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All Different Families

best childrens books about diverse families

Best Children’s Books about Diverse Families 

Families come in all shapes and sizes! Our All Different Families booklist is designed for anyone seeking to promote diversity and inclusion in their personal or school settings, including parents, teachers, and those looking for personal development.

This varied booklist of picturebooks and chapter books includes relatable stories representing children from a whole variety of family structures, as well as books that will help all children to encounter and understand a range of family types that may not look like their own.

From stories of foster families like The Star Outside my Window and The House with a Dragon in it, to families featuring same-sex parents like Who’s Your Real Mum and My Daddies, there’s something for all primary ages on this booklist.

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Children's books about different families

Laura Henry-Allain MBE
 & Giovana Medeiros

Looking for a truly inclusive book about families? Every fabulous family make-up you could wish for is represented here in this bright and beautiful non-fiction book.

‘My Family, Your Family’ can be used on several levels; firstly as a walk-through-the-world with children, picking out different characters, asking questions and focusing purely on Giovana Medeiros’ captivating illustrations; secondly following the speech bubbles in the illustrations to build a narrative; and thirdly using the text itself to create an increasingly detailed and representational information book about families today.

This book doesn’t shy away from showing us that families can be whatever we want them to be and that every family is different. The book includes pages about community groups, family trees and how families change over time. There should be a place in every classroom for this all-encompassing book. The glossary will be particularly useful – check your understanding of terms such as blended families, heritage, kinship, donorship, surrogacy and diblings. It delivers sound advice for adults to enhance conversations with children and can be used as a springboard into work on Families, Belonging and PSHE.

Sophy Henn

All Kind of Families, written and illustrated by Sophy Henn, is a wonderful book to use across various opportunities in the preschool or primary classroom. It is an excellent resource to promote discussion and understanding of family diversity in humans and animals. By making links to animals, children gain a wider experience of different families, all underpinned by the theme of love.

The book explores and promotes families of all shapes and sizes, including those with different parents and varying numbers of siblings as well as roles of other individuals and adoption. Each is done sensitively to help children understand and embrace the naturally different shapes of families, using animals as a way of showing natural differences.

The book would be most suitable for EYFS and KS1 but could be adapted for older age groups too. Each theme is linked to different animal families and the final pages of the books give more information about each of those animals.

Mary Hoffman
 & Ros Asquith
The Great Big Book of Families introduces children to the fact that not all families look the same. Featuring funny artwork and wonderfully accessible text this book celebrates each family in its own unique and wonderful way.What is a family? Once, it was said to be a father, mother, boy, girl, cat and dog living in a house with a garden. But as times have changed, families have changed too, and now there are almost as many kinds of families as colours of the rainbow.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, to families with a disabled member. This is a fresh, optimistic look through children's eyes at today's wide variety of family life: from homes, food, ways of celebrating, schools and holidays to getting around, jobs and housework, from extended families, languages and hobbies to pets and family trees.The Great Big Book of Families is a brilliant introduction for children to all family types great and small.

Children's books about family heritage

Floella Benjamin
 & Margaret Chamberlain
Aston's Grandad Roy played in a steel band and Grandad Harry played the trumpet in a brass band. Aston always enjoyed going to visit them and listen to them practise. But soon he wanted to join in. So he asked Grandad Roy to teach him to play the steel drums and then he asked Grandad Harry to teach him to play the trumpet. He loved practising both instruments. Then the school needs a band to play at the school fair, and both grandads want their own band to play. Finally Aston had an idea - both bands join together to make one big band, and Aston joins in first on steel drums and then on trumpet. This delightful story of a mixed-race family reconciling their very different cultures is a wonderful celebration of diversity. Written by one of Britain's foremost campaigners and media personalities and illustrated by a highly regarded illustrator, this book is sure to build on the success of My Two Grannies.
Annette Demetriou
 & Angela Mayers
Miss Clark has an exciting project for the class to work on – exploring their family trees! But when each child is asked to point to the place their parents come from on a map, Georgie doesn't know which parent to choose – her dad is from Africa but her mum is from the UK. Where does she fit in?Georgie dreads having to draw her family tree as homework but once she starts working on it, with the help of her parents she realises how special it is that the branches stretch so far and wide! And as the class all share their own family trees, the children begin to explore and celebrate each others’ heritage, and realise that all of their roots dig down into the same rich earth – so they're not that different after all. A wonderfully life affirming picture book that celebrates diversity in all its forms.
Patrice Lawrence
 & Jeanetta Gonzales
When Paloma goes to visit her family in Trinidad, she doesn’t feel that she fits in. But Tante Janet has a story to tell her: An ancient story of warrior queens and talking drums, of treasures and tales that span thousands of years… a story that Paloma shares in, because her story starts in Africa, too.. Join Tante and her inquisitive niece as they share the story of how her family came to the Caribbean, through the dark days of colonization and slavery, to the emergence of a thriving, contemporary community of many faces, places and successes.
Patrice Lawrence
 & Diane Ewen
A beautiful, moving celebration of what it truly means to be family, from the brilliant new picture book duo Patrice Lawrence and Diane Ewen.Every family is different. Every family is special.Josie loves her family. Her mum, dad, brothers and sister - they're all the best and they all look different.But people always seem to ask Josie "Is that YOUR mama?", and soon she starts to wonder if her family are actually supposed to look the same.When Josie shares her worries with her family, they find a way to help her see what truly matters.Heartfelt and empowering words by Patrice Lawrence, multi-award-winning author of Orangeboy.Bright, gorgeous artwork from Diane Ewen, winner of the Jericho Prize and The Queen's Knickers Awards, 2021.
Samuel Narh
 & Jo Loring-Fisher
As the seasons turn, Maisie rides her bull in and out of Dada's tall tales. Her Mama wears linen and plays the viola. Her Dada wears kente cloth and plays the marimba.They come from different places, but they hug her in the same way. And most of all, they love her just the same. A joyful celebration of a mixed-race family and the love that binds us all together.

