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Single-parent Families: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about single-parent families?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to single-parent 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 single-parent 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, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about single-parent families, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Seeing Stone to popular sellers like A Monster Calls.

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

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Top 10 Books About Single-parent Families

#1
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A Thousand Questions
Written by Saadia Faruqi
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Set against the backdrop of Karachi, Pakistan, Saadia Faruqi’s tender and honest middle grade novel tells the story of two girls navigating a summer of change and family upheaval with kind hearts, big dreams, and all the right questions.

Mimi is not thrilled to be spending her summer in Karachi, Pakistan, with grandparents she’s never met. Secretly, she wishes to find her long-absent father, and plans to write to him in her beautiful new journal.

The cook’s daughter, Sakina, still hasn’t told her parents that she’ll be accepted to school only if she can improve her English test score—but then, how could her family possibly afford to lose the money she earns working with her Abba in a rich family’s kitchen?

Although the girls seem totally incompatible at first, as the summer goes on, Sakina and Mimi realize that they have plenty in common—and that they each need the other to get what they want most. 

This relatable and empathetic story about two friends coming to understand each other will resonate with readers who loved Other Words for Home and Front Desk

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#2
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Running Wild
Written by Lucy Jane Bledsoe
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Twelve-year-old Willa and her twin brothers have survived with their father in the Alaskan wilderness for five years. But Willa knows this can’t go on–they must escape.

Since their mother died five years ago, Willa, her younger brothers, and her father have lived in the wilderness, in a log cabin they built. They survive on food they grow and animals they hunt. Every year they have struggled a little bit more to survive. Now, with winter approaching and her father becoming more reckless, Willa wonders if they will live to see spring. She also knows her father will never agree to leave. When her father goes on a hunting expedition by himself, Willa convinces her brothers that they must make the four-day journey down the Yukon River to Fort Yukon to get help. But first, they’ll need to survive the treacherous trip…and all the while, their father is on their trail. Perfect for middle grade readers looking for adventure stories with strong female protagonists, Lucy Jane Bledsoe’s Running Wild is a page-turner that hooks you from the beginning and doesn’t let go.

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#3
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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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#4
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Martin McLean, Middle School Queen
Written by Alyssa Zaczek
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Seventh-grader Martin McLean has trouble expressing himself except at Mathletes competitions and now, as a female impersonator but his first-ever drag show falls on the same night as an important Mathletes tournament.

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#5
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Caterpillar Summer
Written by Gillian McDunn
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Cat and her brother Chicken have always had a very special bond. When Chicken has a “meltdown”, Cat’s the one who scratches his back and reads his favorite story. She’s always knows what he needs. Since their mom has had to work double-hard to keep their family afloat after their father passed away, Cat is the glue holding her family together. When a summer trip doesn’t go as planned, Cat and Chicken end up spending three weeks with grandparents they’ve never met. With their help, Cat can be a kid again for the first time in years, and the journey she takes shows that even the most broken relationships can be healed if people take the time to walk in one another’s shoes. Perfect for fans of Lynda Mullaly Hunt and Ali Benjamin, this special novel features an unforgettable voice and is brimming with heart.

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#6
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Home in the Woods
Written & illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
This stunningly beautiful picture book from New York Times bestselling author-illustrator Eliza Wheeler is based on her grandmother's childhood and pays homage to a family's fortitude as they discover the meaning of home.
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#7
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Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Sometimes a story comes along that just plain makes you want to hug the world. The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise is Dan Gemeinhart's finest book yet -- and that's saying something. Your heart needs this joyful miracle of a book. --Katherine Applegate, acclaimed author of The One and Only Ivan and Wishtree

A 2020 ILA Teachers' Choice
A 2019 Parents' Choice Award Gold Medal Winner
Winner of the 2019 CYBILS Award for Middle Grade Fiction
An Amazon Top 20 Children's Book of 2019

A Junior Library Guild Selection

Five years.

That's how long Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have lived on the road in an old school bus, criss-crossing the nation.

It's also how long ago Coyote lost her mom and two sisters in a car crash.

Coyote hasn't been home in all that time, but when she learns that the park in her old neighborhood is being demolished--the very same park where she, her mom, and her sisters buried a treasured memory box--she devises an elaborate plan to get her dad to drive 3,600 miles back to Washington state in four days...without him realizing it.

