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- And Peakie Lived Happily Ever After by Lavinia Russ
- Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery's (older adoptive
- Arthur, For the Very First Time by Patricia MacLachlan is an
example of a good, unusual parent. Moira's "parent", Moreover is
definitely odd. For that matter so are Arthur's aunt and uncle
who are watching him for the summer.
- The Bears' House by Marilyn Sachs
- Blabber Mouth by Morris Gleitzman
- Bloomability by Sharon Creech
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. by Roald Dahl
- The Children of Charlecote by Brian Fairfax-Lucy: (an
apparently privileged family of children are in fact emotionally
and sometimes physically neglected by parents who are obsessed
with preserving their ancestral home)
- Danny, The Champion of the World by Roald Dahl.
- David Copperfield by Charles Dickens:(boy ill-treated by
awful stepfather; eventually finds sanctuary with eccentric aunt)
- Dicey by Cynthia Voigt
- A Door Near Here by Heather Quarles. It won last years
Delacort prize. The mom's a drunk, the oldest daughter struggles
to keep the family going with the help of her siblings. Dad's got
his new family.
- George's Marvelous Medicine, by Roald Dahl,
- Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter: (embittered
- The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, not your average parents
by any stretch!
- Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian: (emotionally
disturbed, abusive mother)
- Great Expectations by Charles Dickens: (Pip brought up by
much older sister and brother-in-law, to say nothing of the most
peculiar relationship between Estella and Miss Haversham)
- The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson (foster family)
- Gumble's Yard by John Rowe Townsend: (children must cope
mostly without the help of their feckless parents)
- Heidi by Johanna Spyri: (child brought up by reclusive
- Journey by First-Class Camel/ Journey to an 800 Number by E.L.
- Juniper by Gene Kemp: (father is a criminal on the run; mother
is seriously depressed and being essentially looked after by her
- A Kind of Thief by Vivien Alcock: (father is a white-collar
criminal; stepmother is an immature young woman who can't cope
with her responsibilities and disappears)
- Libby on Wednesday by Ziplha Keatley Snyder. Libby's mom
moved to New York City when Libby was three years old to pursue
her actress career. (Libby is 11 now.) It is not that she does
not love the family. She had to leave because the "call" to
pursue the career was so strong. She still comes home (near San
Francisco) between jobs and makes important decisions for the
- Lyddie by Katherine Paterson(absent father, mentally ill
mother, oldest girl trying to fill the gap),
- Matilda, by Roald Dahl.
- Me and Fat Glenda? It is about a girl with hippie parents. The
mother, Inez, wears black leotards, eats only raw food, and paints
the master bedroom black. The father, Drew, is a university
professor who drives a garbage truck and collects junk.
- Memoirs of a Bookbat by Kathryn Lasky.
- Misery Guts by Morris Gleitzman
- MY LOUISIANA SKY, by Kimberley W. Holt, features a girl whose
parents are both mentally challenged, while she herself is not.
It is a well written and compelling story.
- The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (older brothers trying to act as
- The Pillars of the House by Charlotte Yonge: (older siblings
act as surrogate parents)
- The President's Daughter by Ruth Emerson White (mother as US
- Puppy Fat by Morris Gleitzman
- Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farmby Kate Douglas Wiggin: (child
mainly brought up by aunts, though her mother is alive)
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett: (Colin's father
is permanently absent, and leaves him with servants; Mary's
parents are dead, and had obviously never been very interested in
- Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher (absent
father/single mother with boyfriend, absent mother/abusive father)
- Sticky Beak by Morris Gleitzman
- Tex by S.E. Hinton
- The Trolls by Polly Horvath (published in March 1999, Farrar).
The story is about a family (mom, dad, 3 kids) that is more or
less functional. The parents go on vacation and an aunt comes to
stay with the kids, telling them stories about their father as a
child. The stories she tells are not particularly sweet or
nostalgic, and some of them involve family rifts that have never
been healed. The overall narrative lands someplace between
dysfunctionalfamily and humorous normalcy, which is an intriguing
place to land.
- Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt (aunt filling in as parent
after mother's death--father still alive but not caring daily for
- UP COUNTRY, by Alden Carter, was his single-parent mother
unusual because of her drinking and bringing home "fancy men?"
- Weetzie Bat by Francesca Block (both generations)
- Worry Worts by Morris Gleitzman
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle (scientist parents--Meg
definitely feels they are "different" from other parents)
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Updated: May 22, 1999 | Copyright © 1999 by Nancy
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