I am thrilled to welcome today’s special guest blogger, Vanessa Heron from Like Mother Like Daughter – who’s also one of my most loyal supporters!

As a mom and primary teacher, I loved Vanessa’s idea the moment I read it – and I’m sure you will too!


It’s 8:00 p.m. and bedtime routine is in full
swing. My daughter brings over her chosen bedtime stories and my husband and I
look at each other, knowing exactly what we are about to read for the eleventy-fifth
time: her favourite princess books followed by her favourite book about a little
boy playing hockey. Same storylines. Same characters. Every night.       
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong
with predictability, my family thrives on it in many ways. There is also
nothing wrong with my daughter having favourite stories; the fact that my
daughter loves reading makes this mama swell with pride. But sometimes…every
once in a while…it would be nice to break out of the monotony of defenseless princesses
saved by heroic princes; little boys playing sports exclusively with other
little boys; and stereotypical nuclear families having perfect, predictable days.
These stories are classic and deserve a place on our shelves, but what about
adding some variety to the mix? What about adding some stories that have modern
heroes, non-traditional storylines, and diverse characters that represent the
modern 21st century child and their families?
I am here to share a selection of books that
do just that. These books add a little bit of seasoning to traditional
children’s picture books.

A Crayon’s Story
by Michael Hall
This is the story of a crayon whose label
reads Red. The problem is that Red cannot actually colour red no matter how hard
he tries. Why? Because he’s actually Blue! A great story about ripping off
labels and being true to yourself.
All Princesses Dress in Pink
by Jane Yolen &
Heidi E. Y. Stemple
Princesses may wear sparkly crowns, but
their interests go far beyond sparkle and shine. They play with soccer balls,
wield power tools, plant in the soil, and fight sorcerers. A refreshing take on
what it really means to be a ‘princess’.
Boy with Pink Hair
by Perez Hilton
The Boy with Pink Hair stands out from
other kids. His pink hair makes him different, and because of this he gets
called names and teased by the other children. This is an important story about
the power of believing in yourself and finding your own special gifts.
Princess Knight by Cornelia Funk

A daughter teaches her royal father about
the inner and outer strength and bravery that exist in a petite princess. A
wonderful lesson about not underestimating or stereotyping.
Only Boy in Ballet Class
by Denise Gruska
Tucker loves to dance, and he is very good
at it. Unfortunately, Tucker’s passion for ballet causes him to be
misunderstood by both family and peers at school, until a chance meeting with
some boys on the football team gives Tucker an opportunity to let his ballet
skills shine in a whole new light. This is an engaging story about opening up
your mind to non-traditional gender roles.
Family Book
by Todd Parr
There are many different types of families
in the world. Some are small, some are big; some eat the same things, some eat
different things. This adorable book highlights all different types of families and the love that exists no matter
what kind of family you belong to.

This is a very small sampling of some of the fantastic books that break the
mold of typical children’s literature, celebrate the unique differences in
every child, and shine a light on the diversity of the 21st century
family.  The next time you find yourself
at your local bookstore or public library, I encourage you to think outside of
the pink and blue box and take a chance on one of these great stories!
Thank you so much, Vanessa! For more from Vanessa, visit Like Mother Like Daughter and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Tell her I sent you!

1 comment on “Children’s Book Recommendations for the 21st Century Family”

  1. Robert Munsch has a great book about a little girl who loves hockey (Just One Goal). I grab this one intentionally to switch up the gender roles! I also LOVE Robert Munsch's Paperbag Princess because it makes the girl the strong, smart character. Kind of a Robert Munsch fan.

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