Top children’s books for single parents

by singlemomseeking on December 17, 2010

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–

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.

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

It’s about abandonment, perseverance, overcoming real obstacles, loyalty, and ultimately about joy.

5. Do I Have a Daddy? by Jeanne Warren Lindsay

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.

~~~

Please add your feedback — and add any children’s book titles I’ve left out!

(Dads, please chime in, too!)


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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

SingleParentDad December 17, 2008 at 1:04 pm

I suppose I could read him the Sleepless in Seattle script,or failing that get them to serialise Nemo.

I haven’t really looked for books tailored to our situation, yet I have casually looked at books dealing with behreavement without actually buying anything.

I don’t know if it is just me, but I quite like to read stories with 2.4 families in, to encourage my son to strive to be a good man and be part of a loving family.

SingleParentDad´s last blog post…Winners

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Erin December 17, 2008 at 1:39 pm

What a great list! Thank you!

Erin´s last blog post…School on Yule and my top 5 favorite Christmas songs

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T December 17, 2008 at 1:39 pm

I like this idea. I never thought to look for books like this! Thank you for the suggestions.

Thankfully, my ex is still so active in my children’s lives that when asked to draw their family, they still include him.

I am blessed.

T´s last blog post…Pondering the Orgasm

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Mike December 17, 2008 at 3:02 pm

Interesting. I never thought about looking around for that kind of book. I researched and read a lot about being a long distance Dad and divorce for kids. However a kids book on the subject went over my head.

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dadshouse December 17, 2008 at 7:39 pm

I seem to remember one book for kids that talked about two-home families. My kids never really enjoyed it. I ended up just reading them classics that every kid reads. Though any kids book that had stereotypical language about moms raising kids, with no mention of dad, were banned from my house! I of course explained my actions to the kids, so they could learn at an early age not to let the media manpulate their thoughts (not really, but sort of.)

Your list looks like a good one.

dadshouse´s last blog post…Sexy and Funny Dating Stories

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Crazy Computer Dad December 17, 2008 at 8:03 pm

I thought Horton Hatches an Egg was about a single dad. :-)

It should be, it should be, it should be like that.

Crazy Computer Dad´s last blog post…I crossed a huge milestone today…

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Bad Mummy December 17, 2008 at 8:04 pm

We have a copy of Claire Masurel’s Two Homes that Mook just adores. Its focus is on a child who has two homes – one with mummy, one with daddy. Great for parents who are co-parenting with shared custody/residency.

Bad Mummy´s last blog post…Genetics and all that crap

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judy December 17, 2008 at 8:16 pm

Hazel’s Amazing Mom is a fave of my which exemplifies what a mom does

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Wondermom December 18, 2008 at 7:31 am

Exactly what I’ve been looking for! THANK YOU!

Wondermom´s last blog post…The Upside of Divorce

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Attainingme December 18, 2008 at 7:54 am

Great post. I think given the current climate, books are truly an amazing gift. Books that are instrumental, life changing, motivation or just a great escape are something that we could all use.

Thank you!!!!

Attainingme´s last blog post…Those dresses . . . inhibiting our end.

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Katherine (SOLO dot MOM) December 18, 2008 at 8:28 am

Great post… thanks for this list!

Katherine (SOLO dot MOM)´s last blog post…The Family Christmas Pic

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Veronica Dylan December 18, 2008 at 8:58 am

How about LOVE YOU FOREVER by Robert Munsch. It is about a mother’s love.
Tune into my humorous blog (SO OVER YOU) for my thoughts on surviving after divorce:
http://www.divorcenetwork.com/profiles/blog/list?user=18w3csbt0xfl9g
Happy holidays, Veronica Dylan

Veronica Dylan´s last blog post…Testing the Waters With Clearly New Behavior

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singlemomseeking December 18, 2008 at 10:45 am

I really appreciate hearing about the books I haven’t found yet, like “Hazel’s Amazing Mom” and “Two Homes.” Thanks!

Dad’s House, so many of the Disney classic stories are about single dads — with a dead/evil mom.

SingleParentDad: Oh, yes, we have tons of books about traditional families — with a mom and a dad. I also read them… but I’d love to paint the whole picture in storybooks, if possible. (Right now, we’re reading all the Beverly Clearly books._

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SDMktg December 18, 2008 at 11:20 am

SMS I think you are right about Disney. Walt must have had issues.

As for books, I read my kids “Guess How Much I Love You” when they were babies and it took on even stronger meaning after the divorce.

I also bought “It’s Not Your Fault Koko Bear”, “Because Your Daddy Loves You” by Andrew Clements, “My Dad Can Do Anything” by Stephen Krensky, “Two Homes” by Claire Masurel, they like reading so I’ve also bought them plenty of other books and recently started reading Pirates of the Caribbean books for my son and The Wizard of Oz for my daughter. They both sit on the couch and listen.

There are a lot more books for dads now, especially around Father’s Day at the book store, but you do have to review them to find ones your kids (and you) will enjoy.

SDMktg´s last blog post…Tailgating At the Mall? Freedom Grill Scott Free

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Singleworkingmama December 19, 2008 at 2:30 am

I think I’d have to write my own book to cover our scenario. :-)

I try very hard to maintain the concept of “we’re still a family” for the kids, even though we are (ahem) divorced for a reason.

