Reading List about Inclusive Families

Today is Family Day in many provinces across Canada! We love celebrating all types of families and familial relationships, here are some of our favorite books – and if you want more recommendations, check out this list!

Better Together!
By Amy Robach and Andrew Schue
Illustrated by Lenny Wen
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593205693 | Flamingo Books
From Good Morning America anchor Amy Robach and her husband, actor Andrew Shue comes a sweet tale about finding common ground and accepting and appreciating each others’ differences. When a big thunderstorm shakes their woodland home, the Squirrelly family must flee their nest for a hollow in an oak tree. To their surprise, the McMunk family had the exact same idea. This family of squirrels and a family of chipmunks must find ways to live together – which isn’t always easy since they come from different backgrounds. But after some important lessons in compromise, the Squirrellys and the McMunks realize that life is better together as the McSquirrelies.

Fatima’s Great Outdoors
By Ambreen Tariq
Illustrated by Stevie Lewis
40 Pages | Ages 4-8| Hardcover
ISBN 9781984816955 | Kokila
Fatima Khazi is excited for the weekend. Her family is headed to a local state park for their first camping trip! The school week might not have gone as planned, but outdoors, Fatima can achieve anything. She sets up a tent with her father, builds a fire with her mother, and survives an eight-legged mutant spider (a daddy longlegs with an impressive shadow) with her sister. At the end of an adventurous day, the family snuggles inside one big tent, serenaded by the sounds of the forest. The thought of leaving the magic of the outdoors tugs at Fatima’s heart, but her sister reminds her that they can keep the memory alive through stories – and they can always daydream about what their next camping trip will look like. Ambreen Tariq’s picture book debut, with cheerful illustrations by Stevie Lewis, is a rollicking family adventure, a love letter to the outdoors, and a reminder that public land belongs to all of us.

Great Too
By Lauri Holomis and Glen Gretzky
Illustrated by Kevin Sylvester
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265615 | Puffin Canada
This follow-up to the bestselling picture book, Great, focuses on building confidence and learning how to focus on the game, featuring hockey great Wayne Gretzky and his dad, Coach Wally. Taylor and Wayne, The Great One, have been working with Coach Wally on their Perfect Play: Taylor fakes a shot and Wayne gets open – pass; shoot; GOAL! And now that their team is going to the biggest tournament in the country, they’ll have a chance to show it off. But as the tournament goes on, Taylor is distracted by the loud cheering crowd, and his confidence starts to fade. Lucky for him, Coach Wally is in his corner, reminding Taylor that it’s okay to be nervous but the most important thing is to remember that he is part of a team, working together with his teammates. As Coach Wally says, if you have a good time, work hard and do your best, “that is all that matters.”

J.D. and the Family Business
By J. Dillard
Illustrated by Akeem S. Roberts
160 Pages | Ages 6-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593111550 | Kokila
J.D. is a barber battle champion. He’s graduated from home haircuts to having a regular chair at the neighborhood shop, Hart and Son, and he’s making enough money to keep his candy jar stocked and his comic book collection growing. And yet, J.D. knows it’s time for his next challenge. He doesn’t just want to be the best barber in Meridian, Mississippi – he wants to be the best barber in the state . . . and maybe the country! When his older sister, Vanessa, starts to gain a following online for her hair tutorials, the kids decide that to truly level up, they must join forces. How do two siblings with big personalities, big ambitions, and competitive spirits work together (or not) to take over the hair world?

Let Me Fix You a Plate: A Tale of Two Kitchens
By Elizabeth Lilly
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823443253 | Neal Porter Books
First my family drives through the mountains to stop at Mamaw and Papaw’s house in rural West Virginia. We share blueberry jam and toast for breakfast the next morning, then munch cookies and cut bananas to make banana pudding with Mamaw. After the last bite of pudding, we get ready for the next part of the journey, down to Florida to visit Abuela and Abuelo for crispy tostones, fresh squeezed juice, and arepas with queso blanco. This celebration of family and our diverse, delicious traditions is sure to leave readers hungry for more! Elizabeth Lilly’s tale of a joyous road trip, drawn from her own experience, is illustrated with quirky charm that captures all the warmth and love of her family’s two distinct cultures.

My Love for You is Always
By Gillian Sze
Illustrated by Michelle Lee
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593203071 | Philomel Books
What is love? a child wonders. What does it feel like, smell like, taste like? How does it move? How long does it last? And as she prepares a traditional Chinese meal for her family, the child’s mother replies: her love for him is rosy as wolfberries, warm like tea, sweeter than the red dates she puts in his soup. It shines through the water like its own brilliant sun. It goes round and round with no beginning and no end. Because a mother’s love for a child is always there, warm and soft, broad and tender. In this tender story that pairs beautifully poetic words with brilliantly stunning art, a mother’s love comes alive on the page and wraps readers in its warm embrace.

