________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 18 . . . . January 16, 2015


Families Around the World. (Around the World).

Margriet Ruurs. Illustrated by Jessica Rae Gordon.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2014.
40 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
ISBN 978-1-894786-57-7.

Subject Headings:
Families-Juvenile literature.
Children-Social life and customs-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Sherry Faller.

**** /4



Families around the world are different and yet the same. Some have one child, a mom and a dad. Others have only one parent or lots of kids. And some have two moms or two dads. No matter which language you speak, whether you read the Qur'an or the Bible, pray to Buddha or God or not at all, live in a house, a hut or a palace, you are part of a special family!

A companion volume to Children Around the World by Donata Montanari, Families Around the World by Margriet Ruurs follows the same easy-to-read format. This assortment of families serves as a great introduction for younger readers. Fourteen unique families are featured, some with both parents, same-sex parents, or even multi-racial combinations. Ming Chieh's family has immigrated to Canada from China. Sanne lives in the Netherlands with her two moms and brother Joris, and Jean-Luc lives in Paris, France, with his Papa and Grand-père. Gilad lives on a kibbutz in Israel, and in a Maasai village in Kenya, Nkoitoi carries a water jug on her head.

      A wide selection of homes and customs are included. Each child's greeting is written in her/his own language, for example, 'Bonjour' from France and 'Assalamu Alaikum' from Saudi Arabia. Luckily, the glossary at the back of the book can facilitate the understanding and pronunciation of all unfamiliar words. Cultural foods are also found in the glossary with descriptive explanations, like: "pannekoeken: thin, rolled up pancakes with syrup."

      Each double-page spread illustrates a different child and his or her family. The bright, colourful cartoon-like drawings by Jessica Rae Gordon closely complement the text. The pictures have been created with a combination of acrylic paint, pencil crayon and ink drawings and cut-out paper details, allowing them to appear as though they leap from the pages.

      A useful section for parents and teachers can be found at the back of the book. Suggestions are listed for finding the countries on maps, creating a family tree, making a passport, and other strategies for extending the reader's learning about language and customs. What a great device for revisiting the pages to take a second look!

      Families Around the World is highly recommended for children everywhere to help them learn that the world's children are all very much the same.

Highly Recommended.

Sherry Faller is a retired teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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