Best Children's Books About Families

Our Favorite 35 Books to Read With Your Kids About Families

Updated Mar. 12, 2019

All families are different. The one thing they seem to have in common is a the desire to work together and help each other out in difficult times. This doesn't always happen right away, but most families learn through the course of events that life seems to work out best when we invest our hearts and minds into one another.

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles book
#1
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The Whangdoodle was once the wisest, the kindest, and the most extraordinary creature in the world. Then he disappeared and created a wonderful land for himself and all the other remarkable animals -- the ten-legged Sidewinders, the little furry Flukes, the friendly Whiffle Bird, and the treacherous, "oily" Prock. It was an almost perfect place where the last of the really great Whangdoodles could rule his kingdom with "peace, love and a sense of fun"-- apart from and forgotten by people. But not completely forgotten. Professor Savant believed in the Whangdoodle. And when he told the three Potter children of his search for the spectacular creature, Lindy, Tom, and Ben were eager to reach Whangdoodleland. With the Professor's help, they discovered the secret way. But waiting for them was the scheming Prock, who would use almost any means to keep them away from his beloved king. Only by skill and determination were the four travelers able to discover the last of the really great Whangdoodles and grant him his heart's desire. Julie Andrews Edwards, star of stage and screen, has written a unique and beloved story that has become a modern classic. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles is sure to continue to delight readers everywhere. This edition includes a new foreword by the author.

Little Oink book
#2
Little Oink
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Jen Corace
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Thoughts from The Goodfather

We love the story of Little Oink, which, like Amy Krouse Rosenthal's other "Little" titles, offers a clever take on common tendencies for most children: to want to eat candy, make messes, and not go to bed. The book is done well enough that even little readers pick up on the ironies of what mom and dad are asking of Little Oink, making for a fun family read.

Little Oink is a neat little fellow. Clean, clean, clean, that's all he wants to do. But Mama and Papa won't have it! They say in order to be a proper pig he has to learn to make a proper mess. What's a little pig to do? Now available as a board book, Little Oink shows Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Jen Corace applying their traditionally wry humor to the issue of cleaning up, in a laugh-out-loud romp that is sure to make readers giggle with recognition.

Little Pea book
#3
Little Pea
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Jen Corace
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Ten years ago, Amy Krouse Rosenthal burst into children's books with Little Pea, a book destined to become a classic. Her witty text about a little pea who won't eat his sweets combined with the whimsical yet warm hearted art by Jen Corace create a go-to baby gift, a hilarious read-aloud, and the perfect intervention for picky eaters.

Little Elliot, Big Family book
#4
Little Elliot, Big Family
Written and illustrated by Mike Curato
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

At Mouse's house, Elliot the elephant finds more than a friend--he finds a family.

Little Hoot book
#5
Little Hoot
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Jen Corace
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

It's not fair! All Little Owl wants is to go to bed at a reasonable hour, like his friends do. But Mama and Papa say little owls have to stay up late and play. So Little Owl spends all night jumping on his bed, playing on the jungle gym, and doing tricks on his skateboard—but he's hooting mad about it! Children who have a hard time going to bed will love this fun twist on the universal dilemma.

When Charlie McButton Lost Power book
#6
When Charlie McButton Lost Power
Written by Suzanne Collins and illustrated by Mike Lester
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Charlie McButton likes computer games so much, he never plays with anything else. When a thunderstorm knocks out the electricity, his tech empire comes tumbling down, and his whole world loses power. Charlie needs batteries?FAST! But the only triple- A?s he can find are in his little sister?s talking doll. Will he resort to desperate measures and cause his sister to have a meltdown of her own? Or will he snap out of his computer craze long enough to realize his sister might be fun, even if she doesn?t come with batteries? Collins and Lester team up for a hilarious and timely tale that will crack up young computer addicts and those who love them!

Best Friends: We Are A Family book
#7
Best Friends: We Are A Family
Written by Roger Priddy
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

Like peas in a pod, and leaves in a tree, we all belong to a family! Whether they are big, or whether they are small, this charming book shows young readers that there are all kinds of different families to be found in the world around us, from a bunch of balloons, to eggs in a box, and fingers on a hand. Designed with a mixture of photographs and fun illustrations to engage little ones and make them smile, there are cute rhymes to read and share in this celebration of family in its many forms.

