National Family Month

Families are celebrated each June with the commemoration of National Family Month. This is a good time to help children and teens understand that there are all types of families. Many children and teens live with only one parent, or with two moms and two dads. Some live with grandparents or other relatives. There are stepfamilies, multigenerational families and foster families. There are wealthy families and those that struggle to put food on the table. Whatever the family unit, or socioeconomic level, it’s important that the young understand the characteristics of family. Here are suggestions to help them grasp the many meanings of family.

  • Read aloud Families, Families, Families! by Suzanne Lang & illus. by Max Lang to the youngest readers.  Describe the different families in the book. Use our family tree activity with your storytime.
  • After reading the book, ask readers to draw a picture of their family.  Then allow them the opportunity to share their pictures with the class.  Encourage them to share something they enjoy doing with their family.
  • Display poetry anthologies and allow readers to work in small group to browse the books and find poems about family. Ask for volunteers to read aloud one of the poems.
  • Have older readers write an acrostic poem using FAMILY as the spine word.
  • Suggest that older readers write and perform a rap about their family, or a fictional family.
  • Display books with various family units, and family challenges. Ask readers to select a title, and discuss the family in the book. Older readers may write an essay that compares the family in the novel to their own.  Suggestions from Random House include:

Picture Books

Just Plain Fancy by Patricia Polacco

Piggybook by Anthony Browne

Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman & illus. by Stephen Gammell

The Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain

Who’s in a Family? by Robert Skutch

Early Readers

Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business by Barbara Park

Tooter Pepperday by Jerry Spinelli

Middle Grade

Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything in It by Sundee Frazier

Child of the Mountain by Marilyn Sue Shank

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen

Laugh with the Moon by Shana Burg

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

The War with Grandpa by Robert K. Smith

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis

Nest by Esther Ehrlich

The Tia Lola stories by Julia Alvarez

True Colors by Natalie Kensey

The Penderwicks Series by Jeanne Birdsall

Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff

Young Adult

Cuba 15 by Nancy Osa

Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario

Love Me Tender by Audrey Couloumbis

Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Peńa

Spoils by Tammar Stein

Tending to Grace by Kimberly Newton Fusco

The House of Djinn by Suzanne Fisher Staples