The large number of children living in non-traditional families in the U.S. indicates a critical need for teachers to incorporate quality children’s books portraying a variety of home lives and family situations. I searched for such books through electronic databases and Amazon and obtained print books to review. Using selection criteria such as positive reader and editorial reviews on Amazon, engaging illustrations, and interesting plot, I compiled a list of 50 books published since 2000 that featured families with a variety of compositions and living arrangements. I then narrowed this selection to a recommended list of 10 books to help teachers select appropriate books for the classroom. In this paper, I describe research on challenges faced by children in situations such as homeless and foster care and make the case for the importance of providing access to relatable texts. I then describe the search procedures I used to compile a list of quality children’s books that feature diverse characters in a variety of family units and living situations. I conclude with a description of 10 recommended books that provide teachers with the opportunity to share powerful literature with children that will, hopefully, make a lasting impact on their lives.
Student Author Biography
Katie Waters is in her senior year at Presbyterian College, majoring in Early Childhood Education and minoring in Psychology. She regularly helps to lead events in the Education Department. She is a host for the Education Department’s Documentary Film Series, introducing films and leading discussions after the films. For the past two years, she volunteered at the Special Olympics helping athletes engage in creative activities in between their competitions. She was also a member of the conference committee for the Annual Charles Chadwell Special Education Institute, in which role she assisted with the program, speakers, and registration. In Spring 2015, Katie worked as an international buddy and mentored a Norwegian student at Presbyterian College to help her acclimate to another culture for a semester. Last summer, she also spent a month studying psychology at Lillehammer University College in Norway. After graduation, Katie plans to teach in her home state of South Carolina.
Waters, Katie J.
"Children's Books Featuring Diverse Family Structures and Living Arrangements: Recommendations for Elementary Teachers,"
Papers & Publications: Interdisciplinary Journal of Undergraduate Research: Vol. 6
, Article 21.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.northgeorgia.edu/papersandpubs/vol6/iss1/21