We all feel a little different from others from time to time. Sara O’Leary’s sweet book, A Family is a Family is a Family, gently reminds us all that no matter what our differences, we are all the same in the one way that matters most – there are people around us who we love and who love us.
The book starts from the voice of an unknown child who wanted to go last when her teacher asked the class to share what makes their family special. This child wanted to go last because they weren’t sure what to say – “My family is not like everybody else’s.” But what does that mean? What makes this child think that her family is so different?
The rest of the book features a different family on each spread. No two families are exactly alike which also allows each child reading it to see a family that might be similar to theirs. We talk about how important it is for kids to see themselves represented in books, and this story aims to include as many as possible. There are a variety of races, families with gay and lesbian parents, adoptive families, step-families, and everything in between.
The final family belongs to the little girl who wasn’t sure what to say. Turns out that she is a foster child who lives with a very loving woman. Even though these children are not with this woman forever, they are all her “real” children and she loves them unconditionally. The book ends with each child holding a drawing of their family. Our family situations may all be a bit different, but a family is a family is a family.
This is a wonderfully inclusive book that celebrates all types of families. There are no labels placed on each family, just descriptions. This is a sweet way for children to see that as long as their families are full of loving people who care for them, it doesn’t matter who those people are.