Strengthen Family Relationships with Stories

Building Strong Families with Stories

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

Search Institute has partnered with First Book, with generous support from Disney. First Book is a set of children’s books 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:

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 coverThe 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.

 

 

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.

 

Our Tree Named Steve cover

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.

 

 


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 cover

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.

 

 

My Name is Yoon coverMy 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.

 

Salt in His Shoes cover

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.

 

 

 


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 cover

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.

 

 

 

The Bee Tree cover

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

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For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide.

 

 

 

Too Many Tamales cover

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

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For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide.

 

 

 


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

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For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide.

 

 

 

 

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

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For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide.

 

 

 

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

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For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide.

 


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

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For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide.

 

 

Brothers at Bat coverBrothers 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.

 

 

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

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For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide.

 

 

 


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 cover

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

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For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide.

 

 

 

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

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For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide.

 

 

 

 

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

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For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide.

 


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

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For your school or organization.
For your family, or visit your local library.
Download the discussion guide.

 

 

 

City Green coverCity 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.

 

 

 

Music, Music for Everyone coverMusic, 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.