Strengthen Family Relationships with Children’s Books about Families


Reading books together is a fun way for parents and kids to grow stronger as a family.

Search Institute has partnered with First Book to curate a set of children’s books about family that will help you explore your family strengths and relationships while spending time together. We also have a free, downloadable guide for each book. Each guide has questions and activities to help your family explore your strengths.

The books all tie to Search Institute’s research on family strengths and relationships. They are organized into these topics:

Express Care
Provide Support
Challenge Growth
Expand Possibilities
Share Power
Create Routines and Traditions
Connect to Your Community

 

How You Can Get These Books


If you are an educator or program provider serving children from low-income families, you can access these books through the First Book Marketplace for up to 90 percent off retail prices. Simply sign up with First Book to get started. This process is completely free and takes just a few minutes.

First Book is a national nonprofit social enterprise that provides books and educational materials for educators serving children in need.

For all other educators and parents/caregivers, these books are available through most booksellers and your local library.



Express Care


Expressing care is the foundation of family strengths and relationships. When we express care to our children, we show them that we like them and want the best for them. We show our kids that we care by how we listen, show warmth, invest time and energy, and are someone they can count on.

The Family Book
(Family Strength: Being Warm)
Written and illustrated by Todd Parr

Get the Book

For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide in English and Spanish

 

 

 

Happy Like Soccer
(Family Strength: Invest)
Written by Maribeth Boelts
Illustrated by Lauren Castillo

Get the Book
For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide in English and Spanish.

 

Our Tree Named Steve
(Family Strength: Be Dependable)
Written by Alan Zweibel
Illustrated by David Catrow

Get the Book
For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide in English and Spanish.

 

 



Provide Support


An important way families stick together is helping each other in practical ways to stay on track to learn, grow, complete tasks, and achieve goals.

Jingle Dancer
(Family Strength: Encourage)
Written by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu

Get the Book
For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide in English and Spanish.

 

 

My Name is Yoon
(Family Strength: Encourage)
Written by Helen Recorvits
Illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska

Get the Book
For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide in English and Spanish.

 

Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream
(Family Strength: Guide)
Written by Deloris Jordan and Roslyn M. Jordan
Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Get the Book
For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide in English and Spanish.

 

 

 



Challenge Growth


We all need nudges that push us to work hard on achieving our goals. We challenge our kids to grow by pushing them beyond what’s comfortable, raising questions, and testing their abilities in ways that are demanding, stimulating, and motivating. We also help them keep them heading in a positive direction by setting appropriate limits.

Amazing Grace
(Family Strength: Inspire)
Written by Mary Hoffman
Illustrated by Caroline Binch

Get the Book
For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide in English and Spanish.

 

 

 

The Bee Tree
(Family Strength: Stretch)
Written by Stephen Buchmann and Diana Cohn
Illustrated by Paul Mirocha

Get the Book
For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide in English and Spanish.

 

 

 

Too Many Tamales
(Family Strength: Limit)
Written by Gary Soto
Illustrated by Ed Martinez

Get the Book
For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide in English and Spanish.

 

 

 



Expand Possibilities


We help each other grow in our families when we look beyond what we already know to see things beyond today that can open new possibilities in the future. This involves trying new things, going new places, and meeting new people.

Abuela
(Family Strength: Explore)
Written by Arthur Dorros
Illustrated by Elisa Kleven

Get the Book
For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide in English and Spanish.

 

 

 

Tomas and the Library Lady
(Family Strength: Connect)
Written by Pat Mora
Illustrated by Raul Colòn

Get the Book
For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide in English and Spanish.

 

 

The Ugly Vegetables
(Family Strength: Explore)
Written and illustrated by Grace Lin

Get the Book
For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide in English and Spanish.

 



Share Power


Relationships involve a give and take. Our kids learn and grow when they have a voice in the family and are part of making decisions that affect them. How we share power—how that changes as our kids grow up—prepares them to be responsible, contributing adults.

Let’s Get a Pup, Said Kate
(Family Strength: Negotiate)
Written and illustrated by Bob Graham

Get the Book
For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
.Download the discussion guide in English and Spanish.

 

 

Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team
(Family Strength: Collaborate)
Written by Audrey Vernick
Illustrated by Steven Salerno

Get the Book
For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide in English and Spanish.

 

 

Ruby’s Wish
(Family Strength: Respond)
Written by Shirin Yim
Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

 

Get the Book
For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide in English and Spanish.

 



Create Routines & Traditions


Routines give a dependable rhythm and structure to family life. Without them, life can feel chaotic. Traditions—such as birthdays, holidays, rituals, and other special times together—give our time together deeper meaning and lasting memories.

Estela’s Swap
(Family Strength: Enjoy Time Together)
Written by Alexis O’Neill Illustrated by Enrique O. Sanchez

Get the Book
For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide in English and Spanish.

 

 

Every Friday
(Family Strength: Enjoy Time Together)
Written and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino

Get the Book
For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide in English and Spanish.

 

 

 

The Wednesday Surprise
(Family Strength: Celebrate Milestones and Traditions)
Written by Eve Bunting
Illustrated by Donald Carrick

Get the Book
For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide in English and Spanish.

 

 



Connect to Your Community


On most days, we interact with friends and acquaintances in our schools, neighborhoods, workplaces, and other places we spend time. Those people and places make our families stronger, and families also enrich community life.

Chik Chak Shabbat
(Family Strength: Connect with Neighbors)
Written by Mara Rockliff Illustrated by Kyrsten Brooker

Get the Book
For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide in English and Spanish.

 

 

 

City Green
(Family Strength: Lead and Serve Together)
Written and illustrated by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan

Get the Book
For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide in English and Spanish.

 

 

Music, Music for Everyone
(Family Strength: Tap Community Resources)
Written and illustrated by Vera B. Williams

Get the Book
For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide in English and Spanish.

 

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