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A Family Is a Family Is a Family
Contributor(s): O'Leary, Sara, Leng, Qin (Illustrator)
ISBN: 1554987946     ISBN-13: 9781554987948
Publisher: Groundwood Books
    OUR PRICE: $16.20  
Product Type: Hardcover
Published: September 2016
When a teacher asks the children in her class to think about what makes their families special, the answers are all different in many ways — but the same in the one way that matters most of all.

One child is worried that her family is just too different to explain, but listens as her classmates talk about what makes their families special. One is raised by a grandmother, and another has two dads. One is full of stepsiblings, and another has a new baby.

As one by one, her classmates describe who they live with and who loves them — family of every shape, size and every kind of relation — the child realizes that as long as her family is full of caring people, her family is special.

A warm and whimsical look at many types of families written by award-winning author Sara O’Leary, A Family is a Family springs to life with quirky and sweet illustrations by Qin Leng.

Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Families; Fiction.
Family life; Fiction.
Schools; Fiction.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Family
- Juvenile Fiction | Family | Parents
- Juvenile Fiction | Family | Orphans & Foster Homes
Dewey: [E]
LCCN: bl2016039312
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 1-2, Age 6-7
Book type: Easy Fiction
Physical Information: 10.00" H x 9.00" W x 0.25" (0.92 lbs)
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2017 Fall)
This sweet celebration of all kinds of households opens with a teacher asking students to describe their families. From there, each spread is devoted to a different child's unique family; we see lots of siblings, single children, same-sex parents, divorced parents, interracial parents, a foster family, and more. Leng's digitally painted ink drawings are lively and appealing, casually reflecting the cast's diversity. Copyright 2017 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2016 July #3)

When the question of what makes one's family "special" comes up in the classroom, O'Leary's (This Is Sadie) young narrator blushes and looks down in shame. "My family is not like everybody else's," she thinks. Then her classmates take turns talking about their own families, and the differences among them are both marked and wonderful. One boy notes, "I have more grandparents than anybody else I know." Another child explains, "There are lots of kids in our family. Mom and Dad just keep coming home with more." There's a joint-custody family, an adoptive family, a blended family, and multicultural families; there are families led by gay couples and by grandparents. By the time the narrator reveals that she's a foster child, she has realized that difference is an essential part of what makes a family a family. Leng's (Happy Birthday, Alice Babette) drawings of domestic life are, like O'Leary's writing, winsome but never sentimental. Together they offer a straightforward, optimistic view of everyday modern life. Ages 4–7. Author's agent: Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists. Illustrator's agency: Shannon Associates. (Sept.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2016 October)
PreS-Gr 2—A classroom of young children are asked to consider what makes families special. The narrator, a student whose head is hanging low, is nervous about answering, because she feels her family is too different from everyone else's. One by one, the students share, in intricate spreads, what makes their families unique. One student says that her mom and dad keep coming home with more children, another declares that both her moms are terrible singers, another mentions that she lives with her grandmother, and "fair's fair" for a child who stays with her mom one week and her father the next. After listening to all the students, the young narrator recalls a time in the park when her foster mother was asked to point out her real children. Her answer: "Oh, I don't have any imaginary children…. All my children are real." In this warm, nondiscriminating narrative, O'Leary removes limiting definitions and labels like "adopted," "fostered," or "divorced" and instead presents a tale that is innocent and wise. Leng's ink and digitally rendered watercolor illustrations are light and airy and complement the text by capturing the thoughts and purity of a child's perspective. The classroom is a beautiful blend of children of different races, genders, and body types. VERDICT Parents, caregivers, and educators will appreciate the message that this story offers for one-on-one sharing and for discussion with small groups. A sweet and tender tale that shows that families are composed of love regardless of how they may be configured.—Brianne Colombo, Pequannock Township Public Library, NJ. Copyright 2016 School Library Journal.