Mama Do You Love Me? Written by Barbara M. Joosse. Illustrated by Barbara Lavallee. Text © 1991 by Barbara Joosse. Illustrations © 1991 by Barbara Lavallee.

Families are always special, and there are all kinds. The library has books about every kind of family. The child in Barbara Joosse's Mama Do You Love Me? wonders what love really means. What if she broke things? What if she put fishes in her mama's pockets? What if she got in lots of trouble, or ran away, on purpose? To every question, her mama answers that she would be sad, or angry, or worried, but she would still love her child very much. Illustrator Barbara Lavallee's beautiful paintings make this book a rare treasure, for every child and parent to share.

You're My Nikki Written by Phyllis Rose Eisenberg. Illustrated by Jill Kastner. Text © 1986, 1992 by Phyllis Rose Eisenberg. Illustrations © 1992 by Jill Kastner.

Nikki, the little girl in this book, lives with her mother and brother. She is sad to think that she might be forgotten, when her mother starts a new job. Nikki thinks of all kinds of tricks to see if her mom really will remember her little girl while she's gone! Do your parents forget you when they're at work? Nikki's mama says not for one minute!

The Rough-Face Girl Written by Rafe Martin. Pictures by David Shannon. Text © 1992 by Rafe Martin. Illustrations © 1992 by David Shannon.


The Rough-Face Girl has sisters so mean, they make her tend the fire until her hands and face are scarred! But when the mean sisters pretend to understand true love, to marry the Invisible Being, their terrible spirits show, and they are laughed away. Only the Rough-Faced Girl is pure enough to be loved by the Invisible Being, and when she finds that love, her hands and face are healed, and she begins a new family. A superior telling of the Cinderella myth by the Algonquin Indians of Canada, this book is richly illustrated and empowering.

The Whale's Song By Dyan Sheldon. Paintings by Gary Blythe. Text © 1990 by Dyan Sheldon. Paintings © 1990 by Gary Blythe.


Lily has heard her grandmother tell the story of hearing the whales' magical song so many times that she yearns to hear it for herself. Lily's uncle says the whales don't sing, but her grandmother tells her to trust her heart. The beautiful paintings in this book illustrate the way that the love between family members can create and sustain the magic of sharing beliefs.

Home, by Kamala Nair
Illustrated by K.S. Kulkarni
New Dehli: The Children's Book Trust, 1980


For the child who narrates this story, home is many things, including extended family, community, and the world around. This book is not just recommended for the children of India, but for every child who has or would like to know more about living with many relatives; getting to know neighbors; and finding peace in the surroundings of home.


Smoky Night
by Eve Bunting
Illustrated by David Diaz

The families in this story all live in the same building, but they don't always get along very well, just because they're all different. One night, however, there is a fire in the building, and one smart boy teaches the adults to respect how much families can need one another, by showing them a way to create a larger community. Excellent, vivid illustrations by Diaz enhance this book.

Flumbra, An Icelandic Folktale, by Gudrún Helgadóttir
Illustrations by Brian Pilkington
Minnesota, Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, Inc., 1986


Ari is a little boy who lives in Iceland with his pappa, and Ari is afraid of giants -- especially the ones who might steal naughty children and carry them into the mountains! One day, Ari asks his pappa to tell him a story about giants. In his pappa's story, we learn all about Flumbra, the gentle giantess, who falls in love with a lazy giant, and has eight baby boys! What happens to Flumbra as she learns about love, being a mother, and traveling with her giant children helps Ari never to be afraid of giants again. A wonderful read for both humor and reassurance.






Abuela By Arthur Dorros; Illustrated by Elisa Keven. NY: The Trumpet Club/Dutton Children Books, 1993. Wonderous bilingual story about a young girl who dreams of flying over the city sites in the esteemed company of her grandmother. Story-Listening Interest Level: Ages 2 and up. Reading Level: 4th grade and up. KID RATING: **** 4 Stars

Amazing Grace By Mary Hoffman; Illustrations by Caroline Binch. NY: Scholastic, 1991. Grace has been told that there are things she can't do, just because she's a girl! But Grace wants to act the part Peter Pan in the school play. She asked her mother and grandmother for advice, and they tell her she can do anything! Find out what Grace does. Story-Listening Interest Level: Ages 3 and up. Reading Level: 4th grade and up. KID RATING: **** 4 Stars

La Abuelita y su Casa de Muñecas Por MaryLou M. Smith; Illustraciones de Ann Blackstone. Spanish translation © by Scholastic, Inc., 1993. Cuento de una niña y su relación con la abuelita con la casa marvellosa de muñecas. Story-Listening Interest Level: Ages 5 and up. Reading Level: 4th grade and up. KID RATING: **** 4 Stars

On the Day You Were Born.Story and Illustrastions by Debra Frasier. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanich, 1991. This book strengthens the notion of family by including a sense of belonging to the Universe into which we are born, and by which we are loved. Story-Listening Interest Level: Ages 2 and up. Reading Level: 4th grade and up. KID RATING: *** 1/2 3.5 Stars



More World Children's Literature Titles
About All Kinds of Families...



