Recently we’ve been enjoying The Great Big Book of Families, written by Mary Hoffman and illustrated by Ross Asquith.
This stunning book, aimed at children aged 4 – 8 years, celebrates the many modern ways in which people can come together to become a family – from the typical mum plus dad plus two children to bigger and very small families, same-sex families like us, families by adoption and living with family members who are not their mum and dad at all.
It discusses the many differing facets of family life: the homes in which people live – or indeed, don’t – traditions and celebrations, hobbies and pets. The illustrations depict families of different races, as well as people with disabilities sharing in family life.
We thought this was such a lovely book! I bought it when the boys were almost five and about to start school and we have read it many times since then, relating the different families back to their friends and acquaintances and to other stories. It’s definitely helped to establish a framework for ‘normality’, and to help them to understand that families come in many diverse shapes and that there is no ‘right’ way to become a family – what matters is the love contained within it. Their little sisters, who are three and a half, enjoy looking at the pictures and discussing what they can see, but the narrative itself still feels a little old to them. Nonetheless it’s a worthwhile addition to the library even for them, as we are able to help them to access the same message at a more digestible level.
P.S. We bought ours from our favourite local family-run kids’ shop and if you prefer to support small businesses where you can, you might like to consider buying The Great Big Book of Families here.