#962 – A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O’Leary and Qin Leng

Groundwood Logos Spine A Family Is a Family Is a Family
Written by Sara O’Leary
Illustrated by Qin Leng
Groundwood Books   9/13/2016
32 pages   Ages 4—7

“What is a family?

“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 one way that matters most of all.

“This warm, whimsical look at many types of families is written by Sara O’Leary, with sweet, quirky illustrations by Qin Leng.” [inside jacket]

When her teacher asks the class to explain what makes each of their families special, one young girl answers last by choice (she sits directly across from the teacher, number seven from either direction). This young girl is unsure what to say, believing her family is different from every else’s family—and she may be right.

9781554987948-01_hrThe first student to answer says her parents have been best friends since they were in first grade. About her interracial parents, the young girl says,

“They really like each other. It’s kind of gross.”

Another student’s parents are divorced, while a third‘s family is a blended. One of the boys tells the class he has two dads, while another has two moms. One of the funniest responses came from the young boy, with a single mom. He says,

“We have a new baby in our house. I think my mom ordered him online.”

Next is a young girl, the one who waited until last. She relates a moment with her family while in the park. A woman approaches and asks her mother, which of her three children are her “real children.” This horrible question is really asking which kids are foster kids. Mom knows how to answer this insensitive question, and does so perfectly.

“Oh, I don’t have any imaginary children. All my children are real.”

The young girl is the foster child, immediately put at ease by the thoughtful woman caring for her.

Students have a variety of familial situations. In fact, in this class of thirteen, there are thirteen types of families. Each family is different, yet each family is the same in one very important way: Love. Every student, no matter the make-up of their family, whether there is one parent or two, one child or ten, their parents loved them, the glue of love holds together each family, regardless of its make-up.

A Family is a Family is a Family can find an audience in many settings. In schools, teachers (especially at the lower grades), can read this story, then discuss it and have the students describe their families, helping young children—at a time when they are most receptive—understand diversity before it is used to cause them or others pain.

twodadsFamilies can read this story at home and help their own children understand diversity, their own or that of another family. Hopefully, both teachers and parents will create sensitive children, open to, and accepting of differences. A Family is a Family is a Family is useful in counseling settings for these same reasons, only in this setting the story might help enlighten both children and adults.

The illustrations are whimsical with a light touch and beautiful. Each family is shown in a happy moment, where their world is normal and natural regardless of its composition. The young girl is afraid her situation will be difficult to explain, until all the other families are so different. If a family with two moms or two dads, one with interracial couples, a single mom, or just a grandmother being mom is okay, then maybe her family isn’t so difficult to explain after all. The young girl finds courage to tell a moment with her family

9781554987948-02_hrA Family is a Family is a Family accomplishes what many stories of diversity try to accomplish. It shows families are widely different today, not simply the mother-father-kids standard of years past—actually decades past. As we peek in on this teacher’s class, we see these families as normal because the teacher and her students accept each family matter-of-factly, without judgement or fear. A copy of A Family is a Family is a Family should be in every waiting room of every pediatrician’s office, social service agency, early-grade classrooms, and anywhere children gather.

A Family is a Family is a Family is a deceptively brilliant story that can build bridges over the gaps of diversity.

This excerpt is taken from A Family is a Family is a Family, text copyright © 2016 by Sara O’Leary, illustrations copyright © 2016 by Qin Leng. Reproduced with permission from Groundwood Books, Toronto. http://www.groundwoodbooks.com 

AmazonIndie BooksGroundwood Books

Find A Family is a Family is a Family on Goodreads HERE.
An Interview with Sara O’Leary “On Writing for Children” is HERE.

Sara O’Leary:  http://123oleary.blogspot.com/
Follow on Twitter          @saraoleary

Qin Leng:  http://qinleng.blogspot.com/
Follow on Twitter          @qinleng

Groundwood Books :  http://groundwoodbooks.com/
Follow on Twitter         @GroundwoodBooks

Groundwood Books is an imprint of House of Anansi Press.

Reprinted with permission from A FAMILY IS A FAMILY IS A FAMILY © 2016 by Sara O’Leary, Groundwood Books, an imprint of House of Anansi Press, Illustrations © 2016 by Qin Leng.




Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

A Family is a Family is a Family
Written by Sara O’Leary
Illustrated by Qin Leng
Groundwood Books 9/13/2016


9 thoughts on “#962 – A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O’Leary and Qin Leng

  1. What a great review, Sue 🙂 I was INSTANTLY drawn to this book by its title and cover. And the humor is just fantastic! Can’t say enough about the “imaginary vs. real” comment 😀 Just love this! Will be looking for it 😀


If you like this post ... Why?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.