Children's books about divorce and parental separation

Clare Helen Welsh
 & Asa Gilland
A sensitively-told story that addresses the tricky subject of divorce with care and understanding, from Clare Helen Welsh and Åsa Gilland.Laughing and playing together as a family on the beach, it seems the happy, warm days of summer will never end. Then, everything changes. Mummy and Daddy say they can’t live together anymore, and sad, worried feelings begin to emerge – It’s not fair! Was it all my fault? But, as time passes and the seasons change, it becomes clearer that hard times won’t always be quite so hard . . .A lyrical book about the difficult emotions a child can feel when their parents break up, with an optimistic message of hope and resilience. Gorgeous illustrations and an emotive colour palette perfectly capture the nuances of emotion felt by both the child and parents during a separation. Much like Pat Thomas’s My Family's Changing, Claire Masurel’s Two Homes and Patrice Karst’s The Invisible String, Everything Changes offers a way to help children understand their feelings during big changes in their family unit.
Phil Earle
 & Jess Ross

Popular author Phil Earle offers a new picturebook with an authentic representation of a child experiencing parental separation and divorce.

Meet Florrie. Florrie has two of everything…. including two different homes. Her mum’s and her dad’s. When her parents separated, Florrie and her brothers were expected to divide their time between the two homes, and at the beginning of the book, this makes her feel a little uneasy.

This book shows how each parent works separately with her to make her feel comfortable about the situation, giving her coping mechanisms when she misses her other home. The lovely twist at the end is how Florrie is then able to help her father, when she realises that he misses her when she is not with him too.

This uplifting picture book will help children to embrace change, and could be a brilliant starting point for discussion about feelings about separation and divorce as well as about navigating negative thoughts and feelings towards changes outside of own’s own control. Beautifully illustrated by Jess Rose, the details in the pictures really bring the story alive, and provide great talking points when reading this story with your child, whether they have personally experienced separation or not.

