Children's Books with Single Parent families - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 08-17-2010, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi All,

I was wondering if any of you have come across a good series of children's chapter books (age 6-8ish) with protagonists in a single parent household?

I'm sick of everything being so 'traditional family' oriented and feel it would help normalize my daughter's situation for her.

Thanks for your suggestions!
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#2 of 21 Old 08-17-2010, 06:29 PM
 
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Saw this in new posts.

They are picture books, not chapter books, but I like Vera Williams' A Chair for my Mother and Allan Morgan's Matthew and the Midnight Turkeys (and sequels). Both books are about kids who just happen to be from single parent families. The Matthew books are very funny, too.

My dd is a huge reader -- I'll ask her if she has any chapter book recs.
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#3 of 21 Old 08-18-2010, 12:26 AM
 
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I know a lot of picture books that focus on non-traditional families, which I have been reading to my son for years. Even at 7, he still asks to read some of these books together or will often go off on his own to read them.

Picture books are GREAT teaching tools. As a teacher, I use them all the time, even with upper grade level students. The vocabulary and writing are often far superior to the chapter books for lower grade levels. Great for opening the dialogue.

Love is a family -- Roma Downey
All families are special -- Norma Simon
Who's in a family -- Robert Skutch
The family book -- Todd Parr
All families are different -- Sol Gordon
It's OK to be different -- Todd Parr
All kinds of families -- Mary Ann Hoberman
Families -- Susan Kuklin
Do I have a Daddy? -- Jeanne Warren Lindsay
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#4 of 21 Old 08-18-2010, 01:25 AM
 
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I really need this info. Thanks for sharing this info. Holland and Aubergine68. I would also be interested in any others!

Great post!

"There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting." - Buddha.
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#5 of 21 Old 08-18-2010, 12:12 PM
 
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i can't remember for sure, but i believe margaret's parents are divorced in "are you there god? it's me, margaret." if it's not that one, then it's another judy blume book. of course, that's much more for ages 10-12ish than 6-8ish.
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#6 of 21 Old 08-18-2010, 12:17 PM
 
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oh yeah, the book "the endless steppe" is also a single-mama family, but again meant to be read a few years from now.
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#7 of 21 Old 08-18-2010, 12:47 PM
 
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For giggles when you child is a teen the Twilight series features the main character as a child of divorced parents who is coming to now live with her dad.

"There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting." - Buddha.
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#8 of 21 Old 08-18-2010, 12:51 PM
 
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subbing for future reference

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#9 of 21 Old 08-18-2010, 11:44 PM
 
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I always thought the farmer in Usborne's Apple Tree Farm series was a single mother because I'd read about a dozen with no mention of anyone but her, her two kids, and the farm hand. Then, the other day I came across one that suddenly mentioned picking up the Dad at the train station. I wonder if they suddenly decided to throw a father-figure into the picture to appeal to mainstream audiences??
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#10 of 21 Old 08-19-2010, 01:36 AM
 
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Actually most of the Disney movies is only one parent..... and Disney is really mainstream in my book so I think the mainstream is okay with one parent in the picture only. Maybe that author wanted to intentionally make the change for whatever reason.....

"There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting." - Buddha.
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#11 of 21 Old 08-19-2010, 01:48 PM
 
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The Amazing Grace series of books has a single mom, though grandma also lives in the home. It is a really good series. You can go to this website and request a booklist on a topic. The guy who runs it has students pick a theme and put together booklists on that theme that include a variety of genres so single parent families may have come up.
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#12 of 21 Old 08-19-2010, 01:53 PM
 
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I think as adults/parents, we read into the parent characters so much more than the kids.

In the majority of children's literature, and as an elementary teacher I have read TONS, the parents/family are so often just secondary characters. More often than not, they are just briefly mentioned with a quick sentence or two. So often I hear parents exclaim, "Do any of these characters even have parents?" or "Where are their parents?"

Younger kids often want to read about other kids and their amazing adventures. They just want to escape into another child's imaginary, fantastical life.

Once you hit the pre-teen/teen age level, you will find more books that have more diverse family/friend dynamics.

That is also why it is so important to have specific books, as I listed above, that opens a conversation about family diversity with younger kids. They are books to be read together and discussed.
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#13 of 21 Old 08-19-2010, 09:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doubledutch View Post
i can't remember for sure, but i believe margaret's parents are divorced in "are you there god? it's me, margaret." if it's not that one, then it's another judy blume book. of course, that's much more for ages 10-12ish than 6-8ish.
Margaret's parents are married in "Are You There God? It's me, Margaret," but Stephanie's parents, in Blume's "Just as Long as We're Together," are separated.

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#14 of 21 Old 08-19-2010, 11:03 PM
 
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I know it's too young, but I remember Elmo and Grover never seemed to have dads in any of the Sesame St books that we read.

I've taken a lot of courses in writing books for kids and they say that adult characters mean almost nothing to that age group. That kids just want to read about other kids doing kid things. No idea if that's true or not though.

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#15 of 21 Old 08-19-2010, 11:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCMommy View Post
I always thought the farmer in Usborne's Apple Tree Farm series was a single mother because I'd read about a dozen with no mention of anyone but her, her two kids, and the farm hand. Then, the other day I came across one that suddenly mentioned picking up the Dad at the train station. I wonder if they suddenly decided to throw a father-figure into the picture to appeal to mainstream audiences??
That's so funny, because I had noticed that there was no dad too, and I was so impressed that she was a single mom so active with her kids AND running a farm! I liked that Usborne did that. Now I'm kind of bummed that there is supposed to be a dad somewhere out there.

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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#16 of 21 Old 09-03-2010, 09:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone! Sorry I've been away from the computer for a while but I just checked in on the thread and it looks like there are some great ideas. I agree that kids care more about what the child characters are up to than the parents roles, but it would be nice to embed some alternatives to 'mom and dad' into my daughters' idea of family. And I think those assumptions do seep in subconsciously.

Keep them coming...
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#17 of 21 Old 09-03-2010, 09:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
The Amazing Grace series of books has a single mom, though grandma also lives in the home. It is a really good series. You can go to this website and request a booklist on a topic. The guy who runs it has students pick a theme and put together booklists on that theme that include a variety of genres so single parent families may have come up.
What website was that? It sounds like a great idea, I'd like to check it out.

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#18 of 21 Old 09-03-2010, 11:31 PM
 
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Here is the website. I forgot to paste it in.

http://education.boisestate.edu/stansteiner/
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#19 of 21 Old 09-04-2010, 12:13 AM
 
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My 8 y.o. is reading a Cabin Creek Mystery book right now. The characters are two brothers and their (girl) cousin. It's mentioned that the boys' dad died at some point before he story started. So far the mother has just left them notes to clean up their mess and stuff though, she never seems to be home...

~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

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#20 of 21 Old 09-04-2010, 02:13 PM
 
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"When Mama Comes Home Tonight."
http://www.amazon.com/Comes-Tonight-.../dp/0689842201

Its a toddler book, but has such a great premise. I think its so odd that there really arent that many "older" kid books that focus on living in a single parent home - especially considering our divorce rate!

Also subscribing, would love to hear more suggestions!
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#21 of 21 Old 10-29-2012, 10:29 PM
 
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The Penderwicks. Single dad. mom dies 2 weeks after 4th daughter is born. it is great! 

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