Picture Books That Celebrate Family

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I can’t get this image out of my mind. One evening last week, my son and I stopped at a local restaurant to eat dinner. Right after we placed our orders, a family – mom, dad and three boys under the age of ten – came in and were seated near us. The oldest boy took out an I-Pad and began staring into the screen. One down, two to go. A few minutes later, both of the younger boys took out smaller devices and were quickly absorbed by whatever was on their screens. My son, knowing what I was thinking, kept saying “just don’t look.” But I couldn’t tear myself away. I cautioned myself not to be so judgmental – that there may have been a perfectly reasonable explanation for why there was absolutely zero conversation taking place at their table.  Everyone seemed fine. The parents talked to one another, the boys stared into distant lands, and the mother “woke them” so they could let the waitress know what they wanted for dinner.  I was thinking that those three boys are in danger of being bad dates someday, let alone having basic conversation skills to help them through a job interview or their own family dinners.

I tried to forget about them. My husband always tells me that I have “one family to worry about.” He’s right, but I can’t let them go. They make me sad.  I want to give them a basket full of books about families having fun together. So, I’ve channeled my feelings into my imaginary book basket.  Here’s what’s in it:

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

“More, More, More,” Said the Baby: Three Love Stories by Vera B. Williams

Henry’s First-Moon Birthday by Lenore Look

Daddy Makes the Best Spaghetti by Anna Grossnickle Hines

The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant

Jonathan and His Mommy by Irene Smalls

Pete’s a Pizza by William Steig

Every Friday by Dan Yaccarino

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