Edmund Unravels book
#8
Edmund Unravels
Written and illustrated by Andrew Kolb
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

This delightful debut picture book celebrates both the joy of venturing into the unknown and the value of staying connected to loved ones back home. It stars a little ball of yarn who can’t resist the tug of adventure, the twists and turns of discovery, or the comfort of family and friends. Edmund is a ball of yarn and a ball of energy! From the time he could roll, he’s been bouncing down his front steps to explore, and his parents have always been right there to reel him in and roll him back up. But now that he’s bigger, Edmund is ready to discover the wonders of the world. Everything is new and exciting—but sometimes, even a little ball of yarn gets lonely, and there’s nothing better than the comfort of being around those he cares about.

Land Shark book
#9
Land Shark
Written by Beth Ferry and illustrated by Ben Mantle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

The only thing Bobby wants for his birthday is a pet shark. So you can imagine his disappointment when his parents get him...a puppy. Everyone knows shark lovers can never become dog lovers. Or can they? Full of humor and heart, this book explores the idea that sometimes, getting exactly what you don't want turns out to be exactly what you need.

Pigloo book
#10
Pigloo
Written by Anne Marie Pace and illustrated by Lorna Hussey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Pigloo is an explorer. His destination? The North Pole. Big sister Paisley has doubts about Pigloo's plan, but Pigloo knows that explorers have to be patient as well as brave. When Pigloo takes his sled to the top of a hill, he sets off on his expedition—with a little unexpected help. This sweet, expressively illustrated story shows that sometimes the greatest adventures are the ones that happen in your own backyard.

Mamasaurus book
#11
Mamasaurus
Written and illustrated by Stephan Lomp
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

This colorful and reassuring picture book follows Babysaurus on an adventure as he enlists his prehistoric friends to seek his Mamasaurus. Is his Mamasaurus the fastest in the jungle? No. Is she the loudest? No. Is she the best flyer? No! Of course, Mamasaurus has been right there all along. And when Babysaurus needs a little help, she is ready with a big hug and a sweet, leafy snack. For Babysaurus, his Mamasaurus is the best mamasaurus in the world! Stephan Lomp has illustrated several books in his native Germany, and in this debut as both author and artist, he has created a fresh twist on a perennial theme that will win the hearts of little ones and their mamas as they snuggle up to read a new favorite.

Wolfie the Bunny book
#12
Wolfie the Bunny
Written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Zachariah OHora
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Families of all kinds will delight in this sweet tale of new babies, sibling rivalry, bravery, unconditional love...and veggies! The Bunny family has adopted a wolf son, and daughter Dot is the only one who realizes Wolfie can--and might--eat them all up! Dot tries to get through to her parents, but they are too smitten to listen. A new brother takes getting used to, and when (in a twist of fate) it's Wolfie who's threatened, can Dot save the day?

Love Matters Most book
#13
Love Matters Most
Written by Mij Kelly and illustrated by Gerry Turley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Perfect for Valentine's Day and a heartwarming read for the cold winter months, this cozy animal story explores the universal theme of a mother's love for her child. When a polar bear leaves the safety and warmth of her cave to travel all over a frozen wonderland, she must be looking for something very important. Could it be delicious silver salmon? A view of the swirling winter sky? A bit of gold? Of course, she is in search of the most precious thing of all: her lost little cub. In this touching story, readers will instantly be enamored with the sweeping illustrations of winter landscapes, endearing polar bear characters, and the resonant message that a mother's love matters most.

Rabbit Pie book
#14
Rabbit Pie
Written and illustrated by Penny Ives
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

The perfect recipe for bedtime! Six adorable rabbits are just one ingredient needed for sweet Rabbit Pie! Combine with a sprinkling of kisses and some warm milk for the ideal bedtime story. Told like a recipe, with delightful illustrations showing the preparations for bedtime, this charming picture book will enchant parents and children alike. With a sturdy board book format that will withstand plenty of use by babies and younger children this new format edition of an already popular title makes the perfect addition to any bookshelf!

How to Babysit a Grandma book
#15
How to Babysit a Grandma
Written by Jean Reagan and illustrated by Lee Wildish
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-8

Celebrate the special bond between grandmas and grandkids in this delightful book that puts the kids in charge of taking care of Grandma...if just for one day.

Only One You book
#16
Only One You
Written and illustrated by Linda Kranz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Lemony Snickers

Only One You is a cute picture book. The illustrations are fun, clever, and colorful. Its pages are filled mostly with simple, powerful life advice, like "know when to listen," "don't be afraid to go against the crowd," and other pearls of wisdom people your high school valedictorian probably repeated when they spoke at graduation. In this case, these short cliches are given by parents reminding their child to do good as they go out into the world. There isn't a plot to the story, but the cute illustrations help to give a little life to the platitudes.