Along the way, they'll pick up a strange crew of misfit travelers. Lester has a lady love to meet. Salvador and his mom are looking to start over. Val needs a safe place to be herself. And then there's Gladys...

Over the course of thousands of miles, Coyote will learn that going home can sometimes be the hardest journey of all...but that with friends by her side, she just might be able to turn her "once upon a time" into a "happily ever after."

This title has common core connections.

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#8
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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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#9
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The Penderwicks in Spring
Written by Jeanne Birdsall
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

With over one million copies sold, this series of modern classics about the charming Penderwick family, from National Book Award winner and New York Times bestseller Jeanne Birdsall, is perfect for fans of Noel Streatfeild and Edward Eager.

Springtime is finally arriving on Gardam Street, and there are surprises in store for each member of the family.

Some surprises are just wonderful, like neighbor Nick Geiger coming home from war. And some are ridiculous, like Batty’s new dog-walking business. Batty is saving up her dog-walking money for an extra-special surprise for her family, which she plans to present on her upcoming birthday. But when some unwelcome surprises make themselves known, the best-laid plans fall apart.

Filled with all the heart, hilarity, and charm that has come to define this beloved clan, The Penderwicks in Spring is about fun and family and friends (and dogs), and what happens when you bring what’s hidden into the bright light of the spring sun.

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#10
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Mindy Kim and the Birthday Puppy
Written by Lyla Lee & illustrated by Dung Ho
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
Fresh off the Boat meets Junie B. Jones in this third novel in an adorable chapter book series about Mindy Kim, a young Asian American girl who wants a puppy for her birthday!
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Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Single-parent Families and...

Books About Single-parent Families and Siblings

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Running Wild
Written by Lucy Jane Bledsoe
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Twelve-year-old Willa and her twin brothers have survived with their father in the Alaskan wilderness for five years. But Willa knows this can’t go on–they must escape.

Since their mother died five years ago, Willa, her younger brothers, and her father have lived in the wilderness, in a log cabin they built. They survive on food they grow and animals they hunt. Every year they have struggled a little bit more to survive. Now, with winter approaching and her father becoming more reckless, Willa wonders if they will live to see spring. She also knows her father will never agree to leave. When her father goes on a hunting expedition by himself, Willa convinces her brothers that they must make the four-day journey down the Yukon River to Fort Yukon to get help. But first, they’ll need to survive the treacherous trip…and all the while, their father is on their trail. Perfect for middle grade readers looking for adventure stories with strong female protagonists, Lucy Jane Bledsoe’s Running Wild is a page-turner that hooks you from the beginning and doesn’t let go.

Buy book
$16.99
Bookshop
$14.44
Amazon
$14.49
Used $2.03
Prices as of Jan 18
Add to list
Caterpillar Summer
Written by Gillian McDunn
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Cat and her brother Chicken have always had a very special bond. When Chicken has a “meltdown”, Cat’s the one who scratches his back and reads his favorite story. She’s always knows what he needs. Since their mom has had to work double-hard to keep their family afloat after their father passed away, Cat is the glue holding her family together. When a summer trip doesn’t go as planned, Cat and Chicken end up spending three weeks with grandparents they’ve never met. With their help, Cat can be a kid again for the first time in years, and the journey she takes shows that even the most broken relationships can be healed if people take the time to walk in one another’s shoes. Perfect for fans of Lynda Mullaly Hunt and Ali Benjamin, this special novel features an unforgettable voice and is brimming with heart.

Buy book
$16.99
Bookshop
$14.44
Amazon
$14.00
Used $2.50
Prices as of Jan 18
Add to list
The Penderwicks in Spring
Written by Jeanne Birdsall
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

With over one million copies sold, this series of modern classics about the charming Penderwick family, from National Book Award winner and New York Times bestseller Jeanne Birdsall, is perfect for fans of Noel Streatfeild and Edward Eager.

Springtime is finally arriving on Gardam Street, and there are surprises in store for each member of the family.

