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A Family is a Family is a Family

By Sara O’Leary and Qin Leng

”The teacher asked us what we thought made our family special. I went last because I wasn’t sure what to say. My family is not like everybody else’s.”

Throughout this story, O’Leary and Leng masterfully present a kaleidoscope of family dynamics. Gone are the days when the nuclear family takes precedence over other family types. In today’s world, all sorts of family constitutions are acknowledged and are earning a measure of respect as viable structures. O’Leary and Leng capture the essence of family on each page. Among the many types of families presented are blended families, grandparent families, extended families, single parent families, and foster families. O’Leary’s simply honest words, juxtaposed with Leng’s vividly detailed Illustrations, perfectly capture how each student views his or her family. The concept of difference is as plainly represented, as is the statement that where love abides, family flourishes. This is a wonderful text to use multiple times during the school year as we work to forge classroom and school communities of respect and appreciation. Kindergartners enjoyed this story as an opener to our January and February social studies unit. Here’s what they had to say.

“I like the page where the girl says that her grandmother is her everything. She must be really special to her.”

“I like the page where the dads are tucking the boy into bed. I like when my mom tucks me into bed and she reads me stories,”

“This is a good book because you can know about a lot of different families and all families are good for kids,”

“There are a lot of kids in my family too. We have three brothers and one sister and my grandmother and my mom and my dad, and there’s no room for more.”

”I think the author wrote this book to show all the kinds of families there can be so everybody knows that families are special, and it doesn’t matter what kind of family you have only you need a family.”

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