In a familiar scene, a child sits anxiously in her classroom as the teacher asks students to share how their families are different. The girl chooses to go last, unsure of what to say because her family "is not like everybody else's." One by one, her classmates describe their loved ones—a happy array of diverse family arrangements—with something a little embarrassing about each of them. There are the parents who "really like each other. It's kind of gross"; the lesbian moms who sing badly and loudly from the rooftops; the mom who seems to have ordered a baby online; divorced families; interracial families; single-parent families; and families in which everyone looks exactly alike. At the very end, the shy protagonist realizes she has nothing to be worried about and reveals her foster family to be as special as all the rest. Cheerful watercolor illustrations capture the fun and whimsy of this whole cast and make this book a delightful, unsubtle celebration of difference and variety. Copyright 2016 Booklist Reviews.Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews
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 LLCReview by School Library Journal Reviews
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.
As she listens to her classmates describe the various shapes and sizes of their families, a little girl becomes less worried that her foster family is to different to explain.Review by Publisher Summary 2
After their teacher asks them what is special about their families, a class full of students each give an answer, but one student is worried that her family isn't that special at all.Review by Publisher Summary 3
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.Review by Publisher Summary 4
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.