TEACHING YOUNG CHILDREN Download PDF
A thematic unit on families is a great way to begin the year with a new class of preschoolers. A family unit supports children in countless ways, including easing their transitions, helping them learn about the other boys and girls in the class, and strengthening their self-awareness. Teachers can draw on these books to explore the rich diversity of families with preschoolers.
A Chair for My Mother, by Vera B. Williams. 1982. New York: Greenwillow Books.
When the home Rosa shares with her mother and grandmother is destroyed by fire, the family saves up their spare change to buy a new chair.
A Day with Dad, by Bo R. Holmberg. Illus. by Eva Eriksson. 2008. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press.
Tim’s father lives in a different town, but when he comes to visit Tim on the train, father and son spend a special day together.
And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. Illus. by Henry Cole. 2005. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Silo and Roy, two male chinstrap penguins, fall in love and raise baby Tango together.
Annie Rose Is My Little Sister, by Shirley Hughes. 2003. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press.
Big brother Alfie lovingly discusses the different things he and his younger sister do together.
Black Is Brown Is Tan, by Arnold Adoff. Illus. by Emily Arnold McCully. 2002. New York: Harper Collins.
New illustrations accompany the original 1973 text, which explores and celebrates multiracial families.
Dear Juno, by Soyung Pak. Illus. by Susan Kathleen Hartung. 1999. New York: Penguin.
Juno figures out a creative way to communicate with his Korean grandmother who lives far away in Seoul.
Daddy Makes the Best Spaghetti, by Anna Grossnickle Hines. 1999. New York: Clarion.
Corey’s dad makes the evening routine fun by cooking great spaghetti, dressing up as Bathman, and pretending to be a barking dog.
Every Year on Your Birthday, by Rose A. Lewis. Illus. by Jane Dyer. 2007. New York: Brown, Little.
A mother shares thoughts and memories from her adopted Chinese daughter’s previous birthdays.
Everywhere Babies, by Susan Meyers. Illus. by Marla Frazee. 2001. San Diego: Harcourt.
Nursing, rocking, giggling, and growing—this book celebrates babies and all that they do.
The Family Book, by Todd Parr. 2003. New York: Little, Brown.
This colorful, lively story celebrates many different types of families, including stepfamilies, families with two moms or two dads, and single-parent families.
Fred Stays with Me! by Nancy Coffelt. Illus. by Tricia Tusa. 2007. New York: Little, Brown.
A little girl whose parents are divorced runs into trouble when her dog, Fred, starts misbehaving.
Has Anyone Seen My Emily Greene? by Norma Fox Mazer. Illus. by Christine Davenier. 2007. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press.
It’s time for lunch and the table is set, but Emily Greene is hiding. Will her father find her?
Heather Has Two Mommies, by Leslea Newman. Illus. by Diana Souza. 2000. Los Angeles: Alyson Wonderland.
In this now classic story, Heather, a preschooler with two moms, discovers that many of her friends have very different sorts of families.
Jamaica Tag-Along, by Juanita Havill. Illus. by Anne Sibley O’Brien. 1989. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Jamaica is hurt when her older brother doesn’t want her to tag along with him and his friends. But when she begins playing with a younger child, she learns an important lesson.
In Daddy’s Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers, by Javaka Steptoe. 1997. New York: Lee and Low Books.
This collection of poems honoring African American fathers won the 1998 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award.
Lots of Grandparents, by Shelley Rotner and Sheila Kelly. 2003. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook.
Full of photographs, this simple book celebrates many different kinds of grandparents.
Mystery Bottle, by Kristen Balouch. 2006. New York: Hyperion.
A young boy and his Iranian grandfather are brought together by a magic bottle.
My Hippie Grandmother, by Reeve Lindbergh. Illus. by Abby Carter. 2003. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press.
A little girl describes all the things she loves to do with her hippie grandmother—from selling veggies at the farmer’s market to picketing city hall.
On Mother’s Lap, by Ann Herbert Scott. Illus. by Glo Coalson. 1992. Clarion Books: New York.
An Eskimo boy learns that there is room for everyone on his mother’s lap, even his new baby sister.
Quinito, Day and Night, by Ina Cumpiano. Illus. by Jose Ramirez. 2008. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press.
In this bilingual book (English and Spanish), Quinito and his family introduce readers to the world of opposites.
Young Children articles
Bennett-Armistead, V.S., N.K. Duke, & A. Moses. 2007. Ideas for families: Materials for reading, A to Z. Beyond the Journal: Young Children on the Web, May 2007. Online: http://journal.naeyc.org/btj/200705.
Birckmayer, J., J. Cohen, I.D. Jensen, & D.A. Variano. 2005. Children’s books about family relationships and experiences. Beyond the Journal: Young Children on the Web, May 2005. Online: http://journal.naeyc.org/btj/200505.
Rowell, E. 2007. Missing! Picture books reflecting gay and lesbian families: Make the curriculum inclusive for all children. Young Children 62 (3): 24–30. Online: http://journal.naeyc.org/btj/200705.