'Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think' - the best found families in children's fiction, chosen by Matilda Woods

Published on: 03 March 2020

From the BFG to Sophie Hatter in Howl's Moving Castle, we love stories about 'found families' - families made up of people that might not be related, but form a deep emotional bond. Here are some of author Matilda Woods' favourite found families in children's fiction. 

1. Matilda by Roald Dahl

I absolutely love this book (and also love the movie too!) Matilda is a kind and bright girl who has the misfortune of having horrible parents and an equally horrible brother. Her teacher, Miss Honey, sees how special Matilda is and fights to make sure she is given the opportunities in life that she deserves and has a home where she belongs.

2. Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery

When Anne (an orphan) goes to live with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, they’re intially disappointed: they had been expecting a boy who could help on their farm. But as they get to know Anne they fall in love with her and she falls in love with them. This story is about Anne finding the family she belongs with and Matthew and Marilla expanding their own. Everything about this story makes me happy.

3. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

I love this series because behind all the adventure and magic, it’s really about finding your place in the world and finding the people you belong with. The Dursley’s were so horrible to Harry and it was so satisfying to see him find a home that wasn’t in a cupboard and find people who loved him for who he was.

4. The BFG by Roald Dahl

The BFG isn’t just about a girl finding the family she never had, it’s also about a giant finding a family too. It’s so nice to read a story where two very good people end up with the happy ending they deserve. I think the BFG might be my favourite character of all time.

5. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Nineteen year old Sophie Hatter is shy and depressed and fears her life will never amount to much. When a witch turns her into an old lady, she sets out on an adventure she never would have dreamed of undertaking had she still been young. This is a quirky and funny story with lots of silliness and laugh out loud moments that has a very smart and satisfying ending.

6. The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy

This story follows one year in the life of four adopted boys (Sam, Jax, Eli and Frog) who live with their two dads. This story doesn’t focus on how the boys came to be adopted; instead, it focuses on all the everyday craziness that follows. There’s no epic plot to this story – the boys don’t have to save the world – instead you get to see four very different boys grow up in a home full of humour and love.


Matilda Woods' books include The Girl, The Cat and The Navigator and The Boy, The Bird and The Coffin Maker. Her latest book Otto Tattercoat and the Forest of Lost Things follows the tale of Otto, a little boy who lives in the city of Hodeldorf with his mother. When she goes missing, he must team up with a gang of brave orphans, The Tattercoats, to rescue her. 

Topics: Family, Features

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