Operation Sisterhood
By Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
320 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593379899 | Crown BFYR
Bo and her mom always had their own rhythm. But ever since they moved to Harlem, Bo’s world has fallen out of sync. She and Mum are now living with Mum’s boyfriend Bill, his daughter Sunday, the twins, Lili and Lee, the twins’ parents . . . along with a dog, two cats, a bearded dragon, a turtle, and chickens. All in one brownstone! With so many people squished together, Bo isn’t so sure there is room for her.  Set against the bursting energy of a New York City summer, award-winning author Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich delivers a joyful novel about a new family that hits all the right notes!

Over the Shop
By JonArno Lawson
Illustrated by Qin Leng
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536201475 | Candlewick
A lonely little girl and her grandparent need to fill the run-down apartment in their building. But taking over the quarters above their store will mean major renovations for the new occupants, and none of the potential renters can envision the possibilities of the space – until one special couple shows up. With their ingenuity, the little girl’s big heart, and heaps of hard work, the desperate fixer-upper begins to change in lovely and surprising ways. In this bustling wordless picture book, JonArno Lawson’s touching story and Qin Leng’s gentle illustrations capture all angles of the building’s transformation, as well as the evolving perspectives of the girl and her grandparent. A warm and subtly nuanced tale, Over the Shop throws open the doors to what it means to accept people for who they are and to fill your home with love and joy.

The Big Bath House
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Gracey Zhang
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593181959 | Random House Studio
In this celebration of Japanese culture and family and naked bodies of all shapes and sizes, join a little girl – along with her aunties and grandmother – at a traditional bath house. Once there, the rituals leading up to the baths begin: hair washing, back scrubbing, and, finally, the wood barrel drumroll. Until, at last, it’s time, and they ease their bodies – their creased bodies, newly sprouting bodies, saggy, jiggly bodies – into the bath. Ahhhhhh! With a lyrical text and gorgeous illustrations, this picture book is based on Kyo Maclear’s loving memories of childhood visits to Japan, and is an ode to the ties that bind generations of women together.

The Treasure Box
By Dave Keane
Illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984813183 | Putnam BFYR
Searching for treasures with her grandpa is this young girl’s favorite thing to do. Every week they examine the items in her secret box and go on walks to find more – a broken robin’s egg, rusty spring, even a snakeskin that makes Grandpa squirm and make funny faces. But then Grandpa is too sick to come. She leaves him a few treasures in the hospital, but when he dies, she can’t bring herself to even open the treasure box. When Grammy brings her some treasures Grandpa wanted her to have, they open the box together and continue the tradition, showing that memories of time together are the greatest treasures of all. This poignant, gorgeously-illustrated story celebrates the special bonds kids have with grandparents, even after they are gone.

The Worm Family Has Its Picture Taken
By Jennifer Frank
Illustrated by David Ezra Stein
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593124789 | Anne Schwartz Books
Emma is excited for her worm family to have their portrait taken. But when she sees her other friends’ portraits, she gets discouraged. “We had the most beautiful smiles,” Ellie the Chipmunk squeals. Abigail the Cat meows, “I looked gorgeous with my big poufy hair.” The worm family doesn’t have teeth . . . how will they show their beautiful smiles? They don’t have hair either . . . how can it look big and poufy?! So Emma gathers wigs, giant fake teeth, and colorful clothing for her parents and sisters. But it’s only after taking off their costumes that the worm family is able to wriggle and squiggle and squeeze into a delightful pose that only a worm family can make. And Emma? She thinks it’s perfectly perfect.

We  Adopted a Baby Lamb
By Lori Joy Smith
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266537 | Tundra Books
Ila is excited about her family’s move to the country – mostly because it means she can have more pets! But no one expected their next addition to be a lamb. When Albert first comes home, he sleeps a lot, he eats a lot . . . and he pees on the floor a lot. Ila and her sister and parents quickly learn how to care for a baby sheep – they must feed him and protect him. It’s not easy because Albert gets into everything! He eats the tulips from the flower bed, chews on car bumpers, chases the dog (and hides from the cats). Ila and her family does everything to make Albert happy and healthy, but she can’t help feeling like her little lamb might be missing something from his life. Maybe he needs a friend? But Ila soon realizes that she doesn’t need to look for a friend for Albert – he already has his flock.

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