Children's books about fostering and adoption

Ame Dyckman
 & Zachariah OHora
The Bunny family has adopted a wolf son, and daughter Dot is the only one who realises Wolfie is going to eat them all up! Dot tries to get through to her parents, but they are too smitten to listen. A new brother takes getting used to and when (in a twist of fate) it's Wolfie who's threatened, will his big sister Dot save the day?
Gareth Peter
 & Judi Abbot
A beautiful, heartfelt adventure, perfect for celebrating all kinds of family and the love that brings them together. This is the dark and starless sky, where just past the moon a planet drifts by. And this is the planet that's full to the brim, with friendly and caring space people called... TIM! Meet Tim and Tim - a couple who long for a family and set off on a quest to find their very own star child. This joyful, read-aloud adventure is a comforting, soothing read that's ideal just before bedtime. It's also a helpful jumping off point for early conversations about the experiences of LGBTQ+ families for the youngest readers. From the author of My Daddies and the illustrator of The Perfect Hug and The Biggest Kiss.
Harriet Evans
 & Nia Tudor
When you joined our family, I knew you were just who I'd waited and wished for.Full of heartwarming illustrations, this emotive picture book showcases the unconditional love between an adopted child and their adoptive parents.A gentle exploration of the adoption experience, from first meetings to creating new family traditions.
Jacqueline Wilson
 & Nick Sharratt
Chapter book
Tracy has been in care as long as she can remember, and she hates it. So when a chance presents itself for her to get out, she jumps at it. But Tracy can never keep her mouth shut, tell the truth or turn down a dare for long, which inevitably gets her into A LOT of trouble. Jacqueline Wilson’s award winning series documents Tracy’s hilarious everyday life, from standing up to bullies in the playground, to starring in the school Christmas play, to finding the perfect family.
Frank Cottrell Boyce
 & Steven Lenton
Chapter book
Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell-Boyce is an adventure about the Blythes: a big, warm, rambunctious family who live on a small farm and sometimes foster children. Now Prez has come to live with them. But, though he seems cheerful and helpful, he never says a word.Then one day Prez answers the door to someone claiming to be his relative. This small, loud stranger carries a backpack, walks with a swagger and goes by the name of Sputnik. The family all think Sputnik is a dog and chaos is unleashed as suddenly household items come to life – like a TV remote that fast-forwards people and a toy lightsaber that entertains guests at a children's party, until one of them is nearly decapitated by it – and Prez is going to have to use his voice to explain himself.As Sputnik takes Prez on a journey to finish writing his guidebook to Earth called Ten Things Worth Doing on Earth, each adventure seems to take Prez nearer to the heart of the family he is being fostered by, but they also take him closer to the day that he is due to leave them forever . . .

Nick Lake
 & Emily Gravett
Chapter book

Summer lives with her foster family and one day, a sinkhole opens up in their house. She finds a dragon in the sinkhole who is guarding some treasure, a bottle with a witch in it. The witch says she will grant Summer three wishes, but Summer soon learns it’s not a straightforward offer.Summer thinks that people don’t like her, including her foster parents.

‘The house with a dragon in it’ sensitively deals with the relationship between Summer and her foster family as well as the difficult relationship Summer has with other children at school. It shows that what we think other people think of us is not necessarily the reality and Summer learns to let people in.

There are brilliant illustrations from Emily Gravett throughout, including some double-page ones. I enjoyed the ‘granting wishes’ aspect of the story as Summer thought she knew what she wanted to wish for straight away and then this changed as her relationship with other characters developed.An enjoyable story with a lovely message about friendship and family, but also a great read for anyone who loves a bit of magic.


Jen Carney
Chapter book

Jen Carney writes with love and humour. A brilliantly funny, family-friendly story perfect for fans of dogs, pranks and adventures. Cleverly illustrated with comic strips and cartoons this is both easily accessible and inclusive, with representation of families of different shapes and sizes.

Ferris Foster’s neighbour Destiny boasts about videos of her dog going viral. So in retaliation, Ferris claims that his dog Aldo can become an even bigger internet star. However, despite being his best friend, Aldo is not big or clever or talented. He is a dog! So when Aldo is filmed doing what looks like an amazing trick Ferris believes he is onto a winner. . . will Aldo give Ferris the break he needs and live up to his comic book alter-ego? Or will this be FAILURE with a capital F? Who doesn’t want to be famous these days?

This is a funny, feel-good, laugh-out-loud adventure to prove that family and friends are everything.

Stewart Foster
Chapter book
All Sam wants is a family of his own, a home instead of a ‘house’ and parents he knows will still be there when he wakes up. Because Sam has been in and out of foster care his whole life and he can’t imagine ever feeling like he truly belongs.Then his best friend Leah suggests that rather than wait for a family to come to him, he should go out and find one. So begins The Perfect Parent Project ... But Sam may just discover that family has a funny way of finding you.
Susanna Bailey
Chapter book

Smugglers Fox is a delicate, emotional coming of age story, which will touch the hearts of any reader, young or old.

The story is told from the point of view of Jonah, older brother to Rio, who faces many challenges, as both boys tragically get separated in foster care. Now alone with a new carer, Rio builds a bond with a red fox, where he seeks companionship and understanding. Eventually, this relationship leads to great adventure in the coves of Whitby. As the tale unwinds, it appears that the fox and Rio have a lot more in common than it seems, and they both need to show bravery in the face of physical and emotional challenges.

The author has an empathetic writing style, which incorporates a child-like perspective of the world, while integrating stunning metaphors and links with nature. Themes such as mental health, abandonment and deep emotional turmoil are told from the young boy’s point of view with great sensitivity; any child who has experienced some of the challenges within this book will be able to identify with the characters personal journeys. Despite the high emotion within Smugglers Fox, the story leads to great optimism and teaches the reader how love and connection are the key to acceptance. It also includes an exciting quest to follow a secret treasure map. I would highly recommend this story to children in Upper Key Stage 2, moving onto Secondary School.

