LGBT Picture Books – Books About Families with Lesbian, Gay, and Transgendered Family Members.

LGBT picture books Last year when I posted a similar LGBT picture books round up some of my readers made it very clear that they were not happy about my post. So before I even start let me say these books aren’t going to be for all of you. But this post and book list isn’t about you. It’s not about your politics or mine. This list is a resource for families. It’s a resource for the mom who is trying to explain to her child why their uncle is now an aunt, for the teacher who has a child with two dads and wants some good titles to add to her classroom library to reflect all her students, it is for that child who thinks something is wrong with them because none of their books show families like theirs. This list is for them.

I know some of you will disagree but I have to do what feels right to me and to my heart even if there are consequences. If this list turns 100 of you away I’ll be sad but OK with it if it helps one child, and I know it will.

uncle bobby's wedding

Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah S. Brannen is a sweet book about a little guinea pig Chloe and her issues with her uncle getting married. Now you might think that the issues are around the fact that he’s marrying another male guinea pig but that’s not it at all. The issues are about how close Chloe is to Uncle Bobby and how she doesn’t want that to change. This is a great book that normalizes same sex weddings and focuses instead on the things that matter most to the children- how they are going to be affected.

10000 dresses

10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert is a story about a little boy who doesn’t feel like a little boy and dreams of the most amazing dresses every night. He tries to tell his family about his dreams but they brush them off reminding Bailey he is a boy and boys shouldn’t dream of dresses. His family is NOT accepting at all and you must know that. For me I saw this as an opportunity to talk about adversity. What I love about this book is that while the narrator refers to Bailey as a she all of Bailey’s family refers to Bailey as a boy. Only Laurel an older girl who accepts Bailey as she views herself calls her a girl. While my 3 year old is too young to get the various levels of this book she understands that it’s OK for people to dress how they want and my 7 year old is old enough to understand that gender is not always black and white. The book itself is amazingly creative and a great book about acceptance even if you don’t dive head first into a discussion about transgender issues with your kids they will still like it.

 

Molly's Family

Molly’s Family by Nancy Garden had both my kids captivated when I read it to them at lunch yesterday. The story is about Molly who is in kindergarten and after she draws a picture at school of her two moms she is faced with a classmate telling her she can’t have two moms. There are many things I love about this book but most of all it is the adult reactions to this child saying it’s not possible that drew me in. Molly’s classmate that was sure two moms was simply impossible wasn’t told that he was wrong instead the teacher discussed how different every family was and how Molly’s was just as much a family has his or any other. I loved even more how Molly became shy about displaying her drawing because it gave me a chance to talk to my 6 year old about the power of words and not listening to others and how dismissing people can hurt . I also loved how the next day the little boy who was so sure that two moms wasn’t possible was totally cool with it. He just didn’t know it was a possibility and I think that is a good reminder for why books like this matter.

king and king

King and King by Linda de Haan is a fairytale and a funny one at that. The queen is old and cranky and wants her son to take over the kingdom but he must be married to do so. He tells her he’s not really into princesses but Mama doesn’t take the hint. After finding fault with every princess presented to him he falls in love at first sight with a prince and they live happily ever after. I like the whimsical illustrations and my kids thought the prince was funny. My son thought the book had a twist at the end with the princes falling in love, but just like the queen in the story there was no debate over why. I like that this book uses the familiar fairytale structure to make an important statement about the existence of same sex marriage and can be a great ice breaker to talk about it with your kids.

jacob's new dress

Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah Hoffman is about Jacob who likes to wear dresses.  Unlike Bailey in 10, 000 dresses Jacob is accepted by the majority of his peers and family. His parents encourage him to be himself cautiously and I liked that throughout the story his parents softened their stance as Jacob became more confident about how he felt and how he’d handle teasing. Jacob was teased but he was also accepted which makes this book a great discussion starter with any child whether they have a child in their school who may dress in gender non conforming ways, or a family member who is transgendered. Not all boys who wear dresses are going to identify as transgendered or gay and this book doesn’t say they will, instead it says to be yourself whoever that may be.

princess-boy

My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis has been talked about so much I think I had inflated expectations. Don’t get me wrong I think the message is so important and the book does a good job at introducing readers to her son who is different , to how he gets hurt when people laugh at him and how great his family is at accepting him. I like how simply blunt  the book is and it should be because the lesson should be about acceptance and allowing people, especially children to express their true self. I think I was expecting more of a story even though I knew it was non fiction. It opened a great dialog with my 5 year old son about how he would treat a male friend if they wanted to dress in a dress- good discussion at our house , worth the read for sure!

Everywhere Babies

Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers and Marla Frazee .This book celebrates all sorts of babies and all the every day things babies do. My daughter points out all the babies on each page as I read the rhyming text . So maybe you are thinking ” What’s so great about babies and text that rhymes?” nothing, that isn’t what makes this book so awesome. I love this book because of it’s diversity, inclusion, and acceptance of all babies and families. The illustrations are full of depictions of all sorts of families showering their smallest most precious member with love . What I adore about the diversity of the illustrations is that readers are left to put whatever assumption we wish on the families in the book. What I assumed were two mommies my husband thought was a husband and wife, I thought a lady was a grandma and my son said it was just a older mom. This is why I love this book, my daughter doesn’t see why this message is outstanding, what she does see is all sorts of happy babies in all sorts of families being the norm and this is the world we want her to know.

donovan's big day

Donovan’s Big Day by Leslea Newman is a book about Donovan’s day leading up to being the ring bearer at his moms’ wedding. The book does a fantastic job at showing that children in same sex families are just like children in any family. This day is a big day for Donovan but before he hands them the rings and kisses the brides he has a bunch of other things to do. I adore the illustrations by Mike Dutton and how he brings this little boy to life. Like so many of these books this book is not about politics it’s about a family celebrating a special day.

