Tuesday 4 September 2012

248. Who's In My Family? All About Our Families by Robie H Harris illustrated by Nadin Bernard Westcott

Who's In My Family? All About Our Families by Robie H Harris illustrated by Nadin Bernard Westcott
Published September 2012 Candlewick Press

From the publisher:
Join Nellie and Gus and their parents for a day at the zoo, where they see all kinds of children and families - both animal and human! To top off their day, Nellie and Gus invite friends and relatives for a big dinner at home. The warm, humorous, family-filled illustrations; friendly conversations between the two siblings and matter-of-fact text will help young children feel that whoever is in their family, it is perfectly normal and totally wonderful. 

One of the things at the forefront of my mind whenever I read a book these days, is the Australian Curriculum.  Not that every book has to have a purpose, other than sheer enjoyment, but certain books just jump out at me when I can see their usefulness.  This is one of those books.

While this book is non fiction, it is very readable.  There are two levels of text, the main text which is large, and is about 2-3 lines on each page.  Then there are the speech bubbles, which at times elaborate on the main text and others which are simply conversations which support the statements in the main text.

It makes a point of showing all kinds of families, both directly, as a part of the text, and sometimes the information is in the pictures.  There are single parent families, two parent families, same sex parent families, extended families, where aunts, uncles and grandparents all live together, as well as families with one child, four children, or even no children.  As well as the different people in families, it also looks at the different things that families might do together, different things that different families might eat and how not all people in the same family look alike.  Because there is a zoo visit, there is also mention of the different kinds of animal families. The main theme of the book is that no matter who the people are in your family, families love each other, and love being together. 

Of course, in reality, for some children their family life may not be as loving and supportive as the ones represented in this book.  There is a mention that all families may have angry times and unhappy times, but how they get over those times is not really explained, it's just implied that in happy families, the family members will get over the problems, and everything will be fine.

In the Australian Curriculum, this book could be very useful in History, Foundation level, looking at personal and family histories.  One of the best things about this book, is that there is so much more information in the pictures, because of this it would work really well as a basis for discussion, after reading it, you could as what else the children can see in the pictures.

Who will like this book: Teachers and boys and girls age 5+
Read it if you like: Big Book of Families by Laurence and Catherine Anholt

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