Onjali Rauf
Chapter book
Following the disappearance of her mum, 10-year-old Aniyah suddenly finds herself living in foster care. With her life in disarray, she knows just one thing for sure: her mum isn't gone for ever. Because people with the brightest hearts never truly leave. They become stars.So when a new star is spotted acting strangely in the sky, Aniyah is sure it's her mum, and she embarks on the adventure of a lifetime to make sure everyone else knows too -- an adventure that involves breaking into the Royal Observatory of London, a mischievous scurry of squirrels and the biggest star in Hollywood...Told through the innocent voice of a child, this is a story that explores the subtle faces and endless impacts of domestic violence, and celebrates the power of hope and resilience, from Onjali Rauf, the award-winning author of The Boy at the Back of the Class.

Stories representing same-sex parents

Bernadette Green
 & Anna Zobel
A BIG ISSUE BOOK OF THE YEARA beautifully illustrated story, written with a light and humorous touch, that celebrates nontraditional families and captures exactly what lies at the heart of family life — love.‘Elvi, which one is your mum?’ ‘They’re both my mum.’ ‘But which one’s your real mum?’When Nicholas wants to know which of Elvi’s two mums is her real mum, she gives him lots of clues. Her real mum is a circus performer, and a pirate, and she even teaches spiders the art of web.But Nicholas still can’t work it out! Luckily, Elvi knows just how to explain it to her friend.
Jodie Lancet-Grant
 & Lydia Corry
Billy's family is not what you'd call ordinary. His mums won't listen to NORMAL music. They love to sing sea shanties and dance jigs in the lounge. Their clothes are highly unusual, they have a rude parrot for a pet, and their taste in house design is, well . . . FISHY. Billy wishes his family could be more like everyone else's. Until a swashbuckling adventure changes everything!
Lotte Jeffs
 & Sharon Davey
There are billions of families, a million ways to be. But in my magic family it's Mummy, Mum and me! Let's tell our family stories - fantastical and true - and we'll find out who's who to me, and who is who to you... In this celebratory, reassuring rhyming story a little girl with two mummies shares the magic of her family and discovers how magic all her friends' families are too. This is a warm, funny read-aloud that's perfect for opening up conversations about different families in a playful, creative way.
Gareth Peter
 & Garry Parsons
A funny, heartfelt picture-book celebrating same-sex parents and shared story time, perfect for introducing children to the different kinds of family in the world today. Set off on a series of incredible adventures with an adorable family as the stories they read burst into colourful life. Battle dragons, dodge deadly dinosaurs, zoom to the moon and explore the world in a hot air balloon, before winding down in a wonderfully cosy bedtime ending. The bouncy, rhyming, read-aloud text is brought to life by bestselling, award-winning illustrator Garry Parsons, illustrator of The Dinosaur that Pooped series.
Susie Day
Chapter book
Sam likes being a twin. He likes having two mums. He likes cheese sandwiches and his dog and drawing comics with his friend Pea. He does not like humus - or heights . . .His twin sister Sammie likes being a twin too. She knows that she's perfect best friend material for somebody - the girls in her class just haven't realised yet. And she knows that she's the best Sam - Sam A.Both Sam and Sammie - and everybody in their lives seems to be keeping secrets - which ones will come out?

Jen Carney
Chapter book
Meet Billie Upton Green and her VERY accidental diary - and don't you DARE call her B.U.G!Billie has taken the new girl at school under her wing. She'll teach her the important stuff - Biscuit Laws, Mrs Patterson and of course where to sneakily eat a Jaffa Cake. She might even get invited to the EVENT OF THE YEAR (Billie's mums are getting married).But then suspicion sets in. The new girl seems VERY close to Billie's best friend Layla.And she knows a LOT about the big school heist - the theft of Mrs Robinson's purse. But, Billie is on to her. Well, as long as Patrick doesn't catch her eating biscuits first.
Lee Newbery
 & Laura Catalán
Chapter book

This is the book equivalent of sitting wrapped in a duvet eating chocolate. It is simply delightful and while being an exciting adventure it also looks at finding your feet and the inner courage you need to get through. Author Lee Newbery wrote this story for his son, so that his son could see himself in a story. Newbery wanted a story where the child is adopted (and has two dads) but without the family set-up being the main focus of the story. His aim has been entirely achieved.

