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BEGINNINGS, HOW FAMILIES COME TO BE

Author: Virginia Kroll

Illustrator: Stacey Schuett

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company, © 1994

Material: hard cover

Summary: This is a collection of six short stories, each describing ways we bcome a family: by birth or through adoption. Not unlike Tell Me Again... the child in each story wants to hear for the umpty-umph time how s/he came to be part of the family. This is a nice way to introduce (or re-emphasize) that families come together in lots of different ways.

Type of Reading: family reading

Recommended Age: 5 to 9

Age of Child: Started reading with child 2 years old.

Young Reader Reaction: S/He stopped all activity and crawled into our lap for several of the stories. It was clear s/he was immediately taken by them.

Adult Reader Reaction: The stories not only describe all types of family situations (infant and child adoption, international, domestic and single-parent adoption) but also introduce multi-cultural families and different settings (urban, suburban).

Pros: Each story is 4 pages (lots of illustration), which helps keep a child's attention. Because they focus on different cultures, there's opportunity to talk about diversity. It's great if you want to go beyond traditional "mommy, daddy & me" type stories.

Cons: Two of three stories about infant adoptions draw on stereotypical themes (i.e., young girl becomes pregnant). The stories in no way judge the birth mother, but they do introduce youth and poverty as central to her decision.

Borrow or Buy: Buy it if your goal is to introduce a variety of adoptive stories, and if you're looking for a book that goes beyond the normal homogeneous description of a family.

If You Liked This Book, Try: THE SEA CHEST   TELL ME AGAIN ABOUT THE NIGHT I WAS BORN   THE DAY WE MET YOU

Educational Themes: This is a nice book for introducing different types of families, particularly focusing on today's multi-cultural family/world.

Literary Categories: Fiction - adoption, family

Date(s) Reviewed: July 2003

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