Coming Together


Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters
by Patricia C. McKissack and Fredrick L. McKissack, Illustrated by John Thompson
Scholastic, 1994

What would it be like to have serve dinner to slave-owners on Christmas day, while your own family took their meal in the slave quarters? This book gives historical accounts of Christmas on a plantation, moving between narratives from the "big house" and accounts of life in the slave quarters.

My First Kwanzaa Book
by Deborah M. Chocolate
Scholastic, 1992

This book teaches about the seven-day festival of Kwanzaa, a true African-American celebration of cultural heritage.

Grandma's Latkes
by Malka Drucker
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992

Learning to make a holiday meal can be a very special way of learning about your family heritage. In this book, young Molly learns how to make latkes from her grandmother, who tells Molly all about the meaning of Hanukkah. A recipe for latkes is included in this book.

In the Month of Kislev: A Story for Hanukkah
by Nina Jaffe
Viking, 1992

Why would a rich merchant want to make children without money pay just to smell his Hanukkah latkes? Find out how the Rabbi in this story makes a good plan, so everyone learns a valuable lesson of the season.

Tree of Cranes
Written and illustrated by Allen Say
Houghton Mifflin, 1991

In this book, a young Japanese boy learns about mixing cultures and Christmas, when his mother, who grew up in the United States, decorates a pine tree with paper cranes.

An Island Christmas
by Lynn Joseph
Clarion Books, 1992

On the island of Trinidad in the Carribean, Rosie and her brother celebrate Christmas by gathering red petals for the sorrel drink, helping bake black currant cakes, singing with the parang band, and hanging ornaments on a guava branch.

All the Lights in the Night
by Arthur A. Levine
Tambourine Books, 1991

Although the tsar has made life unbearable for the Jewish peoples of Russia, Moses and his little brother Benjamin make a dangerous journey to safety in Palestine. On the way, they find a way to celebrate a special Hanukkah.

by Shulamith Levey Oppenheim
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1991

A hundred years ago, in Eastern Europe, it is a few days before Passover, and a young boy wants to adopt a cat, whom he calls Appleblossom.

An Ellis Island Christmas
by Maxinne Rhea Leighton
Viking, 1992

At the height of European immigration to the United States, a little Polish girl begins on her travels with her family, to join her father in the United States. Their long journey at sea ends with a welcome at Ellis Island on Christmas Eve.

Three Kings Day
by Beatriz Zapater
Modern Curriculum Press, 1992

On January 6, the people of Puerto Rico celebrate Three Kings Day. Even living now in the United States, two young Puerto Rican children prepare for this awesome day.

Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan's Chinese New Year
by Kate Waters and Madeline Slovenz-Low
Scholastic, 1990

In New York City's Chinatown, Ernie Wan tells the story of how his family celebrates the Chinese lunar New Year.

Alef-Bet: A Hebrew Alphabet
by Michelle Edwards
Lothrop, Lee and Shepard, 1992

This lovely portrait of the home life of a Jewish family helps young listeners and early readers to learn more about both Jewish culture and the modern Hebrew language. Includes introductory notes on the Hebrew language and alphabet.

Arctic Hunter
by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith
Holiday House, 1992

Spring is the season when Reggie, an Inupiat Alaskan native who makes his home in Kotzebue, Alaska, travels through the northern areas of the Arctic Circle to his family's to their camp, where Reggie learns more every year about his family's traditions.

A Birthday Basket for Tía
by Pat Mora
Macmillan, 1992

This book, by celebrated Chicana poet Pat Mora, tells the story of how Celia presents her favorite aunt with a wonderful basket filled with reminders of happy times they have shared together.