Heather Has Two Mommies

Heather Has Two Mommies by Lesléa Newman was widely banned when it was first released. It is probably the best known picture book about a family with same sex parents . When you read it the first thing you will probably think is that it doesn’t live up to the banning. I always imagine banned books to be truly out there and this book is about a family with a doctor , a carpenter and their daughter. Heather is starting a new school and she is nervous and exploring all the possibilities of what a family looks like just as her classmates are. She recognizes that her family is different but not less than. The illustrations are black and white and a little dated but the story is on the right track.

Mommy, Mama and Me

Mommy, Mama, and Me by Lesléa Newman is a book about everyday life of a family with two moms. What I love about this book is that it showcases parts of the day that young toddlers through preschoolers can relate to easily. They have bath time, they go to the park, they cook dinner, in other words they are a family like any with a small child. My son loved this book and related easily to the baby in the book and to the experiences that they share.The book makes no political statement, no explanation of two mommies and it shouldn’t, it’s a book targeted to toddlers about one loving family and nothing more. There is also a version with two dads called Daddy, Papa, and Me .

father's day tale of two daddies

 

A Tale of Two Daddies by Vanita Oelschlager is a book about a little girl with two daddies. She is playing with a friend who is asking her how it works to have two daddies. He asks her the type of questions any young child might and she answers them as they play together. I like this book  because it addresses the sorts of questions young kids have about same sex families and most of all it explains how similar all families really are no matter who is a part of it. I love that the illustrations are done from the perspective of the young children only showing the adults from about knee level and down. Cute, bright book and my daughter loves it.

2 mommies

A Tale of Two Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager got my kids out of their seats at the table and glued next to me because they wanted to be that close to the illustrations by Mike Blanc . They were so vibrant and the perspective was so great that both my kids ( 6 and 3 ) were immediately smitten. The story is great too, it’s really a collection of questions from two friends asking a third about how his family with two mommies work. Sometimes adults go straight for the deep big issues when really kids just want to know which mom is the one to coach little league and which one bakes cakes. The overall feeling readers are left with is that this little boy’s life isn’t all that different at all.

The Family Book

The Family Book by Todd Parr is a book that doesn’t give readers a narrow definition of family , it doesn’t say that your family has to look a certain way, or be the same as your neighbors. As a teacher I really appreciated the matter of fact way it embraced diversity. It makes mention of some families having two moms or two dads in the same vein as all the other similarities and differences. Kids see that families are not all like theirs and it’s important to validate the truth while recognizing that while families may not all look alike, all families are made with love. Great book , cute illustrations ,and children love it.

tango

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson is a much debated book. It’s the true story of two male penguins in central park zoo who didn’t have any interest in the girl penguins but definitely liked each other. When the zoo keepers noticed that they were in every way a matched pair they also noticed that they prepared for a baby just like the other penguins. Time after time they were sad until they were given an egg to care for. Just like all families love and care is what matters when creating a family and baby Tango and his two daddies have thrived . My son loved this book and asked me to please go see the penguins when I was in NYC. I didn’t have time to but I wish I had. Their story simplifies a very debated topic and I think it’s a great book not only to explain how all families are different but also how love and care are really what makes a family even for penguins.

Daddy’s_Roommate_cover

Daddy’s Roommate by Micheal Willhoite is a little different from the other books in this list in that the child in the book has a mommy, a daddy ,and daddy also has a roommate. The book was written in 1990 and even though we don’t often hear “roommate” as a euphemism for partner or boyfriend anymore but in 1990 is was probably more common. That aside the book does a good job of explaining what this little boys life is like. Bug catching, reading, scary dreams… it’s pretty average stuff but he has three adults to care for him. I also like that the boy’s parents are divorced which will be something many readers will connect with. The books explanation of what gay means is really simple and perfect for the books audience. I do think that the pictures are dated but I don’t think kids will pick up on that as much as adults will.

 

Are we missing a book you think should be added to the list? Leave a comment and let us know so we can check it out!

Books About Dads

father's day books There is no one right way to be a dad. There are countless ways that dads connect and relate to their kids and Father’s Day lets us celebrate all those special ways. This round up of 27 books includes a wide spectrum of books about dads so there is sure to be a book or two that is a great fits your family. Some of these books are new to us and some we reviewed years ago.  All book lists include affiliate links.

dad and pop

Dad and Pop: An Ode to Fathers and Stepfathers by Kelly Bennett is a simple but powerful book about a little girl with two dads. One is her biological father and the other is her step father. She compares and contrasts them but in the end the fact remains they both love her. This book doesn’t go into custody agreements, how old the little girls was when she met her now stepfather, or why her parents divorced because that’s not what this book is about. This book is about bonds between a child and the men who love her. If your child isn’t familiar with families that include step parents this is a good book to explain them.your daddy was just like you

 

Your Daddy Was Just Like You by Kelly Bennett is a sweet story about what a little boy’s daddy was like when he was a boy, as told by his grandmother. Maybe it’s just my kids but they always want to know ” What was daddy like at my age?” and pester my in laws for details. This book isn’t just a reflection of that phenomena it is also a wonderfully gentle way to let young kids know that all the things that make their dads awesome took time to develop. Bravery, athletic ability, academic excellence … all these things came in time and everyone even their dad got frustrated at times. Sweet book.father's day books3

Looking for Sleepy by Maribeth Boelts is a perfect bedtime book. I really think it’s brilliant. I was gifted it and it probably wouldn’t have jumped off the book shelf to me if I had been browsing at the book store but I am so glad it ended up in our hands. The book is about a little bear and his papa bear getting ready for bed. They go through their bedtime routine, starting by looking for sleepy hiding under toys, in the bath , in his pjs, in the bedtime stories etc… I love the dad in this book. I love how he’s patient and kind and the illustration on the page where they are reading in bed and his toddler’s hand is awkwardly on his head cracks me up. My favorite part though is that when the toddler asks Papa to stay a little longer while he falls asleep Papa does. I enjoy books that are reassuring and provide a sense of security for young children at bedtime and this does that with ease. Awesome book!

