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Blended Families: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about blended families?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to blended families. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about blended families.

Our list includes picture books and chapter books. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about blended families, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Two Naomis to popular sellers like Sarah, Plain and Tall.

We hope this list of kids books about blended families can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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The Willoughbys Return
Written by Lois Lowry
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

It’s been 30 years and with rising temperatures melting icy mountain tops the previously frozen Willoughbys have thawed out and are about to return! From living legend and Newbery medalist Lois Lowry comes a hilarious sequel to New York Times bestseller The Willoughbys – soon to be an animated film starring Ricky Gervais, Maya Rudolph, Terry Crews, Martin Short, Jane Krakowski, and Sean Cullen on Netflix!
 Although they grew up as wretched orphans, the Willoughby siblings also became heirs to the the Melanoff candy company fortune. Everything has turned out just splendidly, except for one problem: Richie Willoughby, son of Timothy Willoughby, is an only child and is quite lonely.

Winifred and Winston Poore have long admired the toys of their neighbor Richie Willoughby and finally befriend the mysterious boy next door. But just as Richie finally begins to make friends, selling sweets is made illegal, and the family’s fortune is put in jeopardy. To make matters worse, Richie’s horrible Willoughby grandparents—frozen atop a Swiss mountain thirty years ago—have thawed, remain in perfect health, and are making their way home again. 

What is the point of being the reclusive son of a billionaire when your father is no longer a billionaire? What is the future without candy in it? And is there any escaping the odiousness of the Willoughbys? These are the profound questions with which Newbery medalist and ignominious author Lois Lowry grapples in The Willoughbys Return.

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A Field Guide to Getting Lost
Written & illustrated by Joy McCullough
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A girl with a passion for science and a boy who dreams of writing fantasy novels must figure out how to get along now that their parents are dating in this lively, endearing novel.

Sutton is having robot problems. Her mini-bot is supposed to be able to get through a maze in under a minute, but she must have gotten something wrong in the coding. Which is frustrating for a science-minded girl like Sutton—almost as frustrating as the fact that her mother probably won’t be home in time for Sutton’s tenth birthday.

Luis spends his days writing thrilling stories about brave kids, but there’s only so much inspiration you can find when you’re stuck inside all day. He’s allergic to bees, afraid of dogs, and has an overprotective mom to boot. So Luis can only dream of daring adventures in the wild.

Sutton and Luis couldn’t be more different from each other. Except now that their parents are dating, these two have to find some common ground. Will they be able to navigate their way down a path they never planned on exploring?

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Marianna May and Nursey
Written & illustrated by Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this reissue of Tomie dePaola’s charming 1983 classic Marianna May and Nursey, a family works together to make sure Marianna May can make the most of her summer.

Marianna May’s Nursey likes to dress her in white, which means Marianna May isn’t allowed to roll in the grass, or make mud pies, or eat orange ice and strawberry ice cream, or paint pictures because her clothes could get messy. But Marianna May doesn’t want to waste her summer staying clean on the porch.

Can she and her family figure out a way for her to have fun without worrying about her clothes?

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All the Ways Home
Written by Elsie Chapman
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Sometimes, home isn’t where you expect to find it. After losing his mom in a fatal car crash, Kaede Hirano–now living with a grandfather who is more stranger than family–developed anger issues and spent his last year of middle school acting out. Best-friendless and critically in danger repeating the seventh grade, Kaede is given a summer assignment: write an essay about what home means to him, which will be even tougher now that he’s on his way to Japan to reconnect with his estranged father and older half-brother. Still, if there’s a chance Kaede can finally build a new family from an old one, he’s willing to try. But building new relationships isn’t as easy as destroying his old ones, and one last desperate act will change the way Kaede sees everyone–including himself. This is a book about what home means to us—and that there are many different correct answers.

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Apple Pie Promises
Written by Hillary Homzie
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Lily has lived with her mom since her parents got divorced several years ago, and her dad has recently remarried to a woman with a daughter her age named Hannah. But now, Lily’s mom has gotten a once-in-a-lifetime work opportunity in Morocco and will be gone for a year, so Lily is moving in with her dad–and new stepmom and stepsister. It’ll be as easy as apple pie, right?