Some surprises are just wonderful, like neighbor Nick Geiger coming home from war. And some are ridiculous, like Batty’s new dog-walking business. Batty is saving up her dog-walking money for an extra-special surprise for her family, which she plans to present on her upcoming birthday. But when some unwelcome surprises make themselves known, the best-laid plans fall apart.

Filled with all the heart, hilarity, and charm that has come to define this beloved clan, The Penderwicks in Spring is about fun and family and friends (and dogs), and what happens when you bring what’s hidden into the bright light of the spring sun.

Buy book
$7.99
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$6.79
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$7.99
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Honorable Mentions
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  1. The Penderwicks on Gardam Street - This series of modern classics about the charming Penderwick family from National Book Award winner and New York Times bestseller Jeanne Birdsall is perfect for fans of Noel Streatfeild and Edward Eager. Over one million copies sold, now with a bright new look! The Penderwick sisters are home on Gardam Street and ready for an adventure! But the adventure they get isn’t quite what they had in mind. Mr. Penderwick’s sister has decided it’s time for him to start dating–and the girls know that can only mean one thing: disaster. Enter the Save-Daddy Plan–a plot so brilliant, so bold, so funny, that only the Penderwick girls could have come up with it. It’s high jinks, big laughs, and loads of family warmth as the Penderwicks triumphantly return.

  2. Five Little Peppers and How They Grew - Five Little Peppers and How They Grew

  3. Courage - For fans of Jason Reynolds and Kwame Alexander, a poignant and timely novel about race, class, and second chances. Ever since T’Shawn’s dad died, his mother has been struggling to keep the family afloat. So when he’s offered a spot on a prestigious diving team at the local private swim club, he knows that joining would only add another bill to the pile. But T studies hard and never gets into trouble, so he thinks his mom might be willing to bear the cost… until he finds out that his older brother, Lamont, is getting released early from prison. Luckily, T’Shawn is given a scholarship, and he can put all his frustration into diving practices. But when criminal activity increases in the neighborhood and people begin to suspect Lamont, T’Shawn begins to worry that maybe his brother hasn’t left his criminal past behind after all. And he struggles to hold on to the hope that they can put the broken pieces of their damaged relationship back together.

  4. Messy Life of Blue - "Readers will laugh out loud, cry, and commiserate with her every step of the way....The protagonist is a feisty, mixed-up, phenomenal delight." Kirkus Reviews

Want to see books about siblings?

Books About Single-parent Families and Culture

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A Thousand Questions
Written by Saadia Faruqi
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Set against the backdrop of Karachi, Pakistan, Saadia Faruqi’s tender and honest middle grade novel tells the story of two girls navigating a summer of change and family upheaval with kind hearts, big dreams, and all the right questions.

Mimi is not thrilled to be spending her summer in Karachi, Pakistan, with grandparents she’s never met. Secretly, she wishes to find her long-absent father, and plans to write to him in her beautiful new journal.

The cook’s daughter, Sakina, still hasn’t told her parents that she’ll be accepted to school only if she can improve her English test score—but then, how could her family possibly afford to lose the money she earns working with her Abba in a rich family’s kitchen?

Although the girls seem totally incompatible at first, as the summer goes on, Sakina and Mimi realize that they have plenty in common—and that they each need the other to get what they want most. 

This relatable and empathetic story about two friends coming to understand each other will resonate with readers who loved Other Words for Home and Front Desk

Buy book
$16.99
Bookshop
$14.44
Amazon
$16.99
Used $16.99
Prices as of Jan 18
Add to list
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.

Buy book
$16.99
Bookshop
$14.44
Amazon
$16.99
Used $16.99
Prices as of Jan 18
Add to list
Mindy Kim and the Birthday Puppy
Written by Lyla Lee & illustrated by Dung Ho
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
Fresh off the Boat meets Junie B. Jones in this third novel in an adorable chapter book series about Mindy Kim, a young Asian American girl who wants a puppy for her birthday!
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Honorable Mentions
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  1. Mindy Kim and the Lunar New Year Parade - Fresh Off the Boat meets Junie B. Jones in this second novel in an adorable new chapter book series about Mindy Kim, a young Asian American girl who is getting ready to celebrate Lunar New Year!

