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The Great Big Book of Families

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A challenging experience can make a young child feel as if they are in emotional free fall. As a parent, you can’t stop them falling, but you can offer them a softer landing: As we know, the publisher’s bottom line in making changes after publication is a monetary one. If a publisher knows that a particular book or series (or the company itself) will be boycotted over an issue, it’s more likely that changes will be made. (I believe that that’s what happened in the AMAZING GRACE series. And what happened when our review of MY HEART IS ON THE GROUND was published was amazing!) The author, Mary Hoffman, is the author of the well-reviewed _Amazing Grace_, _Boundless Grace, and _Princess Grace_.

Shannon’s text is delivered in spare, rhythmic, lilting verse that begins with one and counts up to 10 as it presents different groupings of things and people in individual families, always emphasizing the unitary nature of each combination. “One is six. One line of laundry. One butterfly’s legs. One family.” Gomez’s richly colored pictures clarify and expand on all that the text lists: For “six,” a picture showing six members of a multigenerational family of color includes a line of laundry with six items hanging from it outside of their windows, as well as the painting of a six-legged butterfly that a child in the family is creating. While text never directs the art to depict diverse individuals and family constellations, Gomez does just this in her illustrations. Interracial families are included, as are depictions of men with their arms around each other, and a Sikh man wearing a turban. This inclusive spirit supports the text’s culminating assertion that “One is one and everyone. One earth. One world. One family.”

This is a great non-fiction book to introduce the topic of families, particularly during a PSED or PSHE session around families. It is up to date, with a diverse range of family types such as children who just live with their daddy or families where there are two mummies and shows families of mixed races and families with members with disabilities. The book also looks at other aspects of family life such as housing, pets, celebrations and work through the eyes of a child. This book feels genuinely inclusive, with no situation being labelled better or worse than any other. This book covers all of that as well as economic status, housing situations, transport options, even pets. The illustrations are colourful and funny and completely engage any child, or adult who's reading this.

The Great Big Book of Families represents a lovely diverse mix of different types of families, reminding us that families come in all shapes and sizes, from single parent families to same sex couple parents, grandparents that live with us, extended families, blended families and many more. Mary Hoffman has written over 100 books for children. Amazing Grace, commended for the Kate Greenaway medal, and its sequels has sold over 1.5 million copies. As well as the successful Stravaganza sequence of teenage novels, translated into over thirty languages, The Great Big Books series of information books for younger readers, illustrated by Ros Asquith has done very well. The first, The Great Big Book of Families, won the inaugural SLA Information Book Award in the under 7s category. Categories: Acceptance & Inclusion, Adoption & Fostering, Being Different & Being Yourself, Divorce / Separation, Non-traditional FamiliesWhat is a family? Once, it was said to be a father, mother, boy, girl, cat and dog living in a house with a garden. But as times have changed, families have changed too, and now there are almost as many kinds of families as colours of the rainbow. The myriad of families depicted is the so called traditional heterosexual parents, gay and lesbian parents, single parents, families with one, many, or no children, blended families, multi-ethnical families, multi-race families, multi-generational families, adopted families, large families, and small families. It goes on to tell where some families live and how they live. The book ends with the question of questioning the reader about their family.

The difference in language might be a British/American edition thing. British English uses "fancy dress party" where American English uses "Costume party." Inexcusable either way.Miss 3 and I like to explore different books and authors at the library, sometimes around particular topics or themes. We try to get different ones out every week or so; it's fun for both of us to have the variety and to look at a mix of new & favourite authors. Lucy is a clever little cat who knows how to do everything. She can eat with a spoon and fork, play the xylophone, even fold fabulous paper stars. In fact, all her friends ask her for help if they cannot do something. When Toshi the panda arrives from far away, Lucy doesn't understand why he does everything differently. She becomes increasingly frustrated wh…

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