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  • Juana and Lucas: Big Problemas - When her mami meets someone new, Juana worries that everything will change in a humorous, heartwarming follow-up to the Pura Belpré Award-winning Juana & Lucas. Juana’s life is just about perfect. She lives in the beautiful city of Bogotá with her two most favorite people in the world: her mami and her dog, Lucas. Lately, though, things have become a little less perfect. Mami has a new hairdo and a new amigo named Luis with whom she has been spending a LOT of time. He is kind and teaches Juana about things like photography and jazz music, but sometimes Juana can’t help wishing things would go back to the way they were before. When Mami announces that she and Luis are getting married and that they will all be moving to a new casa, Juana is quite distraught. Lucky for her, though, some things will never change – like how much Mami loves her. Based on author-illustrator Juana Medina’s own childhood in Colombia, this joyful series is sure to resonate with readers of all ages.

  • To Night Owl from Dogfish - Unhappy about being sent to the same summer camp after their fathers start dating, Bett and Avery, eleven, eventually begin scheming to get the couple back together after a break-up. Told entirely through text messages.

  • Double Play - Allie loves baseball. It’s the one thing that has been consistent in her lately complicated life. Allie’s father left recently, and now Allie has a new family – her mother’s new girlfriend, Phyllis, and son Miles have moved in. It’s taking some adjustment, mostly because Miles seems determined to get under her skin. Things start looking up when Allie gets invited to join the boy’s baseball team as their new pitcher. But then Miles announces he’s quitting the boy’s team and tries out for Allie’s old team – a girl’s team! Allie is sure he’s doing it just to annoy her, but Miles insists that he just likes the girl’s style of play better. As Allie struggles to find her place on the boy’s team, she starts to see that Miles is just trying to fit in as well, and that it may be even harder for him than it has been for her.

  • Ella's Big Chance: A Jazz-Age Cinderella - The classic story of Cinderella gains even more charm in this glamorous retelling by world-famous picture book writer and illustrator Shirley Hughes. Ella Cinders loves helping her father in his dress shop and laughing with her friend Buttons, the store’s delivery boy. Then comes the terrible day when her father remarries and everything changes. Her stepmother makes her sew in the dreary basement. Her stepsisters mock her shabby dress. And to top it off, the new Mrs. Cinders forbids Ella to attend the duke’s grand ball. Heartbroken, Ella is sure that her life will never be what she dreamed. But with the help of a fairy godmother and some sparkling courage of her own, this Cinderella discovers that dreams can come true in the most unexpected of ways. Join Ella amidst the dazzle and fashion of the roaring twenties as she takes happily ever after into her own hands!

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Blended
Written by Sharon Draper
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Eleven-year-old Isabella’s blended family is more divided than ever in this thoughtful story about divorce and racial identity from the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Out of My Mind, Sharon M. Draper. Eleven-year-old Isabella’s parents are divorced, so she has to switch lives every week: One week she’s Isabella with her dad, his girlfriend Anastasia, and her son Darren living in a fancy house where they are one of the only black families in the neighborhood. The next week she’s Izzy with her mom and her boyfriend John-Mark in a small, not-so-fancy house that she loves. Because of this, Isabella has always felt pulled between two worlds. And now that her parents are divorced, it seems their fights are even worse, and they’re always about HER. Isabella feels even more stuck in the middle, split and divided between them than ever. And she’s is beginning to realize that being split between Mom and Dad is more than switching houses, switching nicknames, switching backpacks: it’s also about switching identities. Her dad is black, her mom is white, and strangers are always commenting: “You’re so exotic!” “You look so unusual.” “But what are you really?” She knows what they’re really saying: “You don’t look like your parents.” “You’re different.” “What race are you really?” And when her parents, who both get engaged at the same time, get in their biggest fight ever, Isabella doesn’t just feel divided, she feels ripped in two. What does it mean to be half white or half black? To belong to half mom and half dad? And if you’re only seen as half of this and half of that, how can you ever feel whole? It seems like nothing can bring Isabella’s family together again—until the worst happens. Isabella and Darren are stopped by the police. A cell phone is mistaken for a gun. And shots are fired.

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Two Naomis
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A realistic contemporary story of two girls whose divorced parents begin to date—perfect for fans of Lisa Graff, Sara Pennypacker, and Rita Williams-Garcia.

Other than their first names, Naomi Marie and Naomi Edith are sure they have nothing in common, and they wouldn’t mind keeping it that way.

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The Ring Bearer
Written & illustrated by Floyd Cooper
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Mama’s getting married, and Jackson has an important job to do! A story about love, weddings, and the special joy that is a blended family.