Yes, there is peril, a hideous monster and bullies, but it always feels as if it will work out in the end. All the pieces of an exciting adventure are here; two loyal friends, a sprinkling of magic, a very cute animal, a tense denouement. All of this is wrapped up with wonderful illustrations from Laura Catalan, which bring the story to life, topped off with a beautiful cover.

I can see this book becoming a ‘must read’ for lower Key Stage 2, and I for one would love to read it aloud to a group of children.

Stories about families of all shapes and sizes

Adam & Charlotte Guillain
 & Ali Pye
A funny and moving story about how a little girl copes with change after her parents separate. When Dad says that he's moving out, Lily-May feels all upside-down inside. But now Dad comes on Sundays, and they ride their bikes really fast and make secret dens together. Lily-May plays more just with Mum now, too - and when Mum's new partner Peter comes over, they play pirate ships! Sometimes, there are tricky moments - Lily-May hates it when Mum has to work late - but a birthday party with Lily-May's big fantastic family helps her realise just how many people love her. This reassuring celebration of non-nuclear families will help children to understand that they will always be loved, even if parents separate or divorce. Beautifully written in rhyme by the award-winning authors of the bestselling George's Amazing Adventures series, this uplifting story with a diverse cast of characters embraces all the positive aspects of becoming part of a blended family after a divorce or separation.
Kate Milner
Mum works really hard, but today there is no money left and no food in the cupboards. Forced to visit the local foodbank, Mum feels ashamed that they have to rely on the kindness of others, but her young daughter can still see all the good in her day like reading and drawing, and even the foodbank. Maybe one day things will be different but for now together they brighten up even the darkest of days. A moving insight into the sad rise and necessity of foodbanks from the perspective of society's most vulnerable, and an essential book to help develop empathy in younger readers.
Victoria Williamson
Chapter book

A moving and compassionately-told story from the author of the The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle. Also told through a dual narrative, this is a story with weighty themes including blended families, life with ADHD and the search for acceptance. Hugely relevant for today’s generation, Victoria Williamson writes with a galloping pace packaged at every turn with extraordinary compassion, delivering an enjoyable and empathy-building reading experience. The narrative offers powerful insights into life with ADHD…

S.E. Durrant
 & Rob Biddulph
Chapter book
AJ's grandfather has always been the one to keep his unusual family together, so when he dies things start to unravel at the edges. AJ is worried about his parents but they don't really seem to notice. In order to deal with his grief and to keep his anxiety at bay, AJ does what he and his grandfather did best: running. Round and round the Olympic Park, aiming for the cross country trials. Running to escape, AJ only seems to be heading ever closer to disaster. Running On Empty is a beautiful book about false starts and emotional journeys, with hope as the ultimate finishing line. From the author of Little Bits of Sky and Talking to the Moon Cover illustration by Rob Biddulph
Jason Reynolds
 & Selom Senu
Chapter book
It's not the taking part, it's the winning that counts for Patina!Patty, as she's known to her friends and family, has lost a lot in her life - her dad died when she was young, her mum has lost her legs and now she has to live with her uncle and his wife. On top of that Patty has to go to the poshest school that ever existed. Now her running team has become a relay team and independent "I can do everything by myself" Patty has to work with her team mates to win.

Serena Patel
 & Louise Forshaw
Chapter book

Sonal has chosen ‘family’ as the topic for her school photography project. She thought it would be easy but she’s already regretting it. She can’t get everyone to focus so that she can take a group photo and even the individual snaps feature different members of her family looking at screens of various kinds. Sitting with her grandfather and sadly comparing her photos and family albums from the past shows just how much the digital world has taken over their lives. Egged on by her wise and long-suffering grandpa (who we suspect has thought for a while that a digital detox was in order), Sonal devises a plan for a family camping weekend without any devices at all.


From there, the warmly engaging story follows the innocently well-meaning but accident-prone heroine, whose exploits provide amusement while inviting empathy. Serena Patel captures the rhythms and cadences of modern family life brilliantly, wryly presenting an antidote to the perfect families often seen on social media. I thoroughly enjoyed the realistic perspective on parental and sibling relationships where squabbles and disagreements are normal.

Like the rest of the Barrington Stoke series, it is accessible but well-written and unpatronising, with black and white illustrations that work well with the lighthearted tone of the writing. It would make a great start to discussions of the mismatch between reality and social media profiles within the context of families. The more we expose this in schools the better, and this book does so in a gently unthreatening way.

Recommended as a read for pleasure for children in Year 4 and upwards who are developing reading stamina.


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