Books for preschoolers with non-traditional relationships depicted(21 Posts)
I realise this sounds really wanky, but DS doesn't live in a traditional set up - Mummy, Daddy, child(ren). And yet most of his books seem to depict this. Our family isn't that untraditional, just me (Mum), DP (Not his Dad - DS uses his name) and DS, but I'd be interested in any books which have anything different to the norm, whether that's a single parent family, living with grandparents, gay parents, whatever. Particularly stepfamilies, but any would be good.
Not really looking for the kind of "Let's explain this situation" sort of books like you get when you're expecting DC2 or whatever, just books which have non-traditional families without comment, just as part of the background.
Sarah Garland books are lovely. Not many words and the 'Going to../Doing' books don't have a dad in. They are a bit bohemian/chaotic! My favourite is 'Doing Christmas' with the mother and 2 children relaxing on Christmas morning when they open the door to a very glam granny with the printed words 'She is early' saying so much (daughter is in a long t-shirt). She guzzles the wine at lunch and when she leaves the granddaughter is brushing the dog with the hairbrush she has been given as a present.
She has also written 'Eddie..' books with more words and again there isn't a dad.
Not many words is good at the moment as DS loves talking about what is happening in the pictures.
In Harry and the Dinosaurs, theres mum, nan and harry/sam, no dad mentioned. Various of the Allan Ahlberg Happy Family books have single parents, separating families, step parents (off the top of my head).
We've had a few books out of the library which would answer your criteria, but of course, I can't remember the titles now..
I absolutely love The House That Grew but it is probably more for young school age children than preschoolers.
That said it does have lovely detailed pictures that DD loved looking at- she was 3 when we were given it.
We got one as a gift from my DS's nursery one Xmas - Ms Cliff the Climber. It was about a woman who liked climbing has family, gets divorced, remarried, etc. everyone all living happily afterwards. I didn't think it was a great story as just a story particularly, but dealt with sort of similar subject matter in a light hearted/background type of way.
Oh, and knew I'd read a better one which was by Todd Parr - Its good to be different (which is actually more about personal differences), but whilst looking on amazon saw 'the family tree' which seems to fit your bill and Parr's books are very pre-school friendly (goes with the Todd's world TV prog). You could look that up and see what other people bought as you might find good suggestions that way.
Ooh quite a few suggestions, thanks Anyone else got any more?
The Little Bear books by Martin Waddell are about a little bear and his dad (who is presumably a single parent). I liked the one where they have to tidy their cave before going out to play, though can't remember what its called (dd now rather older!). Can't You Sleep, Little Bear? is also rather sweet though a bit near the bone
What's interesting is that the typical Daddy, Mummy, plus two kids set-up is very much a mid-20th century phenomenon, especially for school age children. I blame "Janet and John". But if you look right back, it's hard to find a "standard happy family" in a fairytale and 19th/early 20th century children's books are full of orphans and children that get sent away here, there and everywhere. And in the 1960s, the "nuclear family" started to get pushed out, too.
I find animal books nice for pre-schoolers on this as it's not necessary to spell out exactly what the relationships are.
Is there any chance you could ask at your local library? At our (admittedly large, city centre) library, they have whole sections of books which are to be used in specific circumstances. So there are books which introduce letters and numbers, books which discuss new experiences, books which deal with positive self image etc. There is a whole section devoted to family and different family set-ups. Whenever I've asked the librarians, they've been very knowledgeable and able to recommend specific books.
This may be too young for your DS, but Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers shows all type of families without it ever being mentioned in text. There are single parents, adoptive parents, same sex couples, grandparents, and biracial couples pictured. It's a very nice example of showing different types of families in a book for the very young.
I just saw this book in the shop today - I've recommended the same author's books for older children before. I thought this one was lovely, it shows the little girl with all her extended family, grandparents, uncle, cousins etc. (Probably a library one though as rather expensive for a picture book!)
I'm so in love with the story 'And Tango Makes Three' about a very untraditional family (bonus - they are penguins!)
A good thread We have a mum, dad, 2 children set up in our family and this is replicated across our broader family (no divorces, no step-families, no biracial marriages etc). So I'm conscious that my 3yo DS's experience of family is not very diverse. Given some of his friends have different family set-ups I am keen to find ways of showing him that families can be very different before he has had time to form too many assumptions/prejudices.
I like Harry and the Dinosaurs. I also like books where it is just the relationship between one parent and child being shown - No Matter What by Debi Gliori which is just mum and child (actually not sure if the parent is gendered so could be dad and child - they're foxes ). You can either assume there are 2 parents but one isn't there or that it is a single parent household.
Also think children/animals. The Elephant and the Bad Baby (who goes home to his mother - no other relatives); Ferdinand the Bull (ditto); Little Grey Rabbit (ok, old fashioned and some stereotyping - Hare is hardly a good role model and LGR does all the housework but she is actually the brave and intelligent one- whereas Squirrel leads the sort of existence I'd like... a threesome). When a little older, some of the Shirley Hughes stories I think have less traditional set ups.
The visitors who came to stay is quite good too.
I love We Are Wearing Out the Naughty Step. There's a mum, three kids and the mum's boyfriend in that - it's got a lot about the mum being exasperated by the children, which I suppose could be more so because she's a single mum, but really the family set-up is not the main issue, it's just a great, funny story and a happy family.
The Usborne books Poppy and Sam series is also good. Nice clear pictures and simple stories. The mum, Mrs Boot, is the farmer. I'm not sure if there is a Mr Boot, but he's not in most of the stories. There is a box of them on offer with the Book People at the moment - though be warned, by DD usually wants to read the whole set in one go.
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