Families, just like people, come in all shapes and sizes. Sharing stories about different families, and families similar to ones own, can help put a child’s mind at ease and show to them that no two families are alike, as well as make the child feel like they belong.

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My Two Grandads
by Floella Benjamin and Margaret Chamberlain

Grandad Roy plays in a steel band; Grandad Harry plays in a brass band. Aston loves both styles of music. When the school needs a band to play at the school fair, and both grandads want their own band to play. This delightful story of a mixed-race family reconciling their very different cultures is a wonderful celebration of diverse cultures.
Age: 5+

My Two Grannies
by Floella Benjamin and Margaret Chamberlain

Alvina has two grannies: Grannie Vero is from Trinidad, Grannie Rose is from the north of England. When her parents go away on holiday, both grannies move in to Alvina’s house to look after her. Each granny want to do things her way. The grannies get crosser and crosser until Alvina steps in.
Age: 4+

In A Minute
by Tony Bradman and Eileen Browne

Jo and her friend Sita are excited about their visit to the park with Jo’s parents, but there are so many delays they fear they’ll never get there. 
Age: 2+

Up and Down Mum
by Child’s Play and Wellcome Trust and illustrated by Summer Macon
Age range: 3+

Living with Mum is a bit like a roller coaster ride. At times, she is excited and full of energy, but at others, she is tired and withdrawn. But she’s always my mum, and we’re sharing the ride. For children who grow up in the care of a parent with mental health problems, life can be filled with anxiety and uncertainty. With the aid of a clear and simple information spread, this story helps us to understand the causes of mental illness and how we can learn to live with someone who has it. Developed in close consultation with families with parental mental health conditions and created in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust.

The Most Precious Present in the World
by Becky Edwards and Louise Comfort

Mia wants to know why she looks different to her adoptive parents and why her birth parents didn’t want her. A charming and comforting book.
Age: 4+

Grace & Family
by Mary Hoffman

Heart warming story about a young girl learning to live with two families, one in Britain and one in Africa, after her parents divorce. Beautifully illustrated.
Age: 5+

The Great Big Book of Families
by Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith

There are almost as many kinds of families as colours of the rainbow and this book illustrates some of them: from a mum and dad or single parent to two mums or two dads, from a mixed-race family to children with different mums and dads, from families with a disabled member to those with a mum or dad in prison.
Age: 5+

Welcome to the Family
by Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith

A charming and informative book that explores the many different ways a new baby might join your family, including adoption and fostering.  Also looks at different types of families.
Age: 4+

Families, Families, Families!
by Suzanne Lang and Max Lang

This book introduces a whole host of silly animal families, who all carry the same message.  It doesn’t matter how your family is made up – if you love each other, then you are a family.
Age: 3+

Every Second Friday
by Kiri Lightfoot and Ben Galbraith

A brother and sister spend alternate weekends with their father. A story about belonging in two places.
Age: 4+

Two Homes
by Claire Masurel

Positive and encouraging look at the advantages, rather than disadvantages, of two homes. Told from the child’s view point.
Age: 3+

Dad David, Baba Chris and Me
by Ed Merchant

Ben’s two dads adopted him when he was four. This story encourages an understanding and appreciation of same-sex parents, as well as looking at the different sorts of families that there can be.
Age: 4+

Heather has two mummies
by Lesléa Newman

Heather’s favourite number is two – she has two arms, two legs, two pets and two lovely mummies. But when Heather goes to school for the first time, someone asks her about her daddy – and Heather doesn’t have a daddy! But then the class all draw portraits of their families, and not one single drawing is the same. Heather and her classmates realise – it doesn’t matter who makes up a family, the most important thing is that all the people in it love one another very much.
Age: 5+

Molly and her Dad
by Jan Ormerod and Carol Thompson

Molly hasn’t seen her dad for ages. Is she like him? A positive, light hearted story that captures Molly’s anxieties well. Lively vibrant illustrations with good use of speech bubbles.
Age: 5+

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The Colour Thief: A families’ story of depression
by Andrew Fusek Peters and Polly Peters and illustrated by Karin Littlewood
Age range: 5+

The Colour Thief is a simple, heart-warming tale which helps to open up the
conversations around depression and to support young children whose families have been affected. We follow a young boy who loves spending time with his dad, doing fun things together. When his father becomes sad and distant, he doesn’t understand and believes he has done something to make his dad so, despite being told otherwise. Narrated from the child’s perspective, this is the perfect book to read with children who are trying to understand the 11 cause and effects of depression and reassure them that depression passes, and their parents are not lost to them.