Treasure Nap
by Juanita Havill
Houghton Mifflin Co, 1992

What are the secret treasures Alicia's abuela brought with her to the United States? The little girl in this story finds out, one day when it's much too hot to take a nap, and Mama tells Alicia about how her great-great-grandmother came to the United States from Mexico bringing treasures.

by Sandra Cisneros
Apple Soup/Knopf, 1994

From one of our most widely-recognized Chicana writers, this is the story of one girl's reflections on all the different kinds of hair her family members have, bringing an understanding of how difference can also be part of what every family shares.

From Miss Ida's Porch
by Sandra Belton, Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Four Winds, 1993

Family can also mean the power of a belonging to a strong community. In this book, Miss Ida's porch is the place where all sorts of family -- mothers, fathers, uncles, grandmothers, and neighbors -- gather to swap stories of their lives and memories.

Back Home
by Gloria Jean Pinkney
Dial, 1992

How are your city relatives different from your family members who live down south? Ernestine lives in a city up North, but finds out more about a different world, on the North Carolina farm where she was born.

The Sunday Outing
by Gloria Jean Pinkney, Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Dial, 1994

Pinkey's Ernestine once again dreams of visiting her relatives in North Carolina, and in this story, she gets to ride a train to do it.

Over the Green Hills
by Rachel Isadora
Greenwillow, 1992

What if you had to walk far, far away to visit your grandmother? Zolani, his mother, and baby Noma, who live deep in their homeland of South Africa, must walk many miles across the Transkei countryside to visit Grandma Zindzi, but arriving is worth the trip.

At the Crossroads
by Rachel Isadora
Greenwillow, 1991

In this story, South African children come together at the crossroads to reunite with their fathers who have been away for ten months working in the mines.

What His Father Did
by Jacqueline Dembar Greene
Houghton Mifflin, 1992

A folktale about how Herschel, while traveling from Minsk to Pinsk, tricks an innkeeper into giving him a meal by promising to show the innkeeper just what his father did long ago, when he got no supper. What could make the innkeeper want to give Herschel the meal? Read this book!

Coal Mine Peaches
by Michelle Dionetti
Orchard Books, 1991

What's one of the best ways to learn about your family's heritage? Ask an elder! In this story, a young girl finds out about who her family is through her grandfather's stories about his boyhood in Italy and coming to the United States.

Grandfather's Journey
by Allen Say
Houghton, 1993

A simply elegant book, showing the grace and power of an Asian grandfather's return to his "home."

My Grandmother's Story
by John Cech
Bradbury Press, 1991

Korie learns about her Russian heritage from her grandmother, who saw many mysterious, wonderful, and frightening things, throughout her life.

Dancing With the Indians
by Angela Shelf Medearis
Holiday House, 1991

Although we don't much like the title of this book, there is value in the story of a young African American girl who joins a Seminole pow-wow in the 1930s, and learns about how the tribal ancestors rescued her grandfather from slavery and accepted him as a brother.

Learning to Heed Wisdom of the Ages...


Little Eight John
by Jan Wahl
Lodestar Books, 1992

In this rural North Carolina folktale, Little Eight John is just as mean as mean can be! He won't listen to his mother, and moans and groans and turns away from all good sense ... until one Sunday he is turned into a spot of jam on the kitchen table!

Dragon Kite of the Autumn Moon
by Valerie Reddix
Lothrop, Lee, and Shepard, 1991

Understanding the ancient Chinese traditions of Taiwan, Tad-Tin knows that, on the ninth day of the ninth month, he can fly his special dragon kite and release it into the sky. The kite will take all Tad-Tin's troubles away with it, and his sick grandfather will be well again.

Older Brother, Younger Brother
Retold by Nina Jaffe, Illustrated by Wenhai Ma
Viking, 1995

A traditional Korean folktale here teaches one of the most common wisdoms of the ages: that if we are kind when others are not, good will always triumph over hardship.

Hoang Breaks the Lucky Teapot
by Rosemary K. Breckler
Houghton Mifflin, 1992

What would happen if a child broke an important part of a family tradition? In this story, Hoang, a Vietnamese boy, breaks the gia truyen, a teapot which houses May Man, good spirits and protects his family's good fortunes! Will he be able to fix the teapot and keep away bad luck?

Ooka the Wise: Tales of Old Japan
by I. G. Edmonds, Illustrated by Sanae Yamazaki
Linnet Books, 1994

The wisdom of the ages brings balance, justice and fairness, in these stories about the many good decisions Judge Ooka makes, no matter how difficult or strange the situations.

