In all the schools I’ve taught in and in all the schools my children have attended (and never have the two overlapped), the concept of family always makes its way into some unit of study. It could be a preschool lesson, starting with self, moving to family, and onto neighborhoods and communities. Or, it might be a back-to-school activity to get to know one another. And sometimes, teachers discuss families so as to illustrate how different countries and cultures live and interact.
While I’ve been enjoying many family-themed books that have been published in recent years, I have a new favorite. A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Qin Leng (which strikes a wonderfully cheerful tone). As with many books about family, this one – in a very gentle and truthful way – describes a variety of families. One child is being raised by a grandparent; one child lives in a blended family with full and step-siblings; one child has two fathers; one family has adopted children (and, by the way, I got teary when I read what the mom said about her “real” children).
What I love – and what sets this book apart from some of the other family books out there – is the child’s initial nervousness. Unsure what the other students will make of her family, she quickly realizes that all of her classmates have different sorts of families – there is no standard, no one kind of family. Tapping into that childlike insecurity of oh, no, what will everyone else think makes this story so real. Concluding it with the understanding that all of us are unique, as are the families in which we belong, makes this story so authentic.
A beautiful way to appreciate your family.
~ Follow this book’s prompt and talk (or write or draw) about what makes your family so special?
~ Chat with your peeps and see if they’ve ever felt worried about sharing information, only to discover later that they’re not so strange or atypical after all.
~ Pair with other quality books about family, such as:
Get some conversations going!
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