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Living with Mum and Living with Dad: My Two Homes
by Melanie Walsh

A simple lift-the-flap book which is reassuring for very young children.
Age: 3+

Useful Organisations

Adoption UK:
Providing an online forum, support groups, family days and training for parents.

The Association for Postnatal Illness:
Support and information on postnatal depression.

Care for the family:
Support and information for families.

Contact a family:
A national charity that exists to support the families of disabled children whatever their condition or disability.

Dad Info:
Gives advice for parents from a dad’s perspective, including articles and ‘dad guides’ on pregnancy, birth and financial issues.

Family action:
Transforms lives by providing practical, emotional and financial support to those who are experiencing poverty, disadvantage and social isolation across the country.

Family Fund 
Offer grants to low-income families raising disabled and seriously ill children and young people.

Family Lives:
A national charity providing help and support in all aspects of family life.

Works nationally and locally for and with single parents to improve their lives.

Support for both adults and children with learning disabilities.

National Childbirth Trust:
Giving accurate, impartial antenatal information to parents.

Support for both adults and children with disabilities.

A charity for the brothers and sisters of disabled children and adults.

The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell

About the book

Today is Christmas Eve. Today is my birthday. Today I am fifteen. Today I buried my parents in the backyard. Neither of them were beloved. Marnie and her little sister Nelly have always been different. Marnie leads a life of smoking, drinking and drugs; Nelly enjoys playing the violin, eating cornflakes with Coke and reading Harry Potter. But on Christmas Eve, the sisters have to join forces and put their differences aside. And when Lennie, the old guy next door, starts to get suspicious, it’s only a matter of time before their terrible secret is discovered.

Reviewed by Stubbington Book Ends

After a disturbing beginning, a surprisingly good read. Believable characters with whom we could sympathise”

star rating ****


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The Taste of Sorrow by Jude Morgan

About the book

Charlotte. Emily. Anne. The Brontë sisters – the drama, the passion, and a story that lives for ever…

Once upon a time there were three sisters, bound by love and suffering, growing up in wild isolation in a lonely house on the moor. Their story will astonish you: their passionate, dangerous closeness; their struggle against the world; their determination to rise above the fates of their parents and their other lost sisters, to become more than the world ever thought they could be. You don’t know their story, but you think they do. They were the Brontës.

Reviewed by Alton U3A

“The style was difficult but the content was absorbing and we all wanted to get to the end”

star rating ****

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We are all Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

About the book

Rosemary’s young, just at college, and she’s decided not to tell anyone a thing about her family. So we’re not going to tell you too much either: you’ll have to find out for yourselves, round about page 77, what it is that makes her unhappy family unlike any other.

Rosemary is now an only child, but she used to have a sister the same age as her, and an older brother. Both are now gone – vanished from her life. There’s something unique about Rosemary’s sister, Fern. And it was this decision, made by her parents, to give Rosemary a sister like no other, that began all of Rosemary’s trouble. So now she’s telling her story: full of hilarious asides and brilliantly spiky lines, it’s a looping narrative that begins towards the end, and then goes back to the beginning. Twice.


Reviewed by Newcomers

“Provided plenty of stimulating conversation – the subject matter cannot be ignored!”

star rating ****


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Sister by Rosamund Lupton

About the book

Nothing can break the bond between sisters …When Beatrice gets a frantic call in the middle of Sunday lunch to say that her younger sister, Tess, is missing, she boards the first flight home to London. But as she learns about the circumstances surrounding her sister’s disappearance, she is stunned to discover how little she actually knows of her sister’s life – and unprepared for the terrifying truths she must now face. The police, Beatrice’s fiance and even their mother accept they have lost Tess but Beatrice refuses to give up on her. So she embarks on a dangerous journey to discover the truth, no matter the cost.

Reviewed by Everton Reading Group:

An irresistible read with an engaging story – believable and gripping. Top marks given by all. So pleased that we came across this inadvertently due to not receiving the requested title!

Star rating: ****

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Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka

About the book

Sisters Vera and Nadezhda must put aside feuding to save their engineer father from gold-digger Valentina. With her proclivity for satin underwear and boil-in-the-bag cuisine, she will stop at nothing in her pursuit of wealth. But the sisters’ campaign to oust Valentina unearths secrets and sends them back to roots they’d much rather forget.

Reviewed by Yateley Library Reading Group:

All enjoyed this book. We felt it was a good contemporary subject and all sides were sympathised with. It made us laugh and we liked the interwoven hidden story of the characters earlier lives. Some thought it was farcical and not believable – this was the minority.

Star rating: ***

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