Family diversity in children's books: What does your book collection say to children

Document Type


Publication Title

Literacy Today


International Literacy Association


School of Education


Adam, H. (2024). Family diversity in children's books: What does your book collection say to children. Literacy Today.


Families take many forms in societies, and diversity of family structures has been on the rise in recent years across most western countries including the United States and Australia.

Perhaps to many, the most noticeable is an increasing number of single parent families. However, family diversity takes many forms. Some of these include: families of diverse races and ethnicities, including interracial families; varying parental and caregiver combinations, such as single parent families, same-sex parents, siblings, or grandparents as caregivers; and intergenerational families living together. Others include family members with diverse abilities or neurodiverse children, parents, or caregivers. For some families, a shared religion is important, while some live in religiously diverse families and still others in families in which religion is not important.

Then, of course, there are the many intersections of the above factors and others such as diversity in family roles and responsibilities. In other words, families are as diverse as the people in our community and world. However, when it comes to the representation of families in children’s books, we often see a much narrower view and representation of what makes a family.

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