Snuggle Puppy

Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton. This author is a preschool parents dream, short and easy to read melodic books with illustrations to die for. The story is simply a little love song about all the ways the dog loves the puppy, simple and touching. As an educator something I love is that the dogs don’t have an obvious race , they don’t even have an obvious gender which is perfect. My son always thinks it’s a dad though. I think that is the perfect valentine! My son didn’t warm up to this book right away, but now not only does he love it he is very very specific that only I can read it to him . It’s become a big favorite in our house. {Originally reviewed in 2009 }

father'sdaybooks

Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle is a story about the more involved fish fathers in the sea. Mister seahorse isn’t the only fish that takes care of his eggs until they hatch , in the book we meet other dads that do too. I didn’t realize how many people don’t like this book until I read some reviews on amazon when ordering the book a few months ago. Many parents are off put by the father fish who announces he is “babysitting” his own baby fish. It never really bugged me even though when a parent says that in real life it irks me. All the positive daddy fish outweighs that one comment for me.

fathersdaybooksforkids

This Is the Van That Dad Cleaned by Lisa Campbell Ernst gave me a good chuckle, I only have one child and my car seems to multiply sippy cups, cheddar bunny crumbs and a mess on its own! This book is about a dad with a van, a clean van and 3 kids who ruin that very quickly. The siblings act like siblings teasing and fighting while making a growing mess in their poor dad’s clean van. The book is a poem that keeps growing and growing like the mess. In the end the kids are the ones that clean up the mess and I like that, in our house like the book even the baby helps clean up. {originally reviewed in 2009}father's day book daddies and their babies

Daddies and Their Babies (Black And White) by Guido Van Genechten is a simple black and white board book pairing animals dads with their offspring. The book teaches the proper name for the animal babies ( like piglet for a hedgehog and calf for a rhino) but the power in this book is much more subtle than that. The power is simply in having a book with daddies and babies without a mama around. So often daddies are just added in for a family book but there are tons of books all about mommies and babies. I like the simplicity of this book and the message that babies and daddies belong together.

father'sdaybooks1

Daddy and I… by Eloise Greenfield is a great little board book about the every day things that a toddler son may help his dad with.  From painting, to shopping to stopping for some hugs this book is great for toddlers to see all the things that make up being a dad and caring for your family. It also has a great lesson about children pitching in to help keep a family going too.

father's day poppa

Papa, Do You Love Me?by Barbara M. Joosse is a lovely look at a young boy trying to test his father’s unconditional love for him. The son throws scenario after scenario at his father and his father calmly replies to each one. There are a lot of books with this same premise but this one stands out. It’s set in Africa and the father and son are Maassi this element offers rich teaching opportunities as well as an opportunity for readers to connect with a culture separate from their own.

father's day books toddlers

Daddy Hugs (Classic Board Books) by Karen Katz is a cute little counting book for toddlers. I gave it to my husband two years ago for his first father’s day and my son hated it. However in the years since it’s become a favorite and nothing beats a board book for when toddlers get to that destructo stage. Also like Katz’s “Mommy Hugs” this book grows with your child. Now at 2.5 my son likes to find the number on the page and read it to us before we read him the text. { Reviewed in 2010}

father's day books ultimate list

The Ten Best Things About My Dad by Christine Loomis didn’t leave much of an impression with me until I hit #8, which says “When I am sad he hugs me close . He never says “Don’t cry”. ” That page won me over, and made this book stand out for me. I love that it’s promoting sensitivity in both the dad and little boy! I think anything that shows such care is worth a look.

father's day books 569

Dad’s Bald Head by Paul Many made all of us laugh when I read it during a family lunch last weekend. My husband shaves his head so , so much of this book was familiar to all of us.The story is about a dad who decides to shave his head and his son who isn’t so sure about this new development. It’s sweet, funny and realistic about how kids do and don’t transition to our changes. My favorite part was the passionate kiss the mom plants on her husband after he shaves his head. Not just because I thought it was sweet, it is nice to see parents having romantic though appropriate moments in children’s books. I want my son to see I love my husband and I show it in all different ways. { Reviewed in 2010}

piggy

Piggy and Dad Go Fishing by David Martin is a funny story about a father and son ( who are pigs) that don’t quite have it in their hearts to fish in the traditional way. First Piglet is unable to get the worm on the hook and can’t bring himself to put the hook through the worm so they use bread… eventually they ditch the poles all together and just throw bread at the water, followed by donuts. I love the silly side to this book but the serious message about parents following their kids lead at times. Really fishing and so many other activities aren’t about the activity as much as the time spent together.

father's day books fgrt

Daddy’s Song by Leslea Newman was a big hit with my son. The book is a lullaby that a father sings to his daughter before bed. It’s whimsical and at times down right funny. The illustrations by Karen Ritz keep up with the whimsy and make it all seem like a silly dream. Then the end of the book brings us all back to reality with the most important message, that even if all these silly things did happen and turned the little girls world topsy turvy, that her dad would be there and still love her. Big thumbs up from us for this sweet but not sappy book!

fathersdaybooksforchildren

 Molly and Her Dad by Jan Ormerod was a great find. Molly doesn’t see her dad often because he lives a plane ride away and when he comes to take care of her things aren’t perfect at first. There are so many little things about this book I like. I like that there are details like baby photos of Molly and both her parents together. I like that Molly tells her dad how he is doing things wrong and doesn’t warm up to him immediately and I like how he doesn’t get mad. I think this is a pretty realistic portrayal of children’s emotions when spending time with a parent they don’t see often but still have a great relationship with.

my daddy is a giant

My Daddy Is a Giant by Carl Norac is an ode to a larger than life daddy. My kids took this book at face value, that the dad was a giant and liked how the earth trembled when he ran and the clouds rested on his shoulders. I took it as one little boys perspective of who and how how big his dad is. Dads are invincible in a child’s eye and this book captures that.

