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Books that depict nontraditional families

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
My almost 9 yr old daughter has shown a lot of interest in adult same sex relationships lately (by a lot I mean mentioned it 2-3 times and married a girl while playing the game LIFE the other day). One of her mentions what that there are never any same sex couples in any of the books that she reads (she is reading at a 4-5th grade level, Harry Potter, Rick Riordan, Penderwick stuff). She is right and I would like to remedy this. We have board books that depict nontraditional families and she has a few books that talk about single parenting (usually result of hetero divorce); I can find stuff for teenagers exploring sexuality, but am struggling to find an appropriate reading for middle readers. I would love if the book wasn't necessarily about being a kid of a same sex couple, but rather had a plot and same-sex relationship just being apart of the picture. Any suggestions would be so appreciated.
post #2 of 14
Subbing, because I am interested in this as well.
post #3 of 14

Michelle Mulder's Out of the Box is a lovely book-- a family drama and a bit of a mystery. The main character goes to stay with her aunt and the aunt's same-sex partner has recently died. Their relationship isn't a majpr part of the book, which is more about the main character and her relationship with her parents, but the same-sex partnership is portrayed very positively and integrated nicely into the book. Here's a review:

http://www.umanitoba.ca/cm/vol17/no23/outofthebox.html

 

 

post #4 of 14

My curiosity was peaked:

This is what I came up with in the time I had: Lesbian and Gay Voices: An Annotated and Guide to Literature for Young Children and Adults

 

I wonder if your local library might have a copy. I like that the book has guidelines for evaluating the books in addition to a description of some. The problem is that it was published in 2000. I'd like to have books that not only talk about same sex relationships but also some books that portray characters in a same sex relationship where that's not the main point of the book.
 

post #5 of 14

The first that comes to mind are the Weetzie Bat books by Francesca Lia Block. You can buy the whole series by buying the book Dangerous Angels. http://www.amazon.com/Dangerous-Angels-The-Weetzie-Books/dp/0064406970/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

 

The next I thought about was Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden http://www.amazon.com/Annie-My-Mind-Nancy-Garden/dp/0374400113/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1334690104&sr=1-1

 

Both of the links that I gave you have options to let you read part of the book before you buy. I highly suggest it as there are themes in each book that you may not be comfortable with. (Among other things, both include teens in same sex relationships.)  The reviews for each book give a lot of information about the content within as well. Plus, I'm not sure if the writing is above your DD's level of reading. I think if she's reading Harry Potter, then she could probably work these out as well, but I leave that for you to decide.

post #6 of 14

The rainbow list is put together by the american library association, maybe that would help http://glbtrt.ala.org/rainbowbooks/rainbow-books-lists

post #7 of 14

The Rainbow List is a great resource (shameless brag: my teen novel Inferno is on the 2010 Rainbow list!) but there is a real dearth of good options for kids the age of the OPs daughter. There are some cute picture books (my son loved Todd Parr's family book) and lots of awesome teen  novels for ages 12+... but very little in the middle-grade range.

 

Which is a real shame. I am still racking my brain to come up with some but there is just not much out there. We're a two-mom family and my son adores Harry Potter, Percy Jackson etc...  I would love to find him some books that include some represention of families like ours.

post #8 of 14

 

I think a couple of the Alice books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor address gay relationships, but I seem to recall that even though she was accepting and supportive, there was still something problematic about how she wrote about it. I can't remember exactly what bothered me. I've only read about 1/3 of the list, so it's possible I haven't read the books, and I may be confusing my concerns with some other series. Anyway, I can't make a whole-hearted recommendation and I'd suggest pre-reading or reading along with your dd if you find them. And I'm sorry, the list of Alice books is very long (20 or 30?) and I can't recall exactly which titles. Also, the series takes Alice from about age 7 through high school, each book dealing with "After-School Special Issues", so the later Alice books may not be appropriate for a 9 y.o. My recollection is that these books are set in Alice's middle school years.  

 

Another Alice series, starting with Alice, I Think by Susan Juby, has a gay character - he's a friend of the family and kind of adopted uncle.

 

There is a gay couple in The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch. 

 

In The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, the teen boy protagonist is raised by a gay couple and that is just presented in the background. It's not an "issue" to be dealt with in the plot. It's the first book in a dystopian trilogy meant for young adults and it's pretty dark, with some incredibly sad scenes. The second and third books are violent and disturbing. I don't think that it is what you are looking for now, but maybe in a few years...

 

 

Okay - I just re-read what I've written and it's not too helpful to you - sorry.  I can think of some more good books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Will Grayson, Will Grayson, but they are all YA. I agree with you about the lack of depictions of non-traditional families for middle school readers. 

 

 

post #9 of 14

I mentioned this one on the thread for books with girl protagonists, too.

 

The "Circle" books by Tamora Pierce.  There's two series and two stand-alone books now, "Circle of Magic" (4 books), "The Circle Opens" (4 books), "The Will of the Empress" and "Melting Stones."  There are two more books set to published, too.  The main characters in the series are four kids who aren't related, but come to think of each other as siblings.  They are also being raised by two women who are in a relationship (it's only implied at first, but by "The Will of the Empress", it's stated outright).

post #10 of 14

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barefoot Farmer View Post

My almost 9 yr old daughter has shown a lot of interest in adult same sex relationships lately (by a lot I mean mentioned it 2-3 times and married a girl while playing the game LIFE the other day). One of her mentions what that there are never any same sex couples in any of the books that she reads (she is reading at a 4-5th grade level, Harry Potter, Rick Riordan, Penderwick stuff). She is right and I would like to remedy this. We have board books that depict nontraditional families and she has a few books that talk about single parenting (usually result of hetero divorce); I can find stuff for teenagers exploring sexuality, but am struggling to find an appropriate reading for middle readers. I would love if the book wasn't necessarily about being a kid of a same sex couple, but rather had a plot and same-sex relationship just being apart of the picture. Any suggestions would be so appreciated.

 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Great-Big-Book-Families/dp/0803735162/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335622109&sr=8-1-spell

 

The Great Big Book of Families. It is totally below her reading level, but talks about ALL of the different families in the world and what they do. It is really really neat and definitely has a part about same sex parents too.

post #11 of 14

"And Tango Makes Three"  is the true story of a same-sex male penguin couple who adopt an egg.  It is really cute!

post #12 of 14

Well you can tell her that JK Rowling said she always thought of Dumbledore as gay, if that helps.

 

I'll think on it and see if I can come up with any good middle grade books.

post #13 of 14

Here are some lists. I haven't read most of the books, but the lists should give you a jumping off point:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Books-Elementary-Kids-Lesbian-Families/lm/7IVE71LCCJO8'

 

http://www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org/children/good-books/rainbow-books/ (I think somebody upthread already linked to this, but in case this version is different)

 

http://www.leewind.org/2009/12/glbtq-middle-grade-bookshelf.html

post #14 of 14

Great topic...I've also struggled with finding books that celebrate mom getting married...I was a single mom, daddy wasn't in the picture at all and both myself and my daughter were very excited...every book I found was focused on a divorced parent remarrying...I had never been married before so this did not fit our M-O at all. It was maddening to realize that the "point" of the book was that "daddy" will always be "daddy" and "step-daddy" will never take his place. Heartbreaking considering for her she was finally "getting" a daddy...

 

I'm glad I stumbled onto this post, it reminded me that I was considering writing some more diverse and "happy" books related to the new family norms...

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