Molly's Pilgrim
by Barbara Cohen, Illustrated by Michael Deraney
Lothrop, 1983

The word "pilgrim" means a "traveler," and in this book, Molly's mother doesn't believe in the idea that all the pilgrims came to the United States on boats from England to Plymouth Rock. In fact, Molly's mother rocks that notion when she honors her heritage as a Jewish immigrant from Russia, by helping her daughter present a clothespin pilgrim doll that looks Russian for a class Thanksgiving project.

Change Brings New Wisdoms

Sachiko Means Happiness
by Kimiko Sakai
Children's Book Press, 1990

Sachiko, a young Japanese-American girl, loves her grandmother dearly. In this story, Sachiko learns that her grandmother is getting older, and that she has become ill with Alzheimer's disease. Understanding what this change will mean brings Sachiko even closer to her family.

A Forever Family: A Book About Adoption
Story and pictures by Roslyn Banish with Jennifer Jordan-Wong
HarperCollins, 1992

Told through a moving photo essay, Jennifer Jordan-Wong, who is eight, shares her story about living with an African-American foster family. When she is later adopted, Jennifer shares the many ways in which all kinds of families and cultures blend and become one "forever family."

Abuelita's Paradise
by Carmen Santiago Nodar
Albert Whitman, 1992

After her grandmother has passed away, Marita curls into Abuelita's rocking chair and remembers Abuelita's stories about her childhood in Puerto Rico. Text available in both bilingual and Spanish-only versions.

Fox Song
by Joseph Bruchac, Illustrated by Paul Morin
Philomel, 1993

Sorrow is replaced by a new peaceful understanding in this story, when young Jamie comes to feel that her grandmother, even in death, is still near her.

Beyond the Ridge
by Paul Goble
Bradbury, 1989

What changes may come when the spirit travels? This lovely book tells the story of of a Plains Indian grandmother on a spiritual journey.

Roses Sing on New Snow: A Delicious Tale
by Paul Yee
Macmillan, 1992

What is the answer to understanding the past? In this story of 1900's Chinatown, Maylin makes a dish for the visiting governor of South China, and names it "Roses Sing on New Snow." But, when the governor wants the recipe to take back to China, Maylin explains it's a New World dish that cannot be made in the Old World! Find out why, by reading this book.

Yang the Youngest and His Terrible Ear
by Lensey Namioka, Illustrated by Kees de Kiefte
Little Brown, 1992

What if everyone in your family shared the same talent, and you didn't have that talent? In this humorous story of finding value in difference and change, Yingtao lives with his Chinese family in Seattle, and is the youngest boy in this family in which everyone makes great music. But Yingtao is pretty sure he's got no musical talent at all, so he wants to give up his violin lessons. How will he convince his parents that sometimes change brings new wisdoms?

Working Together: Cooperation Among Families and Friends


Oom Razoom, or, Go I Know Not Where, Bring Back I Know Not What
A Russian Tale retold by Diane Wolkstein
Morrow Junior Books, 1991

A jealous Russian king wants to break apart Alexis' family by stealing his wife, so the king orders Alexis to go I Know Not Where and bring back I Know Not What. But family is family, and Alexis and his very smart wife Olga outsmart the jealous king. Find out how!

The Day of Ahmed's Secret
by Florence Parry and Judith Heide Gilliland
Lothrop, 1990

Ahmed has a wonderful secret that he can hardly wait to share with his family: he has learned to write his name in Arabic! But, before he can go home to tell everyone his good news, Ahmed must finish his day working as a butagaz boy, delivering the cooking gas his customers need all over Cairo.

Sami and the Time of the Troubles
by Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland
Clarion, 1992

Many children have known times when even their parents were afraid. Learning to work together as a family to bring hope from fear is what ten-year-old Sami learns, when a war breaks out in Beirut, and Sami and his family must hide in their basement, hoping for the day the violence will end.

The Lily Cupboard
by Shulamith Levey Oppenheim
HarperCollins, 1992

When the Second World War makes home an unsafe place for a Jewish family in Holland, a young girl is sent to find stay with friends of her parents, who work to provide safety and become a different kind of family.

Green Corn Tamales/Tamales De Elote
by Gina M. Rodríguez, Illustrated by Gary Shepard
Tucson, AZ: Hispanic Book Distributors, 1994

A Latino family reunion at abuela's house is warmed by the tradition of making tamales for all. A great book for teaching young listeners and early readers the value of performing simple tasks together.

One Afternoon
by Yumi Heo
Orchard Books, 1994

Yumi Heo both writes and illustrates this lovely book that teaches again the bond that develops between family members while sharing chores. Here, a Korean boy and his mother spend a day doing errands, and readers discover what closeness that may bring.




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