because I am your daddy

Because I Am Your Daddy by Sherry North is a cute rhyming book about all the things a dad would do for his daughter if he had various jobs. The rhyming text works well but the illustrations by Marcellus Hall steal the show. They are fun and detailed enough for kids to loose themselves in them. I like the idea of a parent imagining with their child, it’s such an important skill and is often pushed aside as not worth doing. Lovely book.

father's day tale of two daddies

A Tale of Two Daddies by Vanita Oelschlager is a book about a little girl with two daddies. She is playing with a friend who is asking her how it works to have two daddies. He asks her the type of questions any young child might and she answers them as they play together. I like this book and it’s companion A Tale of two mommies because it addresses the sorts of questions young kids have about same sex families and most of all it explains how similar all families really are no matter who is a part of it. I love that the illustrations are done from the perspective of the young children only showing the adults from about knee level and down. Cute, bright book and my daughter loves it.

father's day books dhdkfufk

My Daddy by Susan Paradis . This book is a look at daddy from a little boy’s worshiping point of view. We see all the things his dad can do, and how the little boy wants to do these things too. In many of the illustrations we see the daddy doing something like mowing the lawn and the son is watching with a toy mower. This book was just ok for me, there was nothing wrong with it , it just didn’t move me the way some of the others have.

father's day books daddy book

The Daddy Book by Todd Parr is a great book about all the different kinds of daddies there are. Children always love to yell out when the daddy in the book does something their dad does and it’s sweet to see young children make those connections. My 3 year old was so excited to see a bald dad on one page followed by a dad who likes to have tea parties because she saw her dad in both these pages. Colorful as always and just the right length for 2-4 year olds even though older kids will enjoy it as well.

dad ttt

My Dad Is the Best Playground by Luciana Navarro Powell  is a sweet board book that my children can relate to very very well. The book is about a dad rough housing with his young children in a playful way. The story isn’t complicated, it’s simply all the different ways that the children and father play from bucking bronco to trampoline to daddy carrying the sleeping children off to bed. Get ready for some rough housing after you read this!

tango

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson is a much debated book. It’s the true story of two male penguins in central park zoo who didn’t have any interest in the girl penguins but definitely liked each other. When the zoo keepers noticed that they were in every way a matched pair they also noticed that they prepared for a baby just like the other penguins. Time after time they were sad until they were given an egg to care for. Just like all families love and care is what matters when creating a family and baby Tango and his two daddies have thrived . My son loved this book and asked me to please go see the penguins when I was in NYC. I didn’t have time to but I wish I had. Their story simplifies a very debated topic and I think it’s a great book not only to explain how all families are different but also how love and care are really what makes a family even for penguins.

father's day

Father’s Day by Anne Rockwell . I really liked this book, it is about a class full of students writing stories about their dads at school and ending with a party where they present the books to their fathers. What I enjoyed was the diversity of this book , it covered all different kinds of dads and children and all the things they most enjoy doing together. My son was rather attached to the dad and son playing soccer , and I had a mean craving for chocolate after reading the page with a dad and daughter making fudge! A wonderful activity after reading this book would be to write your own story!father'sdaybooks2

Daddy Hug by Tim Warnes got a great yes vote from my 11 month old who enthusiastically signed ” more” after I turned the last page. Using a bunch of animals to illustrate all the things daddies are like strong, scruffy, hungry, tender… the author with the help of  illustrator Jane Chapman create a nice read aloud that walks the line between silly and touching very very well. I like this book and like how no matter what your daddy may be you will find him in this book.

father's day books pig and piglet

Piglet and Papa by Margaret Wild. I was so happy to discover that this author wrote a daddy book to compliment “Piglet and Mama” which I reviewed and loved for Mother’s Day. Papa pig and piglet are playing and piglet thinks she may have made her daddy very angry and worries about his love for her. The other farm animals help by reassuring piglet and finally she finds Papa pig and the other animals were right he does love her more than anyone in the whole world.

father'sdaybooks7

Dad, Jackie, and Me by Myron Ulburg is a touching look at father’s and son’s and the complex relationship that develops at the same time as tackling bigger themes like discrimination and baseball.  A father and son share a love of baseball and specifically of Jackie Robinson. This book handles these multiple themes very well and will likely create a few lumps in your throat as you read the sometimes achingly honest text. I really liked this book and how it linked different kinds of discrimination, adversity and the way the human spirit can triumph over both.

a father like that

A Father Like That by Charlotte Zolotow touched my heart. I have always been lucky to have a dad who was involved and present in my life, but this book is about the opposite. A little boy is telling his mom about what he wants in a dad, because he doesn’t have one. The book covers so many things dads do or don’t do, and while the dream dad isn’t perfect he is fair, loving and kind. I was tearing up as the book neared the end because I was wondering how the mom who was hearing all of this was going to react. Throughout the list of things the dad would do there were things for his mom too, mostly her being able to take a break and rest. Which made me feel sad that a little boy would have to worry about his mom, but I am sure that is all too common. The end pushed me over the edge, and my son who was drifting off to sleep while I was reading popped up and wiped my tears which made me cry harder because he was taking care of me. It ends with his mama saying that even though he may never have a father like that , that one day he can be a father like that. Great book for all families.

15 Books About Baseball

baseball books for kidsBaseball season is in full swing and we are way overdue for a round up of books to share with our little players and fans. I was just complaining to a friend about how baseball has taken over our house but after reading many of these books with my kids I have fallen back in love. Baseball is more than a game and these books get that. Here are 15 books about baseball to read with your kids.