  2. Pie in the Sky - A poignant, laugh-out-loud illustrated middle-grade novel about an eleven-year-old boy’s immigration experience, his annoying little brother, and their cake-baking hijinks! Sometimes life isn’t a piece of cake . . . When Jingwen moves to a new country, he feels like he’s landed on Mars. School is torture, making friends is impossible since he doesn’t speak English, and he’s often stuck looking after his (extremely irritating) little brother, Yanghao. To distract himself from the loneliness, Jingwen daydreams about making all the cakes on the menu of Pie in the Sky, the bakery his father had planned to open before he unexpectedly passed away. The only problem is his mother has laid down one major rule: the brothers are not to use the oven while she’s at work. As Jingwen and Yanghao bake elaborate cakes, they’ll have to cook up elaborate excuses to keep the cake making a secret from Mama. In her hilarious, emotional middle-grade debut, Remy Lai delivers a scrumptious combination of vibrant graphic art and pitch-perfect writing that will appeal to fans of Real Friends.

  3. Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business - Fresh Off the Boat meets Junie B. Jones in this first novel in an adorable new chapter book series about Mindy Kim, a young Asian American girl who is starting a snack business!

  4. Family Under the Bridge - The heartwarming and memorable Newbery Honor-winning book about finding family in the unlikeliest places, featuring artwork by beloved illustrator Garth Williams. This middle grade novel is an excellent choice for tween readers in grades 5 to 6, especially during homeschooling. It's a fun way to keep your child entertained and engaged while not in the classroom.

Want to see books about culture?

Books About Single-parent Families and Friendship

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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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Martin McLean, Middle School Queen
Written by Alyssa Zaczek
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Seventh-grader Martin McLean has trouble expressing himself except at Mathletes competitions and now, as a female impersonator but his first-ever drag show falls on the same night as an important Mathletes tournament.

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Demon Dentist
Written by David Walliams & illustrated by Tony Ross
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

“Wacky and reminiscent of Roald Dahl with a twist, middle grade readers who enjoy stories with both laughs and chills will get a kick out of this one.” - Seira Wilson, Amazon Editor

This New York Times bestseller from David Walliams, the UK’s #1 bestselling children’s author and “the heir to Roald Dahl” (The Spectator), launched his books stateside in a big way!

Walliams makes going to the dentist a wacky adventure with his signature humor—this is one dentist appointment you don’t want to miss.

Something strange is happening in Alfie’s town. Instead of shiny coins from the Tooth Fairy, kids are waking up to dead slugs, live spiders, and other dreadfully icky things under their pillows.

Who would do something so horrific? Alfie is sure that Miss Root, the creepy new dentist in town, is behind it all. There’s nothing Alfie hates more than going to the dentist, but to solve this mystery, he may have to book a dreaded appointment….

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Honorable Mentions
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  1. Something about Hensley's - There’s something about Hensley’s! No matter what you need, that general store is sure to have it. It’s almost magical the way the manager, Old John, seems to know what the townsfolk need before they do! But then a new family moves to town. The youngest child, Molly, has asthma–but her mother doesn’t have money to treat her, or for anything else. But leave it to Old John to find a way to use Hensley’s to give the family exactly what it needs, even if it can’t be boxed or bagged.<p>A true–and truly moving–story about an unforgettable general store and about the extraordinary power one person’s acts of kindness can have on another.</p>

  2. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy - While vacationing with their widowed father in the Berkshire Mountains, four young sisters, ages four through twelve, share adventures with a local boy, much to the dismay of his snobbish mother.

