A Family Is a Family Is a Family by Sara O’Leary, illustrated by Qin Leng
Talking about families can sometimes be daunting for kids, especially when you can’t check off those expected, so-called “traditional” boxes on who’s who of your bestest loved ones. Sitting in her classroom discussing “what we thought made our family special,” one little girl is not quite sure what she’ll share. “My family is not like everybody else’s,” she thinks to herself.
And so the children take turns …
“My mom and dad have been best friends since first grade,” the first child offers. “They really like each other. It’s kind of gross.”
“There are lots of kids in our family,” another reveals. “Mom and Dad just keep coming home with more.” One little girl is convinced her mother ordered her baby brother online.
Another boy has two moms who “like to sing really loud,” and still another has two dads who “both give good hugs.” Some have parents of various backgrounds and ethnicities. A few more have integrated families of hers, his, ours.
And finally, the storytelling little girl gets her turn. What she shares with her class make her mother a kick-a** hero for sure. Of course, you’ll have to read the book to find out how her family is a family is a family indeed.
As author Sara O’Leary configures her many delightfully diverse familial units, artist Qin Leng – with her signature style so overflowing with whimsy and charm – imbues each member with individual identity and unique personality, all brought together with enveloping warmth and unbreakable bonds. The message is powerfully simple: no one gets to define a family but the members themselves.
Audacious and obvious both, Family is already a well-deserved bestseller on our northern neighbor’s various lists. That said, this Canadian import undoubtedly belongs on bookshelves everywhere.