Since we’ve already done a round-up of her favorite Thanksgiving books, I thought a collection of books centering on strong families from our resident children’s librarian, Janssen, would be perfect for this time of year.
We went with chapter books so big kids can read them on their own or families can read a chapter together each night. Enjoy!
With the holiday season just around the corner, family is on everyone’s mind, whether it’s making gift lists for siblings or visiting relatives across the country.
There are so many great books about families, whether it’s families with magical powers, siblings who alternately get along and fight bitterly, families with health problems or disabilities, or families struggling through difficult circumstances.
These titles are perfect for kids to read on their own or to read aloud, snuggled up together. Add a little hot chocolate and, voila!
Instant quality family time.
- All-of-a-Kind-Family by Sydney Taylor. I loved this series when I was a child about a Jewish family with five girls growing up in New York City. When I recently found out that I’m having my third girl in February, I couldn’t stop thinking, “Now I’ll have my own all-of-a-kind family!”
- Savvy by Ingrid Law. Wouldn’t it be the coolest thing to be a part of a family where, when you turned thirteen, you discovered that you had some sort of magical ability (called a “savvy”)? This book really lends itself to reading aloud, and I loved every moment of it. And guaranteed, you’ll have lengthy discussions about what savvy you could pick if you got one.
- Wonder by R. J. Palacio. August has been homeschooled his entire life and is now heading to public school for the first time. Which would be tough enough, but August also has severe facial deformities and he knows he won’t fit in. Told from his perspective and that of his new friends and his sister, this is sweet, funny, and a can’t-put-down book for both kids and adults.
- A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck. Everyone has some crazy relatives, but you’d be hard pressed to beat Grandma Dowdel. Every summer, for nine years, Joey and Mary Alice travel to a tiny town to visit their grandmother, and every summer, the antics she gets up to are crazier than that last. I handed this off to a fourth-grade teacher when I was a librarian, and she reported a week later that her rowdy class would do basically anything she asked in order to get another chapter of “the book about the crazy grandma.”
- Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. Think a sibling or two is trouble? Imagine having eleven siblings! This true story (that bears zero resemblance to the fairly terrible movie) is laugh-out-loud funny, due in large part to the larger-than-life father.
- How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O’Connor. Life isn’t easy for Georgina. Her dad has deserted them and now she, her brother and her mom are living out of their car while her mom works two jobs. Desperate to help, Georgina decides to steal a dog in order to collect reward money.
- Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko. In the depths of the Great Depression, Moose’s dad takes a job at the prison at Alcatraz. Life on the rock is made even more complicated by the presence of his autistic older sister, and the family has to all work together to keep things running smoothly, since there aren’t a lot of prospects for their family if the dad loses his job.
- The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies. Evan and Jessie have always gotten along, but when Jessie skips a grade and the siblings will be in the same fourth-grade class, their relationship hits the rocks. The two spend the last week before school begins battling it out in their own Lemonade War to see who can make the most money.
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