Family relationships are some of the most special ones we have, and they can also be the most challenging, especially when the family structure shifts from the familiar to something new. Many children find themselves navigating the waters of adjusting to a blended family, along with the complex emotions that arise with major life changes. A strong support system will help children understand and adapt to their family structure, and this is important for adults to offer repeatedly in a variety of ways. Our favorite method of building support for kids is, of course, through books. When children see representations of themselves and their unique situations in stories, they can better process and validate their feelings and their daily lives.
Cardinal Rule Press believes in showcasing stories from a diverse range of voices and experiences. We are so proud of our newest picture book title, Three Pockets Full by Cindy L. Rodriguez and illustrated by Begoña Fernández Corbalán, which focuses on the layered challenges and joys of learning how to build a loving, respectful blended family.
More about Three Pockets Full:
“Beto won’t wear a guayabera to the wedding. Nope! Nunca! Not going to happen! Beto tries his best to rid himself of the traditional Mexican wedding shirt. He even gets help from his dog Lupe and a drone, but the shirt ends up back on his bed each time with notes from Mami, who becomes increasingly frustrated with Beto. Mami insists that Beto attend the wedding, and wear the shirt, because–after all–it’s her wedding! Beto has to accept the fact that Mami is getting remarried and that she wants him to wear the shirt, which is part of his cultural heritage.”
Don’t miss the “Before Reading,” “While Reading,” and “After Reading” sections of this warm, wholehearted story. These questions and reflective prompts will help engage readers and foster thoughtful dialogue about the story, and the family structure that it represents.
Not only does Three Pockets Full showcase Beto’s family, but the story explores a wide range of big feelings our children will experience, and how we, as grownups, can help them manage these emotions. Facing fears, avoidance, acceptance, and participating in hard conversations are a selection of social-emotional topics covered inThree Pockets Full.
Are you looking for more picture book titles that show all the complexities and joys that come with blended families? After reading Three Pockets Full, here are some of our other favorites:
Life with My Family by Renee Hooker and Karl Jones and Illustrated by Kathryn Durst
When a young girl gets frustrated with her chaotic life at home, she imagines what things would be like if her blended family were animals instead.
When Otis Courted Mama by Kathi Appelt and illustrated by Jill McElmurry
How will Cardell adapt to the presence of her stepdad in her life? With time and love, her perspective can change.
Step One, Step Two, Step Three and Four by Maria Ashworth and illustrated by Andreea Chele
Told entirely in rhyme, this book follows a young girl struggling to accept her four new step-brothers and shows how families of all kinds can show up for one another.
Do You Sing Twinkle?: A Story About Remarriage and New Family by Sandra Levins and illustrated by Bryan Langdo
A “Note to Parents” is included that will help parents talk to their children and deal with common but difficult emotions as they adjust to all the changes in their lives.
And don’t forget to check out the Cardinal Rule Press website for more resources on how you can use Three Pockets Full with your family.
Christie Megill is an editorial and marketing intern at Cardinal Rule Press and she spends most of her spare time reading children’s books. She has experience as a writer, elementary school teacher, curriculum developer, and literacy specialist.