The DIVerse Families glossary defines each of the subject categories that provide the organizational framework for books in the bibliography. Each subject is linked to its corresponding group of materials.



Family Relationships

Family relationships grow through the connections we create with the people in our lives. Your family can be made of blood or non-blood relatives, friends, or pets, or a combination of these. Diverse families and their relationships are slowly becoming the new norm and will only continue to grow as the world progresses.


Adoption stories discuss children and teenagers who are adopted into new families. These characters can be newly adopted or long-term members of the family. These stories often include adoptive parents and/or adoptive siblings.


Divorce stories discuss the legal dissolvement of marriage between two people, oftentimes the parents in the story. The emotional impact of divorce on children and teenagers are discussed, as well as how altered living arrangements are organized.

Family Member Death

Family member death stories discuss the familial impact when a member of the family is killed or dies of natural causes. These stories often highlight the grief experienced by parents and children.

Family Violence

Family violence stories discuss abuse in the family. Abuse can be described as physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual. Abusers in the family can be parents; siblings, grandparents, or aunts and uncles.

Foster Care

Foster care stories discuss children and teenagers who are put through the foster care system and are now being taken care of by foster families, which include foster parents and foster siblings. In many of these stories, foster care can, but not always, eventually lead to adoption.


Homelessness stories discuss the struggles that families face when they lose their homes, often due to financial hardship. These stories often portray the shame and embarrassment felt by children and teenagers at school and what parents do to help their family’s situation.


Incarceration stories discuss family members who have been imprisoned due to criminal acts. They can be confined in prison, jail, or juvenile detention. These stories often highlight the impact that incarcerated parents and/or children can have on the family.

Kinship Care

Kinship care stories discuss temporary guardianship of a child or teenager by a relative when the parent(s) are unable to provide care due to certain circumstances. This is not a legal declaration and it is assumed that guardianship will go back to the parents.

Language Barrier

Language barrier stories discuss communication difficulties due to different languages between members of a family and difficulties with interpersonal communication within the community. These stories often portray a family that has recently moved to a new country or an adopted child from a foreign country.

Legal Guardianship

Legal guardianship stories discuss the new primary caretaker of a child or teenager when the biological parents are no longer able to provide care. Legal guardians can be relatives such as grandparents, aunts and uncles, and siblings, or friends of the family.

Military Families

Military family stories discuss the familial impact when a member serves for their country’s military. These stories discuss the feelings of spouses and children while they wait for their family member to return home or to deploy.

Parental Rights Termination

Parental rights termination stories discuss the termination of parental rights due to abandonment of the child, unfitness of the parent(s), or physical and emotional abuse of the child. The parent(s) are no longer responsible for the child and often the state will determine temporary or permanent guardianship of the child.


Poverty stories discuss the struggles that families face when they are going through a financial hardship that results in the inability to purchase necessities such as food and clothing. An impoverished family does not always equate to a homeless family. These stories highlight the negative effects that poverty can have on children and teenagers, while also describing familial unity.


Separation stories discuss the separation between two partners, oftentimes the parents in the story, where they remain legally married but no longer live together. These stories frequently address how children and teenagers are impacted emotionally and what the new living arrangements are.

Single Parent

Single parent stories discuss the family dynamics of children and teenagers being raised by one parent, either a single mother or a single father.

Step Parent

Step parent stories discuss the family dynamic when a parent remarries and brings a step parent into the family or when a step parent is already a part of the family. These stories often highlight how children and teenagers react in these situations and how they adjust to the new family norms.


Surrogacy stories discuss a parent’s and/or parents’ use of a surrogate mother to conceive a child. These stories often discuss egg donors and sperm donors.


These stories demonstrate how diverse cultures and ethnicities are an integral and vital part of America. Often books on this theme promote the importance of embracing differences.


Bicultural stories contain individuals who practice cultural attitudes and customs of two nations, peoples and/or ethnic groups. Many of these stories depict different cultural practices not typically seen in an “average” American household.


Multicultural stories demonstrate the coexistence of people or groups of people with different cultural and/or ethnic groups. This could be a single family with members coming from different cultural backgrounds or an entire community. 


Biethnic stories contain a person or relationship that is a result of a mixture between two ethnic groups. These stories will shed light on how they cohabitate and the challenges they may possibly face and how they overcome them. The challenges may come from family members or society.


Multiethnic stories contain a person or community that is a result of a mixture of more than two ethnic groups. These stories will shed light on how these individuals cohabitate and the challenges they may possibly face and how they overcome them. The challenges may come from family members or society.

Racial Diversity

Racial diversity displayed in families continues to expand as people from different racial backgrounds overcome the hurdles and stigma of mixed race relationships, marriage, and children. Often these stories reveal themes involving racism and prejudice.


Biracial stories contain children, teenagers, and adults who are a product of two racial groups. These stories often portray biracial children and teenagers where their parents are of two different races. A topic that is regularly covered is racial identity. 


Interracial stories discuss relationships between individuals of two racial groups. Many of these stories depict interracial relationships and marriages.


Multiracial stories contain individuals who consist of or identify with more than two racial groups.

Race Discrimination

Race discrimination stories consist of individuals who are discriminated upon and treated less than because of the color of their skin and their racial identity. These stories often highlight the struggles that children and teenagers face when trying to get others to appreciate them for who they are versus being judged by the color of their skin.


LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning. Although this is an expansive list, the gender and sexuality spectrum is not limited to these five terms, hence the +. These stories seek to normalize families with gay and lesbian parents and any other family member who is LGBTQ+.


Homosexuality stories contain parents, children, and other relatives who are discovering their sexualities or have already discovered their sexuality and are living their lives proudly. These stories often feature same-sex relationships and the challenges gay and lesbian people face and how to deal with them.


Bisexuality stories contain individuals that are attracted to both men and women, or to people of various gender identities. These stories depict teenagers and adults discovering their sexuality and describe some of the challenges bisexual people face. 


Transgender stories discuss individuals whose gender identity does not correspond with their biological sex assigned at birth. These stories often describe people’s feelings of discomfort with their assigned sex and the stigma associated with being transgender. Many of the stories depict a person going through the transitioning process or have already transitioned into a transgender man or a transgender woman.

Gender Nonconformity

Gender nonconformity stories depict children and teenagers who do not follow the typical gender role associated with their sex. These stories often demonstrate that individuality should be celebrated and not looked down upon. Many of the stories highlight gender expression and gender roles. 


Intersex stories discuss individuals who do not have easily identifiable reproductive organs either internally and/or externally, or have external sexual characteristics of both male and female. These stories often discuss young people discovering their intersexuality and the challenges they face with their peers.


Androgyny stories contain individuals who do not exclusively identify as either male or female in terms of gender identity and who may or may not be intersex. These stories discuss the struggles that androgynous people face in their everyday lives with their families and peers.