  3. Dirt Diary - The first book in Anna Staniszewski's award-winning YA best selling book series: The Dirt Diaries!

  4. Ella Unleashed - The Parent Trap meets Best in Show in this charming novel about a girl who must learn to make peace with the unpredictability of life. Ella Cohen was skeptical when her mom started dating Krishnan just a few months after her parents’ divorce. But two years later, she really likes having her new stepfather around. When she decides to enter a junior dog show, Krishnan even lets her start handling his dog, Elvis. She’s determined to become an expert handler, even after her first show ends in disaster. Unfortunately, some things are harder to control—like Ella’s dad, who has changed a lot since the divorce. He used to be laid back and fun, but now he hovers over her constantly, terrified she’s going to shatter into a million pieces if she so much as hints that everything in her life isn’t perfect. Ella is particularly upset that his animosity toward Krishnan keeps him from coming to watch her handle Elvis, especially when she wins a lottery spot in the National Dog Show in Philadelphia. When Ella’s best friends suggest she find her dad a date to the dog show, it seems like the perfect solution. If her dad has a new girlfriend, surely he won’t mind so much that Ella’s mom has a new husband. So Ella decides to play matchmaker, going so far as to create a fake online dating profile in order to find her dad his one true love. But it turns out people, much like dogs, aren’t always so easy to control, and Ella’s plan backfires at the worst possible moment. Can Ella manage to bring her divided life together in time for her moment in the spotlight?

Books About Single-parent Families and Social Themes

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Home in the Woods
Written & illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
This stunningly beautiful picture book from New York Times bestselling author-illustrator Eliza Wheeler is based on her grandmother's childhood and pays homage to a family's fortitude as they discover the meaning of home.
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Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane
Written & illustrated by Kate O'Shaughnessy
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
This sparkling middle-grade debut is a classic-in-the-making!
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A Kind of Paradise
Written by Amy Rebecca Tan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Read the book that Ali Standish (author of The Ethan I Was Before) calls “a heartwarming story” and Melissa Roske (author of Kat Greene Comes Clean) calls “a joyful, heartfelt debut!” Thirteen-year-old Jamie Bunn made a mistake at the end of the school year. A big one. And every kid in her middle school knows all about it. Now she has to spend her summer vacation volunteering at the local library—as punishment. What a waste of a summer! Or so she thinks. A Kind of Paradise is an unforgettable story about the power of community, the power of the library, and the power of forgiveness.

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  1. Finding Langston - A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year, with 5 Starred Reviews, and a School Library Journal Best Book of 2018 When eleven-year-old Langston’s father moves them from their home in Alabama to Chicago’s Bronzeville district, it feels like he’s giving up everything he loves. It’s 1946. Langston’s mother has just died, and now they’re leaving the rest of his family and friends. He misses everything– Grandma’s Sunday suppers, the red dirt roads, and the magnolia trees his mother loved. In the city, they live in a small apartment surrounded by noise and chaos. It doesn’t feel like a new start, or a better life. At home he’s lonely, his father always busy at work; at school he’s bullied for being a country boy. But Langston’s new home has one fantastic thing. Unlike the whites-only library in Alabama, the Chicago Public Library welcomes everyone. There, hiding out after school, Langston discovers another Langston–a poet whom he learns inspired his mother enough to name her only son after him. Lesa Cline-Ransome, author of the Coretta Scott King Honor picture book Before She Was Harriet, has crafted a lyrical debut novel about one boy’s experiences during the Great Migration. Includes an author’s note about the historical context and her research. Winner of the 2019 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction A Junior Library Guild selection!

  2. Out of Place - When twelve-year-old Cove Bernstein becomes the target of a school-wide bullying campaign, she sets out to find a way to leave her home on Martha’s Vineyard for New York City, where her best friend lives. But Cove discovers that friends can appear in the unlikeliest places, and maybe home isn’t the worst place to be after all. Jennifer Blecher’s debut novel is a voice-driven story about bullying, friendship, and self-reliance that hits the sweet spot for fans of Ali Benjamin’s The Thing About Jellyfish and Erin Entrada Kelly’s You Go First. Twelve-year-old Cove Bernstein’s year has gone from bad to worse. First, her best friend, Nina, moved from Martha’s Vineyard to New York City. Then, without Nina around, Cove became the target of a bullying campaign at school. Escape seems impossible. But opportunities can appear when you least expect them. Cove’s visit to a secondhand clothing store leads her to a surprising chance to visit Nina, but only if she can win a coveted place in a kids-only design competition. Cove doesn’t know how to sew, but her friend at the retirement home, Anna, has promised to teach her. And things start really looking up when a new kid at school, Jack, begins appearing everywhere Cove goes. Then Cove makes a big mistake. One that could ruin every good thing that has happened to her this year. One that she doesn’t know how to undo. Jennifer Blecher’s accessible and beautifully written debut novel explores actions and consequences, loneliness, bullying, and finding your voice. This voice-driven friendship story is for fans of Rebecca Stead’s Goodbye Stranger and Jodi Kendall’s The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City. Includes black-and-white spot art throughout.