All our book lists include affiliate links.

mama played baseball

Mama Played Baseball by David A. Adler  This baseball story is told through the eyes of a little girl who watches everything change during World War Two. Her dad goes off to war and her mom tries out for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, and makes the cut! The story is simple and I was left wanting more but understood why the author ended it when he did. It’s a great book to explain the basics of what baseball was like on the homefront during World War Two.

babe

The Babe & I by David A. Adler is not really a story about baseball, it’s a story about The Great Depression and pride. A young boy discovers that the job he thought his father had is not what it seems and starts selling newspapers to help out. Not only does he learn about secrets and pride , he also learns about hard work. Babe Ruth does play a part but only a little one. I love this book but it’s not for your average picture book crowd. I think it’s a little heavy for 3-5 year olds , I didn’t share it yet with my 7 year old but I think his age would get the full story and maybe learn a little about their own life in the process.

players in pig tails

Players In Pigtails  by Shana Corey . This book is all about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. If you are reading this with your child you will probably start thinking about the Penny Marshall movie A League Of Their Own which is all about the same league. It’s doubtful our kids will make the same connection and most may not even know anything about the special role women played in baseball during WWII.  This book can change that and maybe how they look at the nice old ladies at church… my son asked me ” Do you think they played baseball?” while nodding towards two of the older ladies at our church after reading this. I loved the main character and how determined and sure of herself she was, not a bad role model for our girls and boys.

roasted peanuts

Roasted Peanuts by Tim Egan is a sweet story about friendship, disappointment, and achievement. I really enjoyed this book and the sweet supportive friendship between friends with very different abilities. As kids get into elementary school they really start noticing that different people have different talents and abilities start spreading out. This is a great book to read when those questions like ” How can he hit so much further than me?” start popping up.

baseballbooks1

Ballpark Mysteries #1: The Fenway Foul-up (A Stepping Stone Book(TM)) by David A. Kelly is just one of the many Ballpark Mysteries books we have read over the past year. The books center around Mike and Kate two cousins who get an insider view of the world of baseball because Kate’s mom is a sports writer covering the games. The kids are great sleuths and although things can get tense I don’t think that these early chapter books will scare any readers. I love the mix of sports and geography as each book is set in a different ball park. My son devours these books. In this one a special bat goes missing … but can the kids find it? Spoiler… Yes!

clorinda

Clorinda Plays Baseball! by Robert Kinerk was loved by my son and not by me. I love absurd humor but for me this rhyming book just didn’t work. Clorinda the cow was playing on a farm team and then discovered a boy who was super talented and coached him to the major leagues. When he was unable to play without his coach she was brought to the games … I just lost interest and when she flew a helicopter  and was a pinch hitter in the championship game I rolled my eyes. However, my son loved this book and probably not just because I didn’t. He wasn’t looking at it through my old cranky eyes where cows can’t fly helicopters, he saw it as funny ,heartwarming, and nice.  I’ll let you decide!

batter up wombat

Batter Up Wombat by Helen Lester is a cute story about a Wombat who is discovering baseball for the first time. All the lingo is foreign to him. The different meanings get the wombat confused and will get your children laughing! It’s a sweet book that ends with the wombat saving the day even if he can’t play baseball .

baseball saved us

Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki is such an important book for children to read. This book is all about how baseball helped keep children and families busy at Minidoka the internment camp in Idaho during world War Two. A lot of adults don’t know much if anything about this part of American history and this book is a good place to start teaching your child about it. From a child’s perspective readers see the injustice and grief during and after confinement. Although my son knows a good bit about Japanese internment during WWII this book personalized it for him and baseball gave him something to connect him to the boys in the story.

baseball hour

Baseball Hour by Carol Nevius is a simple book that explains what goes on at baseball practice. Seems kinda bland… but it’s not. The rhyming text coupled with stunning ultra up close illustrations by Bill Thomson build momentum and by the last few pages it will feel like you are on the edge of your seat screaming for your home team! Very cool book. You will read it then go back and just flip through all the illustrations again and again, they are just that amazing.

dear ichiro

Dear Ichiro by Jean Davies Okimoto is a story about reconciliation and how one grand parents experience turning an enemy into a friend can help his great grandson learn how to make up with a best friend after a fight.  I like this book because my son is an Ichiro fan even if he’s no longer a Mariner. I like ti because it connects generations, history, and good old advice about how to resolve conflicts. Some parents may not like how mean the little boy seems when angry but I think it’s important to show anger for what it is because kids relate to that!

mighty casey

Mighty Casey by James Preller is a cute and funny story about an awful little league team who rallies and finally wins one game. Every parent who have ever watched a little league game will recognize a few familiar behaviors in this book . The kid who decided to pee during the game, on the field, will get a ton of laughs from your little readers. The heart of this book is that even if the odds are stacked against you , don’t give up until the game is done!

oliver's game

Oliver’s Game (Tavares baseball books)by Matt Tavares is a great book. I will say that while this is a picture book it’s not really for preschoolers, a few might get the messages of disappointment, sadness ,and sacrifice. The story is about a grandfather who shares his big league experience with his grandson. What’s so sad about that? Well in the story the grandfather’s dreams were cut short by World War Two. My 7 year old and I had fantastic discussions after reading this book together and it was easy for him to relate this story to other stories of sacrifice and making the most of what you are given. Love this book!

let them play

Let Them Play (True Story) by Margot Theis Raven and Chris Ellison is an amazing book, it tells the true story of the 1955 State Champion Little League team from South Carolina. The story is heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once as the authors tell the readers about the realities and injustice that this team of little boys faced. They were the first all black all star team who were disqualified from playing in the little league world series because they hadn’t played a single game to become state champs, because all the other teams forfeited. I dare you not to cry, I was a sobbing mess by the end. The book itself is too complex for really little guys, my son had no interest in the text, though he loved the pictures. All kids old enough though should take a look, and be prepared to answer some tough questions about why people were so mean. Wonderful wonderful, important book!

dad-jackie-and-me

Dad, Jackie, and Me by Myron Ulburg is a touching look at father’s and son’s and the complex relationship that develops at the same time as tackling bigger themes like discrimination and baseball.  A father and son share a love of baseball and specifically of Jackie Robinson. This book handles these multiple themes very well and will likely create a few lumps in your throat as you read the sometimes achingly honest text. I really liked this book and how it linked different kinds of discrimination, adversity and the way the human spirit can triumph over both.

dino-baseball

Dino-Baseball (Carolrhoda Picture Books)by Lisa Wheeler is a fun rhyming book about two dinosaur filled baseball teams playing an action packed game. What I really like about this book is that it goes over many of the things that a child will encounter at a real MLB game. Grab this book if your child is a little nervous about going to such a big game.