Adri promises to remember his parents' words of wisdom about how to live his life, such as "Find your own way. You don't have to follow the crowd" and "Make wishes on the stars in the nighttime sky."

Famously Phoebe book
#17
Famously Phoebe
Written by Lori Alexander and illustrated by Aurelie Blard-Quintard
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Phoebe was the shining star of her family. Then someone came along to take her place. For as long as Phoebe can remember, she’s known the clickety click click of a photographer snapping her picture. Thanks to the camera-carrying “paparazzi” (aka Mom and Dad), she’s always been the star of the show . . . until the day a tiny newcomer arrives on set. Will Phoebe learn to share the spotlight and assume the role she was born to play: big sister? This sweet tale of sibling rivalry resolved is perfect for every older brother and sister.

Alma and How She Got Her Name book
#18
Alma and How She Got Her Name
Written and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

What's in a name? For one little girl, her very long name tells the vibrant story of where she came from -- and who she may one day be. If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to Daddy for an answer and learns of Sofia, the grandmother who loved books and flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; Jose, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes, too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all -- and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell. In her author-illustrator debut, Juana Martinez-Neal opens a treasure box of discovery for children who may be curious about their own origin stories or names.

Cuckoo! book
#19
Cuckoo!
Written and illustrated by Fiona Roberton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Cuckoo hatches. And all is well. But when his brothers and sisters sing out Too-too-weet! Too-too-weet! Cuckoo instead chirps Cuckoo! and no one can understand him. When he leaves his nest, Cuckoo still can’t find anyone who speaks his language. He tries to communicate with the other animals—coomooing and buckooing and cabooing along the way—but he doesn’t sound like anyone else out there! Just when he thinks all is lost, Cuckoo finds an unlikely friend who understands him perfectly.

Pablo in the Snow book
#20
Pablo in the Snow
Written by Teri Sloat and illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

What is soft, fluffy, and white? Pablo’s wool, of course. But this little lamb soon discovers that there’s something else as well: SNOW! From making trails to sledding with friends, having snowball fights and crafting snowmen, there’s tons of fun to be had in the snow. But winter days grow dark very fast, and Pablo finds himself lost on his way home. Not to worry―Mama and Papa help Pablo get back to the cozy barn so he can talk about his adventures.

Bear Likes Jam book
#21
Bear Likes Jam
Written and illustrated by Ciara Gavin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

In their blended family, Mama Duck worries when Bear eats too much jam, but when the ducklings play a game with their vegetables, Bear starts to eat the strange green things on his plate.

Daddy Honk Honk! book
#22
Daddy Honk Honk!
Written and illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

An arctic fox adopts a baby goose in this heartwarming read-aloud perfect for dads and their little ones When Aput the fox finds an abandoned goose egg, he has no idea what’s in store for him. He doesn’t know anything about babies and he certainly doesn’t know what to do when the gosling hatches and mistakes him for its daddy. So he decides to find the gosling a home. But with each page turn, Aput learns more about caring for a baby and, with a little help from his friends, he discovers what a baby needs most is love.

Baby Love book
#23
Baby Love
Written by Angela DiTerlizzi and illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

This cozy and cuddly picture book celebrates all the most wonderful things about babies and is perfect for reading aloud to little ones. Rosy cheeks. Button nose. Little fingers. Tiny toes. Sweet kiss. Warm hug. Yes, it must be baby love. Anyone who has ever delighted in a baby’s bright smile or darling toes will instantly connect to this adorable picture book with simple text and adorable illustrations. With just the right balance of sweetness and humor, this is a soothing ode to all the wonderful bits and pieces that make up a cuddly, snuggly baby.

And Tango Makes Three book
#24
And Tango Makes Three
Written by Peter Parnell, Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The heartwarming true story of two penguins who create a nontraditional family is now available in a sturdy board book edition. At the penguin house at the Central Park Zoo, two penguins named Roy and Silo were a little bit different from the others. But their desire for a family was the same. And with the help of a kindly zookeeper, Roy and Silo got the chance to welcome a baby penguin of their very own.

Bringing in the New Year book
#25
Bringing in the New Year
Written and illustrated by Grace Lin
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

A Chinese American family prepares for and celebrates the Lunar New Year, in a book that includes endnotes discussing the customs and traditions of the Chinese New Year.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.