Just the Way We Are
ABC Books, 2016
32pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99
Families come in all sorts of shapes and Anna, Chiara, Henry , Izzy and Jack lovingly introduce the reader to theirs. Anna’s family includes her grandfather who does wonderful things with her after school; Chiara has two dads while Henry lives in one house with his mum and his brother and his dad lives in another house. Izzy is loved by her foster family and there’s only Jack and his mum in his family.
But despite the different configurations there are several things that are all the same – each family does the same sorts of things and enjoys them, each family is full of love and hugs and each family is perfect just the way it is.
With its pastel colours and gentle illustrations, this book is an affirmation of all the different types of families that our children live in and encounter through their friendships and that as long as there is plenty of love and hugs and fun, each family is just the right shape for it. The call for greater diversity of the characters in the stories our children enjoy, both in print and onscreen, is starting to be heard and so it is not only delightful but also important that books like this feature predominantly in our library collections – both school and home. Children have the right and the need to be able to see themselves and their situations reflected in the stories they enjoy so their lives are just as normal as others and marginalisation (and bullying) is minimised.
Using the children’s thumbnail sketches of their families in this book as a role model would be a wonderful way to explore the different shapes of families in the classroom and demonstrate that the common thread of love is the most important of all.