Singleworkingmama´s last blog post…Stuck in the Middle – When your kids feel torn.

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Michelle January 3, 2009 at 5:54 pm

There is an excellent children’s book called Other People’s Shoes. It does a great job of teaching kids the importance of kindness inside of a very captivating story. You should check it out! Here is a link: http://www.eloquentbooks.com/otherpeoplesshoes.html

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S. Trudell March 31, 2011 at 3:25 pm

My Super Single Mum by Bronny Fallens & Muntsa Vicente

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Bronny Fallens May 22, 2011 at 2:11 am

Thanks to S. Trudell for mentioning my children’s book – My Super Single Mum! I send the book internationally, it’s available on Kindle and in all good bookstores in Australia. It tells the story of a little girl and her mum enjoying their day to day life.

It’s just mum and me
And that’s ok
We have so much fun
Just her and me everyday

Beautiful illustrations and a message love, safety and security and that it’s just as normal to have one mum as to have two parents.

The book is part of a larger series titled ‘My Super Family’ which looks at all different shapes and sizes and makeup of family situations.

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Jess June 15, 2011 at 9:05 pm

It would be so great if there was a book about moms who choose to have children by themselves (single mothers by choice, women who do insemination). Where there is no daddy, no divorce, possible a donor, or maybe not. Eventually there will be.

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singlemomseeking June 16, 2011 at 10:08 am

@Jess: I couldn’t agree with you more. Choice Moms, is there a favorite book that you read to your kids?

And Jess, if you haven’t seen our post today at Singlemommyhood for Choice Moms who worry about the Daddy question, have a look here. Thanks!

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SingleMomMarie July 9, 2011 at 7:20 pm

I Promise: A Mother’s Poem to Her Son by Bridget Batson is PERFECT for single mothers!! In this book, the mother does everything from teaching her son football, plumbing after he flushes his toys down the potty, and manages the finances.
http://www.amazon.com/Promise-Mothers-Poem-Her-Son/dp/0981623514

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Lindsay McColl October 13, 2011 at 5:22 pm

I was told to read “Dinosaurs Divorce” by Marc Brown and Laurie Krasny Brown. It became a great way to explain things to my three children and also helped prepare them for the changes we would face in the future.

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SuperMom November 3, 2011 at 1:55 am

Please look up this children’s book about a single mother.

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Anita November 5, 2011 at 11:11 am

I just finished my first manuscript for a picture book about single parenting and how hard it is for the child.
Thank you for including these books. It really helped in my research for the query letter. How wonderful that there are authors out there focusing on the “hard to tackle” subjects for children. I will definitely be using some of them to help my kids understand. Again, Thank you!

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LandrysMomma October 12, 2012 at 7:50 am

I love all the book suggestions. Rachel, I just read your book and couldn’t put it down. It had me laughing out loud in bed. Thanks for giving all the single moms out there a “voice”. My daughter is only 5 months old and her father hasn’t been around since month 4 of the pregnancy, and most every parenting/pregnancy book includes the father so it was nice to have someone I can at least somewhat relate to. I am so happy for you that your journey led you to happiness, it is very encouraging and inspiring to a lot of us :)

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njmomof2 October 28, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Im a young single mom of 2 toddler boys and id love to find a book about that. my kids need stories about how a mom can love more than one child without a dad. my 3 yr old is way to smart and he tells me only i can love him and daddy has to love brother. even though he was 9 months when his father left after only being involved for 5 months. if anyone knows of a book please let me know.

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Mary O'Connor December 4, 2012 at 9:19 am

I have a book out there on Amazon for single parents and want to get the word out about it. Our parents in co-parenting classes use it each week and say it is wonderful, so I wouldn’t be telling you about it if it weren’t a helpful tool for single parents. Please feel free to contact us for partnerships on the Parenting Solo experience.
http://www.amazon.com/Parenting-Solo-Guidebook-Single-Parents/dp/0979147425

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amomontherun May 2, 2013 at 6:00 pm

A great single mom book that my daughter loves is “Library Lily” by Gillian Shields. It isn’t about a single mom per se, but it is about a little girl who loves books, and her mother, who takes her to the library. (While I’m not a single mom, it also has been a hit with the kids of some of the single moms I know.) The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Mead is a great mom-child book, and Guess How Much I Love You is great for dads (sorry, I think someone else already mentioned that one). Another one of my daughter’s favorites is “My Mom Has X-Ray Vision” by Angela McCallister (featuring a little boy named Matthew and his super-hero mom). Happy reading!

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Amber August 14, 2014 at 9:51 am

So glad to see this post! Am going through the book suggestions.. But in case I miss or someone knows, is there a book about a single mom raising her son? I see a lot about moms raising girls, but we have sons too sometime :p

Or, even a single mom living with her mom raising her son.. Lol. Which is my situation presently.

My 2 1/2 year old son has been playing ‘family’ with his toys since he was 2.. and now all of his toys have daddys and it’s starting to make him sad :( I don’t encourage nor discourage.. Will be ordering a few books soon as possible.

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