Candlewick Press September 2012
Illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott
Whatever city or town I am in, not just big urban centers, but also in suburban and rural communities, I marvel at all the different kinds of families. A few years ago, I realized that today’s young children are growing up in a diverse society, and that a book on all kinds of families, and what’s the same and what’s different about families, even within their own families, would be a book that could grab young children. Soon, this seemed like the perfect topic for the illustrator Nadine Bernard Westcott’s and my four-book series of nonfiction books for young children. In WHO’S IN MY FAMILY? All About Our Families, siblings Nellie and Gus and their parents are off for a day at the zoo, where they see so many different kinds of human families, along with a variety of animal families. To top off their day, Nellie and Gus invite friends and relatives for a big family dinner. My sense is that the matter-of-fact text and conversations between the Gus and Nellie, and the warm accessible illustrations have come together in a book that will help young children feel and understand that no matter what kind of family they have and no matter who is in their family, their families are perfectly normal and totally wonderful!
Hooray! The first reviews are coming in for WHO’S IN MY FAMILY? All About Our Families.
School Library Journal wrote, “This book sets out to reassure children: “Wherever you live, wherever you go, there are all kinds of families.” As readers journey to the zoo with Nellie, Gus, and their family, they learn about where people live, what they eat, their habits and hobbies, and how their families are composed, including references to single parents and same-sex couples. The prose is unadorned and economical, but gentle, and perfect for very young children. Digitally created images are bright and welcoming and feature a host of multicultural characters and diverse families. The conversations between Nellie and Gus featured in speech bubbles alongside the illustrations sweetly reinforce the messages in the broader text: “Right, Gus. Don’t worry. I can be your big sister and your friend. And I am!” This book should find a place in classroom libraries, guidance offices, and public libraries.”
–Alison Donnelly, Mississippi Valley Library District, Collinsville, IL
Kirkus wrote, “Narrative text and speech balloons introduce diverse family constellations in a celebratory spirit of inclusivity and community… the tone remains positive and affirming even as it acknowledges that “sometimes, families have mad times. And sometimes, families have sad times.”” Here’s the link to the full review.