 

Read & Go : 25 Family Outings with Books To Match

books for field trips

Over the summer we go on a lot of family field trips. We hit up museums, zoo’s aquariums, go swimming, the science center… you get the idea. Whenever we go somewhere I like to pair it with a great book before and after we go. We can talk about expectations and get excited before and compare our experience with that of the characters in the book after. Here are some of my favorite books that match with popular family outings for the summer.

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Read & Go Library

This is my very favorite outing and I highly recommend reading Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn before you go. The book is delightful and perfect for preschoolers eager to go check out their own books. Read & Go ZooThe Great Escape from City Zoo  by Tohby Riddle is a cute book to read to your kids before heading to the zoo.It’s perfect for school age kids home for the summer, the humor might be lost on younger ones. For little guys try Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann , it’s the perfect book to read after a day at the zoo.

Read & Go Ice cream

I love any excuse to learn more about any subject and Ice Cream: The Full Scoop by Gail Gibbons teaches more than you ever knew you could know about ice cream!

Read & Go Fire Station

In I Want to Be a Fire Fighter (Sesame Street) by Linda Lee Maifair Grover visits his uncle’s fire station and he learns all about what life is like for firefighters. Don’t discount this book because it uses a familiar character. Sometimes these TV or movie characters books knock it out of the park!Read & Go To The Pool

Kids love the pool, except when they don’t. Ease worries and pump your kids up for pool time with Splish, Splash, Splat! (Splat the Cat) by Rob Scotten.

Read & Go Fly a kiteThis is such a simple family outing although if you have ever tried to remember how to fly a kite with a three year old trying to help you at the same time you might want to prep them with Kite Flying .

Read & Go Ballet

When I was a little girl we went to the ballet a lot. Brontorina by James Howe is such a great book to add on to a trip to see all the “perfect” ballerinas. I love the lesson this book shares so much it makes me tear up every single time I read it, and we read it a lot. Read & Go Amusement Park

I know many of you will be visiting amusement parks this summer and maybe a few of your children will go for their first roller coaster ride too! Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee will delight whether they are the daredevils or keen observers.
Read & Go Road Trip

I love this book because it isn’t about a family that gets into the car and sings songs happily until they arrive, it’s a road trip, with kids. Little Critters the Trip has frustrated parents, bored kids, and even some trouble with directions. I like using it to talk about how we will try to avoid all of this every time we take a road trip.
Read & Go Symphony

This is one of my favorite books about instruments because it takes time to introduce them one by one. Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss is so much more than that though, it’s a lovely rhyming book that your kids will love. Read & Go Camping

S’mores are just one of the things about camping that  S Is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet (Alphabet Books) covers and as an added bonus it’s an Alphabet book too!
Read & Go Plane Ride

Some books are useful and some should be required reading. Preschoolers excited or hesitant about an upcoming flight will love Going on a Plane (First Experiences).
Read & Go Japanese Garden

One of my favorite places to go as a little girl was the Japanese Garden The Falling Flowers by Jennifer B. Reed is a great companion for a trip to see cherry blossoms  whether you are in Toykyo, Vancouver BC or somewhere else. Read & Go Dinosaur Museum

Whether you read How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum before or after seeing some dinosaur bones in person it’s a great book to dive deeper into the subject!
Read & Go Science CenterThe Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Science and Nature is my pick to be paired with a trip to the science center. Science centers cover so many aspects of science and so does this book. Read & Go Beach

Kids worry so much more than many adults realize and even though they learn very early on to try to handle those worries themselves having a book with an over the top character speak about the worries is totally refreshing. Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach by Melanie Watt does a bang up job and entertaining and soothing worries through the giggles. Read & Go Farmer's Market

I love the farmer’s market for the produce, my kids love it for the ice cream. Read  Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert before you go and brush up on some of the less frequently eaten veggies then see if you can find them at the market, Read & Go U-Pick BlueberriesBlueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey is the perfect pick for blueberry picking. You may want to reassure your kids that there will be no bears at the blueberry farm and decide before you go if you will be sampling the berries as you pick.

Read & Go Art Museum

I bought Meet Me at the Art Museum: A Whimsical Look Behind the Scenes by Davis Goldin at our local museum and my kids love reading it feeling like they are getting a behind the scenes tour with every page.Read & Go BaseballLet Them Play by Margot Theis Raven will make you think twice about baseball just being a game. It’s more than that and never more apparent as when kids are kept from doing what they do best- play!

Read & Go PlanetariumOur Stars by Anne Rockwell is a simple non fiction book that would be a great match for a trip to the planetarium or observatory.

Read & Go Aquarium

Around here we have lots of little and big aquariums and I chose Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae as the book for a trip to the aquarium because it covers so many different creatures in its rhyming text! Read & Go 4th of July

I adore 4th of July which tickles my kids since I am Canadian. Still my adopted home has charmed me especially our small town parade where more of the town is IN the parade than watching it.  Hats off for the Fourth of July   will help you prepare your kids for the festivities. Read and Go Farm

Do you have a farm close by to visit? I hope you do because seeing a real farm first hand is a great experience for young kids. Sally Goes to the Farm is a fun look at farm life. Of course you could also go with  Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown but it won’t make you laugh like Sally will! Read and Go Apple Orchard

I have never taken my kids to an apple orchard but I have taken my fair share of field trips with other people’s children to them. Apple Farmer Annie by  Monica Wellington  is a great choice whether you are reading it with your own or other people’s kids!