  3. My Ex-Imaginary Friend - Eleven-year-old Jack thought he had outgrown his imaginary friend, George--until his dad also disappears from his life. His mom's bipolar disorder isn't being properly treated, so while in the throes of a manic episode, she ditches Jack with his aunt, uncle, and cousins. Jack decides that only George can help him figure out where people go when others stop believing in them--and how Jack can put his family back together.

    Meanwhile, the imaginary George--half-walrus, half-human, all magic--has a problem of his own: with nobody to believe in him, he is slowly disappearing. Rejoining Jack is his only hope for survival. Or is it?

  4. Pecan Pie Baby - Gia is tired of hearing about the new baby. It hasn’t even been born yet, but everyone, even her friends, seem fixated on it. Gia thinks things are fine just the way they are! And she’s worried: if the baby’s such a big deal now, what’s going to happen to Gia’s nice, cozy life with Mama once it’s born? Beloved author Jacqueline Woodson and Sophie Blackall have created a heartwarming story for kids adjusting to the idea of a new family member. Young readers will be reassured by Gia’s eventual understanding that the baby won’t ruin the special bond she has with her mom, and might even be a sweet addition to the family.

Books About Single-parent Families and Death

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Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Sometimes a story comes along that just plain makes you want to hug the world. The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise is Dan Gemeinhart's finest book yet -- and that's saying something. Your heart needs this joyful miracle of a book. --Katherine Applegate, acclaimed author of The One and Only Ivan and Wishtree

A 2020 ILA Teachers' Choice
A 2019 Parents' Choice Award Gold Medal Winner
Winner of the 2019 CYBILS Award for Middle Grade Fiction
An Amazon Top 20 Children's Book of 2019

A Junior Library Guild Selection

Five years.

That's how long Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have lived on the road in an old school bus, criss-crossing the nation.

It's also how long ago Coyote lost her mom and two sisters in a car crash.

Coyote hasn't been home in all that time, but when she learns that the park in her old neighborhood is being demolished--the very same park where she, her mom, and her sisters buried a treasured memory box--she devises an elaborate plan to get her dad to drive 3,600 miles back to Washington state in four days...without him realizing it.

Along the way, they'll pick up a strange crew of misfit travelers. Lester has a lady love to meet. Salvador and his mom are looking to start over. Val needs a safe place to be herself. And then there's Gladys...

Over the course of thousands of miles, Coyote will learn that going home can sometimes be the hardest journey of all...but that with friends by her side, she just might be able to turn her "once upon a time" into a "happily ever after."

This title has common core connections.

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A Monster Calls
Written by Patrick Ness & illustrated by Jim Kay
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 12-17

An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor. <BR>At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting– he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd– whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself– Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

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Line Tender
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-13
Funny, poignant, and deeply moving, The Line Tender is a story of nature's enduring mystery and a girl determined to find meaning and connection within it.
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  1. Pepper's Rules for Secret Sleuthing - Nancy Drew meets Harriet the Spy in this action-packed and heartfelt debut middle grade following an overzealous amateur sleuth as she investigates a shocking family secret--and unravels the mystery of her developing feelings for girls.

  2. Remarkable Inventions Of Walter Mortinson - In this sweeping and inventive debut novel that’s perfect for fans of Roald Dahl, Neil Gaiman, and Tim Burton, a prodigal inventor flees his home to find his destiny. In the humdrum town of Moormouth, Walter Mortinson’s unusual inventions cause nothing but trouble. After one of his contraptions throws the town into chaos, Walter’s mother demands he cut the nonsense and join the family mortuary business. Far off on Flaster Isle, famed inventor Horace Flasterborn plans to take Walter under his wing, just as he did Walter’s genius father decades ago. When a letter arrives by unusual means offering Walter an apprenticeship, it isn’t long before Walter decides to flee Moormouth to meet his destiny. Walter runs away in the family hearse along with Cordelia, the moody girl next door with one eye and plenty of secrets. Together they journey through a strange landscape of fish-people, giantess miners, and hypnotized honeybees in an adventure that will not only reveal the truth about Walter’s past, but direct his future.

