster Books, 2005.
Robbiano, Carolina, and Massai, Francesca Illus., Wanted A Journey to Surrogacy. a Bilingual Book. It is the story of two parents (non-descript animals straight or gay)) and their journey to have a child. On their journey they discovered the meaning of differences; from rich and poor, race, sexual orientation, single and married and extended families. They learned about determination, adoption, surrogate helpers, medical helpers to create embryos (eggs and sperm) and patience. The story is in both English and Spanish together. It is a book that parts can be read and understood by a child of 3 but is better understood by children 5-10. Archway Publishing, 2015.
Ross, Eric, & Greene, Tracy K. My Uncle’s Wedding. This book is from a nephew’s point of view. The story follows Andy as he talks about his uncle’s wedding, how it affects him, and the things he gets to do in preparation for the ceremony. E. Ross, 2011.
Ryan, Mary E, & Muske, Colleen, Illus., Nan’s Donut Dilemma, Life is full of teachable moments. This is the story of how a little girl is teased at school for not having a dad and her teacher takes the opportunity with the mom’s help to “do the right thing.” How to explain differences in family make-ups. Keen Additions, 2011. [Mikki’s note: I have a copy for sale]
Savage, Sarah, & Fisher, Fox, Illus., Are you a boy or are you a girl? This story shows a child who is interested in a variety of pursuits and is not restricted by gender expectations. Though some parents like the story it is important to note that most of the supporting characters are shown in gender-stereotyped activities and clothing. The story is about “Tiny a child who has moved to a new town and is about to start at a new school. Tiny tells the reader about liking lots of different toys, activities, and clothes which are not limited by gender stereotypes. Tiny is asked several times throughout the book ‘are a boy or a girl?’, but doesn’t answer until the last page when Tiny says ‘I am me!’, TQUAL Books, 2015.
Schiffer, Miriam B., & Clifton-Brown, Holly, Illus., Stella Brings the Family. The story is about a little girl named Stella who is not sure what to do when her class at school celebrates Mother’s Day. It’s not that she doesn’t have someone who helps her with her homework, or tucks her in at night. Stella has her Papa and Daddy who take care of her, and a whole gaggle of other loved ones who make her feel special and supported every day. She just doesn’t have a mom to invite to the party. Fortunately, Stella finds a unique solution to her party problem in this sweet story about love, acceptance, and the true meaning of family. Self-published, May, 2015.
Setterington, Keri, & Priestly, Alice, Illustrator, Mom and Mum are Getting Married, When Rosie finds out that her two mothers are planning to get married, she has only one worry– will she get to be a flower girl? Second Story Press, 2004.
Sheldon, Tamia. What is a family? A question and answer book. This book depicts Waldorf-style illustrations of families of all shapes, sizes, and colors. The goal of the book is to get kids to talk about their own families while showing them that even though families don’t always look the same, they all share their love of one another. CreateSpace, 2014.
Silverberg, Corey, & Smyth, Fiona, Illus., What Makes a Baby, a book for every kind of family. is colorfully illustrated and told in a fun and yet clear way how children come to be through different means. Written for children from ages 3-9. Zoball Press, 2012.
Simon, Norma, All Kinds of Families. This picture book describes many different types of families and explores what they all have in common. Albert Whitman & Co, (ages 4-8), 1975, 1987.
Sendling-Ortiz, Jennifer. Amy takes the cake. When Sally and her moms go to visit the zoo, they think the new ape exhibit will be the funniest part of their day…but they are in for a big surprise! Join Sally and her moms as they explore the zoo and learn about the long “A” sound. Phonics for Us! Is a series of children’s phonics books written for alternative families. We Live Here Too Publishing, 2015.
Skutch, Robert & Nienhaus, Laura, Illus., Who’s in a Family? This book is for children under 5, describing the makeup of families both in the animal world and people world. It celebrates differences and stresses that no two families are alike but their common theme is love. Tricycle Press (self-published), 1995.
Stachowiez, Christina, & Stachowiez, Max, llustrator, I am a Boy. Rather than presenting an overt message about gender identity, I am a BOY offers the perspective of a young man who simply likes to dress up. Written for children who bravely challenge gender roles, this book seeks to encourage understanding and acceptance. CreateSpace, 2015.
Stamm, Linda, & Clipp, Joan, Illustrator, Phoebe’s Family. It is a story about egg donation. Phoebe’s mom tells her the wonderful and unique story of how she came into being through egg donation. Along the way, Phoebe hears about the challenges her mom and dad faced in trying to have a baby, as well as the ultimate good news of her birth into a warm and loving family. Self-Published, (ages 5-10), 2003.
Stock, Gayle. Maybe I’m different. This is a thoughtful book about being different and accepting those differences. The character illustrations are helpful as are their expressions. They, along with the verses, help us all to see that unkind words and actions can be very hurtful. Trafford, 2006.
Tax, Meredith. Families. Six year-old Angie introduces readers to her multicultural group of friends, who are loved in many different types of families. Feminist Press at CUNY, 1996.
Thompson, Leslie & Thompson, Carol, Illustrator, Mommy, Mama and Me. Tricycle Press, 2009.
Thorn, Petra, Green, Lisa & Rinaldo, Tiziani, Illustrator, The Story of Our Family. A Book for Lesbian Families with Children Conceived by DI. The book targets children of Lesbian families, ages 3-6 explaining, in simple terms, how two moms, with the help of a sperm donor, were able to create them and build a family. This is the true story of author Lisa Green. At the time she wrote the book her children were ages 17, 13 and 11. FamArt. Verlag, 2013.
Tompkins, Crystal & Evans, Lindsey, Oh the Things Mommies Do! What Could be Better Than Having 2? Self-published, 2009.
Tyner, Christy & Ching, Cia Ee, Illustrator, Zak’s Safari, A Story about Donor-Conceived Kids of Two Mom Families. Introduction is written by Alice Ruby Executive Director of The Sperm Bank of California and a mom herself through donor conception; offering tips for talking about donor conception and family diversity with age appropriate language. 2014. The story is told by Zak age 5, who acts as your tour guide leading readers through how his family came to be; first sharing how his two moms met, then fell in love and finally decided to have a baby. While Zak shares that there are many different ways to make a family, he then shares how he was conceived with the help of a sperm bank and goes on to explain what a bank is. Zak also talks about what it means to select certain characteristics like eye color in terms that a child could understand; and how he got born. For Zak his birth marks the real beginning of his family journey. He describes in a simple way that children 3-6 can understand how his family is the same and different. Self-published, 2014.
U’Nique, Mystique Ann. Reg, Dave and Zach. This book was inspired by Elton John and his partner to help his children understand about gay dads having children born via surrogacy. It is a book about tolerance and acceptance as told through the story of a childless duck who wanted to have children. Publish America, 2013.
Wendel, Kelle. Birds of a Different Feather. A book for young children to explain when help is needed to create siblings in a family. The book talks about a couple of Geese who love their first gosling so much that they want to add another and then another to grow their family. When they found they had no more eggs they used a duck egg and then a chicken egg. The idea is focused on love and the uniqueness of each family. Tate Publishing Enterprises, 2011.
Willhoite, Michael. Daddy’s Roommate, A young boy discusses his divorced father’s new living situation, in which the father and his gay roommate share eating, doing chores, playing, loving, and living. Alyson Wonderland, 1999.
Willhoite, Michael, Daddy’s Wedding, Nick tells about the wedding of his daddy to Frank, including the gathering of family and friends, the ceremony, the food, and the antics of Clancy. AlysonWonderland,1996.