Friday, April 15, 2016

Just the way we are by Jessica Shirvington and Claire Robertson

Families come in all shapes and sizes, and this charming and engaging picture book introduces you to just some of the forms that a family can take.

Anna's family has her mum and dad, but Grandpa lives with them too and he and Anna do lots of things together.

Chiara has two dads, one she calls dad and one she calls papa.  Sometimes her friends get a little confused, but that's okay because she still gets to do all the same things as her friends - just with two dads!

Henry and his brother have a mum and dad - but mum lives in one house and dad lives in another.

Izzy has a special family, one that Jenny and Aaron chose to make by taking in children who didn't have a family of their own.

And then there is Jack, who lives with just his mum - but that's okay too because lots of children live with one parent rather than two.

Families come in all shapes and sizes, and this picture book allows children to see that there are families just like theirs - and families that can be very different in deed.  Told in a gentle and non-preachy way, this book will help children experience a wider world view in a safe and non-political way.

Too many diverse picture books, and indeed a lot of picture books, focus on hammering home their message or agenda and fail to produce a picture book that appeals to the target audience.  Just the way we are has an agenda, creating a wider world view for children, but it does it in a subtle way that lets you experience the family through the eyes of the child living in that family.  Better suited to slightly older preschoolers aged three and up as by this age they are starting to understand that people are different, and it is an age where they really start to show empathy.  A charming little book to share aloud - I found my family did you find yours?

If you like this book then try:
  • And Tango makes three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnel
  • The name jar by Yangsook Choi
  • My two blankets by Irena Kobald and Freya Blackwood
  • Be who you are by Jennifer Carr; pictures by Ben Rumback
  • It's okay to be different by Todd Parr
  • Elephants cannot dance! by Mo Willems
  • If I had a raptor by George O'Connor
  • Croc and bird by Alexis Deacon
  • The seeds of friendship by Michael Foreman
  • 10,000 dresses by Marcus Ewert; illustrated by Rex Ray
  • The colour of home by Mary Hoffman; illustrated by Karin Littlewood
  • The sandwich swap by Queen Rania of Jordan Al Abdulah with Kelly DiPucchio; illustrated by Tricia Tusa
Reviewed by Brilla

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