Jackson’s mama is getting married, and he gets to be the ring bearer. But Jackson is worried . . . What if he trips? Or walks too slowly? Or drops the rings? And what about his new stepsister, Sophie? She’s supposed to be the flower girl, but Jackson’s not sure she’s taking her job as seriously as she should.

In a celebration of blended families, this heartwarming story, stunningly illustrated by the award-winning Floyd Cooper, is a perfect gift for any child who’s nervous to walk down the aisle at a wedding, and shows kids that they can handle life’s big changes.

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Tru & Nelle: A Christmas Tale
Written by Greg Neri & illustrated by Sarah Watts
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Young Truman Capote thought life in New York City was going to be perfect, but things didn’t work out as planned. In fact, Tru is downright miserable. So he decides to run away to Monroeville, Alabama, and the only friend he’s ever had, Nelle Harper Lee. But things don’t go well there, either. Bad things seem to happen wherever he goes. The only explanation: he must be cursed.

Christmas is coming, and Tru’s only wish is to be happy. But it’ll take a miracle for that to come true. Luckily, a special feast brings the miracle he’s hoping for. Tru and Nelle: A Christmas Tale is based on the real life friendship of Truman Capote and Harper Lee.

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Katie Cox Vs. the Boy Band
Written & illustrated by Marianne Levy
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

Katie Cox never meant to become a pop star. And she didn’t mean to start a war with Karamel (a.k.a. the World’s Cheesiest Boy Band). Now her first concert is just days away. Cool? Maybe. But with her school friends more interested in her fame than her feelings, and an army of Karamel fans ready to take her down, this battle goes way beyond the charts.

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  • Little Gold Star: A Spanish American Cinderella Tale - Blessed Mary rewards Teresa’s good deeds with a shining gold star. Later she punishes Teresa’s unkind stepsisters, Isabel and Inez, with hideous horns and donkey’s ears that they try to hide under heavy veils! But will Teresa outshine her stepsisters at the festival? Robert D. San Souci retells this popular folktale in a lilting narrative that includes all the magic of the beloved Cinderella story and traditional elements from Spanish tales. Luminous watercolors by Sergio Martinez accentuate the beauty and goodness that radiate from Little Gold Star.

  • Sarah, Plain and Tall - This beloved Newbery Medal–winning book is the first of five books in Patricia MacLachlan’s chapter book series about the Witting family. Set in the late nineteenth century and told from young Anna’s point of view, Sarah, Plain and Tall tells the story of how Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton comes from Maine to the prairie to answer Papa’s advertisement for a wife and mother. Before Sarah arrives, Anna and her younger brother Caleb wait and wonder. Will Sarah be nice? Will she sing? Will she stay? This children’s literature classic is perfect for fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie books, historical fiction, and timeless stories using rich and beautiful language. Sarah, Plain and Tall gently explores themes of abandonment, loss and love. This anniversary edition includes author Patricia MacLachlan’s Newbery speech, a discussion guide, and a reading list. Read the rest of the Sarah books by Patricia MacLachlan: Skylark, Caleb’s Story, More Perfect than the Moon, and Grandfather’s Dance.

  • Prince and Pirate - When two little fish with big personalities have to share the same tank, there are rough seas ahead! Prince and Pirate are proud masters of their very own fishbowls, and life goes along swimmingly—until they’re scooped up and plopped into shared waters. Prince is horrified to find this cheeky cod trespassing in his kingdom. Pirate is sure this scurvy sea slug has come to plunder his treasure. Thus, a battle of regal sneers, seaworthy stink-eyes, and off-the-hook insults begins.
    Prince and Pirate’s hilarious duel for territory will elicit gales of giggles, hearty guffaws, and heartfelt smiles. Just when it seems their struggle might end in a silly stalemate, a little surprise convinces them to find a way to get along—swimmingly.

  • Switcharound - “Lowry fans will not be disappointed.” —_School Library Journal_   Caroline and J.P.’s father has asked them to come visit him and his new wife in Des Moines, Iowa. They don’t really want to go, but they also don’t have a say in the matter. Upon arriving, they discover they each have unexpected and unpleasant responsibilites. Caroline has to babysit their baby twin sisters and J.P. is forced to coach baseball to a bunch of six-year-olds.  The two decide to call a truce in their continual sibling warfare and help each other out. They soon discover there’s strength in numbers—and a little responsibility isn’t always a bad thing.

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