  3. Sweeping Up the Heart - From two-time Newbery Honor and New York Times-bestselling author Kevin Henkes, this timeless novel about loss, loneliness, and friendship tells the story of the spring break that changes seventh-grader Amelia Albright's life forever. This middle grade novel is an excellent choice for tween readers in grades 5 to 6, especially during homeschooling. It's a fun way to keep your child entertained and engaged while not in the classroom.

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Books About Single-parent Families and Family

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The Great Big Book of Families
Written by Mary Hoffman & illustrated by Ros Asquith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

This fun and fascinating treasury features all kinds of families and their lives together. Each spread showcases one aspect of home life-from houses and holidays, to schools and pets, to feelings and family trees. Ros Asquith’s humorous illustrations perfectly complement a charming text from the acclaimed Mary Hoffman; kids will love poring over these pages again and again. A celebration of the diverse fabric of kith and kin the world over, The Great Big Book of Families is a great big treat for every family to share.

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Lumber Camp Library (Harper Trophy)
Written by & illustrated by James Bernardin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

A charming chapter book set in the early 1900s in rural Vermont, by the award-winning author of The Canada Geese Quilt. This is a great choice for emerging readers who are ready for chapter books.

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A Whale in Paris
Written by Daniel Presley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

A hopeful and heroic girl befriends a small, lost whale during World War II and together they embark on a journey to liberate France and find their families in this charming debut novel.

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  1. Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key - They say I'm wired bad, or wired sad, but there's no doubt about it--I'm wired. Joey Pigza's got heart, he's got a mom who loves him, and he's got dud meds, which is what he calls the Ritalin pills that are supposed to even out his wild mood swings. Sometimes Joey makes bad choices. He learns the hard way that he shouldn't stick his finger in the pencil sharpener, or swallow his house key, or run with scissors. Joey ends up bouncing around a lot - and eventually he bounces himself all the way downtown, into the district special-ed program, which could be the end of the line. As Joey knows, if he keeps making bad choices, he could just fall between the cracks for good. But he is determined not to let that happen. In this antic yet poignant new novel, Jack Gantos has perfect pitch in capturing the humor, the off-the-wall intensity, and the serious challenges that life presents to a kid dealing with hyper-activity and related disorders. This title has Common Core connections. Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key is a 1998 National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature.

  2. Feather - How does this piano-loving featherweight of a girl respond when her brothers keep on making her do their chores? She takes up boxing, of course! Maybe if she gets good enough, they’ll even stop calling her Feather. Readers will see Feather’s determination and sense of justice as positive, transformative traits that help us on the road to becoming who we really are. and they will root for her as she learns to stand up to her brothers and proves that sometimes the best way to go after what you want is to leap into something new.

  3. Across the Bay - RECIPIENT OF THE PURA BELPRÉ ILLUSTRATOR HONOR Author-illustrator Carlos Aponte takes readers on a journey to the heart of Puerto Rico in this enchanting picture book set in Old San Juan. “A lively and honest story about filling voids and exploring what defines a family–as well as a love letter to a childhood home.”–Horn Book Carlitos lives in a happy home with his mother, his abuela, and Coco the cat. Life in his hometown is cozy as can be, but the call of the capital city pulls Carlitos across the bay in search of his father. Jolly piragüeros, mischievous cats, and costumed musicians color this tale of love, family, and the true meaning of home.

  4. Husky - Twelve-year-old Davis lives in an old brownstone with his mother and grandmother in Brooklyn. He loves people-watching in Prospect Park, visiting his mom in the bakery she owns, and listening to the biggest operas he can find as he walks everywhere. But Davis is having a difficult summer. As questions of sexuality begin to enter his mind, he worries people don’t see him as anything other than “husky.” To make matters worse, his best girlfriends are starting to hang out with mean girls and popular boys. Davis is equally concerned about the distance forming between him and his single mother as she begins dating again, and about his changing relationship with his amusingly loud Irish grandmother, Nanny. Ultimately, Davis learns to see himself outside of his one defining adjective. He’s a kid with unique interests, admirable qualities, and people who will love him no matter what changes life brings about.

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