Picture Books About Mothers

mother's day books

Mother’s Day always sneaks up on me. I usually have just enough time to tease my kids about telling their dad to go to Tiffany to buy me diamonds. Really all I want are a few homemade cards and no one banging on the door while I have a bath, although I would never say no to diamonds. The other thing I want to do with my kids is to read about other moms and kids and talk about how special a relationship this is. I can’t put into words how I feel about being a mom other than it just feels like I am finally doing what I was meant to do even on the days when I question my sanity. These books give me pause to think about all different aspects of motherhood while connecting with my own kids. I hope you discover a book about moms from our list that will find its way into your heart and onto your shelf for years to come.

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mama in out

Mama Outside, Mama Inside by Dianna Hutts Aston was a delightful read. This is a story about a mama bird and a human mama as they prepare and care for their new babies. Each page shows how the birdy mama does something then how the human mom does. My son loved it and when I flipped the page that talked about feeding babies, my son saw our favorite part before I did. The human mama was nursing and my little man said ” Look mama, baby has boo boo! ( his word for nursing) like me!” I melted and was so happy to see a mom nursing and it being treated as simply the way babies eat. As a nursing mom I appreciated that. Great book for toddlers. { originally reviewed in 2009 }

A mama for owen

A Mama for Owen by Marion Dane Bauer makes me cry every time I read it. It’s a true story about a baby hippo who lost his mama in the Tsunami that so many other babies both creature  and human did . The story is one about friendship , about adoption and about love. See Owen the little Hippo finds Mzee a big old giant tortoise and even though they are different species, and Mzee is a boy, Owen treats him like his mama.

my mom

My Momby Anthony Browne made me giggle. It’s a cute book narrated by a child who is listing off all the wonderful things about his or her mom. With every turn of the page a new fantastic skill or talent is revealed. Of all the revelations my favorite was that she is “The strongest woman in the world” which was paired with a great illustration of her carrying bags and bags of groceries. The narrator tells us that his/her mom could do anything but instead she is his mom. Which no matter what we moms do is exactly how our kids will and should see us.

her_mothers_face

Her Mother’s Face by Roddy Doyle is not really a book for very young children, but I loved it. I would read it with a child who is 6 or older , the text is long, the humor is subtle but the message is fantastic.  Set in Ireland , a little girl is silently suffering from her mom’s passing. She doesn’t tell anyone she is sad, she doesn’t tell anyone she can’t remember her mother’s face or that she can’t talk to her dad about her loss. A chance meeting with a young woman in a park changes things for her in the simplest of ways. As the years pass her pain lessens and eventually she is able to talk to her dad who clearly misses her mother desperately too.  I like that this book wasn’t about the moment her mom passed away, but rather years later, about how she was trying to hold on to the memories and deal with her grief.

is your

Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino is a classroom favorite, I don’t know many preschool teachers who can’t recite this book by heart . Readers follow Lloyd the llama as he riddles his way through a bunch of animals until he find the one he calls mom. I like the mix of animals in this book, a little different than your average zoo or farm collection.

mama do you love me

Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse is a well loved book. I have read it many times but never reviewed it. There are a lot of books about children testing their mom’s unconditional love but this one stands out for me. In it the little girl seems to go out of her way to aggravate her mom and really test her love. The mother is fantastic because she isn’t gushy or sickeningly sweet, she says she would get angry , worried, sad depending on what her daughter tests her with. However after each honest answer she follows it up with how she will always love her. Kids need to know even if they make us sad or angry it doesn’t change the depth of our love for them.

did I tell you

Did I Tell You I Love You Today? by Deloris Jordan is a very practical yet heartwarming look at all the ways parents show love to their children everyday, from feeding them healthy food to praying after they go to bed. My son loved all the big boy things in the book like, the school bus, basketball and the playground. I teared up reading the book, but I cry at American Idol so that may not be indicative of anything!

where is baby's mommy

Where is Baby’s Mommy? by Karen Katz is the perfect book for your tiniest book lover. It is bright, cheery and will grow with your child from the first few months through their toddler years. The story is simple, a baby and mom are playing hide and seek, you play along with them by lifting the flaps to reveal where mommy is. My daughter has loved these books for years and even though we read much more complicated books now that she is almost four we go back to these old favorites a lot.

 

mamas saris

Mama’s Saris by Pooja Makhijani is a simple yet rich story about a little girl and her desire to dress in her mama’s clothes. I think I would be hard pressed to find a woman who doesn’t remember watching in awe as her mom got dressed for a special event and wanting to dress just like mama. The narrator is Hindu and her mama wears a sari for special occasions and she is stubbornly trying to get her mom to let her wear one for her 7th birthday. The illustrations are beautiful, especially the jewel tones of the various saris. This book would be a great one to read before playing dress up or other pretend play. The story is touching and although it’s too long for toddlers, it’s a great book for preschoolers.

Everywhere Babies

Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers and Marla Frazee .This  book celebrates all sorts of babies and all the every day things babies do.  My daughter points out all the babies on each page as I read the rhyming text . So maybe you are thinking ” What’s so great about babies and text that rhymes?” nothing, that isn’t what makes this book so awesome. I love this book because of it’s diversity, inclusion, and acceptance of all babies and families.  The illustrations are full of depictions of all sorts of families showering their smallest most precious member with love . What I adore about the diversity of the illustrations is that readers are left to put whatever assumption we wish on the families in the book. What I assumed were two mommies my husband thought was a husband and wife, I thought a lady was a grandma and my son said it was just a older mom. This is why I love this book, my daughter doesn’t see why this message is outstanding, what she does see is all sorts of happy babies in all sorts of  families being the norm and this is the world we want her to know.

someday

Someday by Alison McGhee was suggested by a reader and I can see why. It’s a sweet story probably a little more for grown daughters and mother’s than children but they will like it too. The book opens with a mom and a baby, the baby grows into a child and then continues on with the mother’s hopes for what her daughter will experience someday. Some are good, some are sad but all are things that we all must face as we grow older. This would be a great gift for your mom.

love you forever

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch is perhaps the classic tear jerking picture book. I read this for years and years to children and had no problem getting choked up, it never bothered me, then I gave birth and I can’t read it without sobbing. The premise is simple, a mom sings this simple song to her son as he grows ” I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as you’re living , my baby you’ll be.” until she can’t sing it anymore and it’s his turn. For days after I read this I tear up as I lay my son in bed. * Edited to add that many readers have commented that they do not like this book at all! What do you think? Leave a comment and tell us!

