Best Single Parent Children’s Books
Many children’s books feature two-parent families—and while it’s essential to expose your child to a variety of families, having your own collection of great books about single-parent families can be a beautiful thing for single parents.
What we see every day is one of the most powerful forces that influences us as adults and children. People in our families, communities, friend groups at school, and workplaces shape our unconscious assumptions about what is possible.
When I first became a single mom, I made myself sick by trying to come up with answers to this imaginary future scenario. In this imagined scene, my child was asking: “Do I have a Daddy?”
I came up with all kinds of possible ways to start my answer:
It’s not your fault–
I want you to know the truth–
Our family is small, but it’s overflowing with love.
Being the child of separated or divorced parents can be difficult. Kids frequently ask questions, and when the answers are sensitive or confusing, it can be difficult to find the right words. For some children, having parents who live apart is normal because it is all they have ever known.
Still, years ago, I would have done anything to get my hands on some picture books that would have helped me. When my daughter was in preschool, there was a handful of books that showed what our family looked like. But not many.
I’m frequently asked about children’s books about single parents, so I’ve compiled a list of some of the best based on my own and others’ recommendations. These books are not specifically about single parenthood; rather, they are geared toward single parents. That is, stories about single parents that celebrate the uniqueness of families in our community. These books aren’t just for kids whose parents are divorced. The more children who are aware of the wonderful diversity of families that exist, the better. Books with single parents in them are for EVERYONE!
Todd Parr was one of the first authors I discovered who truly illustrates the modern-day single parent family. He’s still one of my favorites. Here are some other favorite books that really show who we are. If you have any that aren’t on this list, please share.
1. The Family Book by Todd Parr
Todd’s writing is so silly and sweet — and you can’t beat his super fun illustrations. You’ll meet an array of families: single moms, stepmoms, stepdads, stepsisters, two moms, two dads… you get the picture.
2. Love Is a Family by Roma Downey
This is another all-time favorite. Written by the star of the TV show Touched by an Angel star, it’s a simple, real loving mother-daughter story. It’s Family Fun Night at school, and Lily is positive that she and her mom will be the weirdest family there. The theme: even if you’re a “small kind” of family, you’re still a family.
3. Who’s in a Family? by Robert Skutch
This is a must-have in every single parent home with kids under age eight. The ending includes blank spaces in which your child is instructed to “draw a picture of your family.”
4. Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
Leave it to Dr. Seuss to stay current at all times. Everyone adores Horton, and he wins us over once more when he looks after an egg that has been abandoned by its mother. It’s a touching story about how love comes in all sizes and shapes. It’s about abandonment, perseverance, overcoming real obstacles, loyalty, and ultimately about joy.
5. Do I Have a Daddy? by Jeanne Warren Lindsay
One of the few books to tackle absent or unknown fathers, showing there isn’t one type of dad. This also deals with abandonment — it’s an intense book and best for older kids.
6. A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams
It’s not about a single mother per say, but the main characters are a mother, her daughter, and the grandmother — no mention of a father. Their apartment burns and they find a new place. It’s about three women working and living together.
7. The Best Single Mom in the World: How I Was Adopted by Mary Zisk
A girl tells how her mother decided to become a single parent and traveled overseas to adopt her.
Single parents may want to have a few books on hand to help explain the situation. There are numerous children’s books about single parent families available that can explain things in terms your child will understand. Here are a few of my personal favorites:
Other excellent books for single parent families include “Ask Me,” “The Kissing Hand,” and “You Are My Wish Come True.” Many of these children’s books can help your child work through their feelings if they are dealing with separation, the loss of a parent, or simply come from a single parent home.
Please add your feedback — and add any children’s book titles I’ve left out!