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Dive Into Diversity Family Series: Single-Parent Families

Dive Into Diversity Reading Challenge

Recently I found myself having a conversation with someone about how thankful I am for my husband, Dustyn. He broadens our daughter, Everett’s, horizons in ways I never thought possible — he shows her and teaches her things that don’t come naturally to me. He’s giving her something different that I couldn’t or wouldn’t think to. It dawned on me while I was talking to this friend that not everyone has both parents to influence parts of their personality, interests, and being. That seems like such a simple realization, but it really struck me.

Nearly 25,000,000 children in the United States live in a single-parent family according to Kids Count Data Center. Those children represent 26% of those living in our country, which means nearly one in four people reading this post likely come from a single-parent home. Divorce and death are something I’ve felt very far-removed from because I didn’t personally know many people my age who were living through this. But that’s all changed in the last few months; I’ve had four friends get divorced, three of which had children. I now see how gray some areas are and how everything isn’t so easily black and white. A few factors that separate families include abuse, death, military deployment, or the parents were never wed before having children and parted ways.

According to the Encyclopedia of Children’s Health, “The most common type of single-parent family is one that consists of a mother and her biological children. In 2002, 16.5 million or 23 percent of all children were living with their single mother. This group included 48 percent of all African-American children, 16 percent of all non-Hispanic white children, 13 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander children, and 25 percent of children of Hispanic origin. However, these numbers do not give a true picture of household organization, because 11 percent of all children were actually living in homes where their mother was sharing a home with an adult to whom she was not married. This group includes 14 percent of white children, 6 percent of African-American children, 11 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander, and 12 percent of Hispanic children.”

So where does that leave us in our quest for more diverse books? Are one in three of the books you’re reading inclusive of a single-parent family? Let’s take a look at some books that have incorporated this really well…

Single-Parent-Familiy-Books-Featuring-Single-Mothers

Not Otherwise SpecifiedSince You’ve Been GoneThe Last Time We Say Goodbye • I’ll Meet You There

What I Thought Was True • We Were LiarsAll the Rage

Single-Parent-Familiy-Books-Featuring-Single-Fathers

Promposal • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before • On the FenceIf I Lie

I’d like to note that it was a bit more difficult to find single-father books to share, which made me curious about the rise of single-fathers. According to Pew Social Trends, nearly one quarter of single-parent families are run by a single-dad and the number has been steadily climbing over the years.

• • •

What books have you read that include examples of single-parent families? 
What would you like to read more of regarding families?




October 21, 2015 - 9:16 am

Rebecca @ Reading Wishes - Great post. I haven’t ever intentionally sought out YAs with single parent households, but considering the statistics, it’s a surprise they’re not being represented more. I’ve only read two of the books you mention, but I thought To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was handled great.

October 13, 2015 - 12:36 pm

Emma @ Miss Print - Great round up!

As one of those people who comes from a single parent household I think about this a lot (and if I’m being honest, have a lot of baggage from it as well). The project is stalled out for a lot of reasons but one of the things I really, really wanted to be sure to have in the project I’m working on right now is a single-parent protagonist because it’s not shown that much.

I also wish it was shown as more commonplace and not always as part of some greater assortment of obstacles that the MC has to face throughout the novel. And also I wish more books had single family households where the absent parent isn’t dead or a deadbeat. Sometimes they just aren’t a part of the family unit. And that’s okay and reality, you know?

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