One of the wonderful things about Multicultural Children’s Book Day is books promoting the fact that no matter where we live, we are one family. There are a number of books right now that show that families are family no matter where you are or how you are made up. I love the notion of showing that what a family looks like may change from family to family, but they are all loving units trying to make a way in the world.
Patricia Hegarty and illustrator Ryan Wheatcroft bring us a truly beautiful book in We Are Family. You really have to give credit to both author and illustrator in a book like this, because while the words are powerful, the illustrations are what really get a multicultural and all inclusive message across. This gorgeous book has simple words that talk about how we are there for each other and that we all face similar challenges – rushing around in the morning, sharing family meals, struggles when someone doesn’t feel well, and the joy of a good family vacation or simply a day together. The illustrations subtly get across the message that while each family may not look exactly alike, our experiences are similar. Each spread is full of a wide variety of families – multi-racial, various ethnicities, straight and same-sex. Simple but powerful. Love it!
For a look at how different children live day to day life in different countries, Matt Lamothe brings us an incredibly unique book in This is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World. Lamothe follows the lives of seven real kids from Italy, Japan, Iran, India, Peru, Uganda, and Russia for a single day. Each child’s family looks a little different, but the book puts into simple terms that we are also basically the same. We eat, go to school, play, do chores, and enjoy our families. Through great illustrations and simple explanations, Lamothe tried to show that even though we are all different, there are common bonds that we all share. As his author’s note beautifully explains, “the more you learn about different people, the more you see yourself in the, and the more accepting you become.”
Another favorite of mine is Stella Brings the Family, by Miriam B. Schiffer. I realize that I wrote about this very recently when I talked about being an individual, but it bears repeating. While Stella Brings the Family is mainly about a young girl who has two dads and therefore has issues about celebrating mother’s day in class, the book also shows that there are lots of different family units. Families come in all different shapes and sizes and we all call our parents different things. It doesn’t matter exactly what your family is made up of as long as your family is filled with love. There are a wide number of great positive LGBTQ books about having same sex parents. You can find a great list of them at No Time for Flashcards.
Finally, A Family is A Family is a Family, by Sara O’Leary, is a sweet way for kids to see that families come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and styles. When a teacher wants each child to get up in front of the class and share what makes their families special, a young child is afraid to because she feels that her family is different. After that, each spread shows a different style of family of the other children in the class. There are a variety of races, families with gay and lesbian parents, adoptive families, step-families, and everything in between. This is a wonderfully inclusive book that celebrates all types of families. There are no labels placed on each family, just descriptions. 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.
Share the love of all types of family with your kids!