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Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Family Is A Family Is A Family, written by Sara O'Leary and illustrated by Qin Leng. Groundwood. 2016. $.18.95 ages 3 and up

"One week Mom gets me.
The next week Dad does.
Fair's fair."

Some people say I look
like my dad and some
people say I look like
my mom. I think I look
like myself.

"My mom says that ... "

When I shared this book in a recent workshop, one of the students asked if there was a blended family. I was happy to tell her that I could not think of a 'family' that was not included. Since then, I have thought about the book, reread it a number of times, and stand by that answer.

It begins in an early years classroom. Thirteen students are seated at desks in a circle, intent on hearing their teacher's question. Why do the kids think their family is unique - not like all other families?

An observant reader will note the child with closed eyes, red cheeks, and a less than open and eager countenance. We all hear the narrator's uncertainty:

"I went last because I wasn't sure what to say.
My family is not like everyone else's."

On the following pages, we hear the voices of each of the children in the class. Those voices are real, funny, matter-of-fact, and eager to share exactly what makes their own family so special. Qin Leng's ink on paper, then colored digitally illustrations are filled with detail, color, and so much love. Kids will find themselves within these pages. That is its strength.

LOVE it!

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