Mommy, Mama and Me

Mommy, Mama, and Me by Lesléa Newman is a book about everyday life of a family with two moms.  What I love about this book is that it showcases parts of the day that young toddlers through preschoolers can relate to easily. They have bath time, they go to the park, they cook dinner, in other words they are a family like any with a small child.  My son loved this book and related easily to the baby in the book and to the experiences that they share.The book makes no political statement, no explanation of two mommies and it shouldn’t, it’s a book targeted to toddlers about one loving family and nothing more. There is also a version with two dads called Daddy, Papa, and Me .

2 mommies

A Tale of Two Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager got my kids out of their seats at the table and glued next to me because they wanted to be that close to the illustrations by Mike Blanc . They were so vibrant and the perspective was so great that both my kids ( 6 and 3 ) were immediately smitten. The story is great too, it’s really a collection of questions from two friends asking a third about how  his family with two mommies work. Sometimes adults go straight for the deep big issues when really kids just want to know which mom is the one to coach little league and which one bakes cakes. The overall feeling readers are left with is that this little boy’s life isn’t all that different at all. There is also  A Tale of Two Daddies which is very similar with dads and a daughter.

kishand2

The Kissing Hand by Audry Penn is an absolute favorite . Chester is a raccoon who like most of us doesn’t like change. In his case it’s starting school. He wants to stay home with his mama and play with the friends he already has instead of going to school away from her and his friends. So his mama explains to him the magic of the kissing hand . The real magic is the message that we have to do things that scare us sometimes but that the love of our family is always with us to help us through. Go get this book. See how perfect is this, mostly for me this week, I hate leaving my son, letting go is good for me but man I miss his snuggles when I am away! {This was originally reviewed in 2009 – My son liked this book but my daughter fell in love with it. At 3 when she went off to preschool she read this book every day for weeks. Books this good become a part of your family and this one is well worth that spot! }

Back into mommy's tummy

Back into Mommy’s Tummy by Thierry Robberecht made both my son and I laugh hysterically, mostly because it was incredibly relevant to us. When we first read this book I was very pregnant with my now 3 year old daughter.  In the book a little girl asks to go back into her mommy’s belly for her 5th birthday.  She wants to stay close to her mom, never have to go to school, stay up as late as mom does and even tells her mom if she wants to see her she can go get an ultrasound and she’ll wave hello. The absurdity is awesome, and the sentiment is bang on. Late in the book we discover that mom is expecting and she asks if her daughter is worried about her loving the new baby more. I love how the author and illustrator Phillippe Goossens use humor to get to the heart of it all. My son was incredibly attached to me at the time of reviewing this book and it really opened up a great dialogue about having to share my snuggles, and love.

Hair For Mama

Hair for Mama by Kelly A. Tinkham is beautiful. The story is about a little boy who is desperate to find some hair for his mama who has lost hers to chemotherapy. Marcus wants mama to be in the family photo but she doesn’t want to be the way she looks. His mission comes to a climax when he shaves off all his own hair hoping to give it to his mama. When the barber sweeps it up with the other hair on the floor Marcus is heart broken and goes home in tears. I was sobbing reading this, I knew it was a story about a mom having cancer but the way the author wrote it , it was magical. The complex emotions this little boy felt for his mom and she for him, jumped off the page and you can’t help but cry. I wasn’t sad ,I was touched by the love and desire to fix his mom and make everything better, and his parents tenderness to his feelings. I can’t recommend this book more highly. I should note that this is not a book for toddlers, I would probably wait until a child is 4-5 before reading them this gem.

piglet and mama

Piglet and Mama by Margaret Wild is a mother’s day book I would suggest for the under 3 crowd. My son loved it.when he was 2. Piglet is searching for his mom and even though all the other animal mommies offer for him to join them and their babies he wants his mom! The illustrations by Stephen Michael King capture the warmth between a mama and her baby beautifully . My son had the “Mama” scream perfected and quite enjoyed seeing the little piglet do the same thing for her mama when we read this book. Even if separation anxiety isn’t something you are dealing with at your house this is a sweet book.

chair for my mother

A Chair for My Mother 25th Anniversary Edition (Reading Rainbow Books) by Vera B. Williams is another classic mom book and it deserves to be called that. A sweet story that includes 3 generations of women who are all working hard to save money to replace furniture lost in a fire. The comfy chair they are planning to buy really represents the comfort and safety they are trying to rebuild in their new home after such tragedy. I love the sense of collective good in this family, in our “Me me me !” world I like seeing books like this.

 

mama always comes home

Mama Always Comes Home by Karma Wilson was a last minute grab at the library that I am so thankful I saw. It starts off with animal mother’s leaving their babies, for all different reasons . A bird gathering food, a dog greeting his master and more. The animal mothers leave, but they also always return to their babies. Then it switches to a child and mother. She reassures the child that she will be back and we watch her leave, and return . I loved this book because my son isn’t the best when I leave him, he related to this book immediately and was repeating ” Mama always comes home!” half way through. { I originally reviewed this in 2009 and have since read it many times to my daughter who also needed those gentle reminders that I would always return. }