All Kinds Of Families! (Mary Ann Hoberman)

Hello, friends! Today’s book is called All Kinds Of Families!, written by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Marc Boutavant. Told in a playful yet slightly complicated rhyme scheme, the book explains that all manner of things can be families: stars in the sky, yams in the cupboard, twigs and sticks and yes, of course, people.

Honestly, this book was pretty disappointing. Anyone who has read this blog knows that I love to see diversity in children’s books, so when I saw this one’s title, I got excited. Unfortunately, while the book is happy to explore the diversity in families of inanimate objects, human families do not get the same treatment. Families of people are shown and described as typically nuclear and as something a child is born into – adoption, fostering, and step-families are not mentioned. And though the book dedicates half of its pages to families made up of slices of bread and buttons in a jar, non-traditional and multicultural families are relegated to a single page that squishes in the book’s only examples of single-parent, adoptive, blended, POC and/or mixed-race families, without a single example of a same-sex family to be found ANYWHERE. I mean, one would assume that a book titled All Kinds Of Families! would explore, you know, all kinds of families. And while there are some nice moments to be found here (the description of family trees is one), and the 60’s-style illustrations are cute and colorful (despite a cringe-worthy page that depicts a white child dressed as an “Indian”), I can’t say that we recommend this one: even JJ was beginning to get bored by its end, and I was frustrated with a lackluster book that didn’t quite live up to the promise of its title. Oh, well. We’ll hope for better luck tomorrow.


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