BookBairn and I wanted to celebrate Banned Books Week by reading and reviewing a banned book. This proved tricky, most books aimed at babi...

Banned Books Week: The Family Book

Thursday, October 01, 2015 BookBairn 1 Comments

BookBairn and I wanted to celebrate Banned Books Week by reading and reviewing a banned book. This proved tricky, most books aimed at babies and toddlers are absolutely, and understandably, appropriate. No violence, racism, sexually explicit content, religious or political bias, or offensive language in the picture book market. No surprise really. But I found one!

Its called 'The Family Book' written by Todd Parr. And before you worry about me exposing BookBairn to any of the aforementioned topics/language, I didn't. This book was banned, in my own words, because of small-mindedness. In 2012, a school district in Illinois banned this book after several parents complained that the book discussed different types of family structures and that those issues were not appropriate to be taught at an elementary school level. In short, this book features a page which references same-sex parents and the accompanying text says "some families have two moms or two dads". The offending page didn't bother BookBairn (see the pic below).

This book has such bright illustrations that it even stands out in the bold and colourful children's book market. The simple, yet colourful, artwork, accompanied by easy-to-read text (for when she gets to that stage!) captivated BookBairn's attention. She grabbed this book and tried to feel the illustrations (too many lift-the-flap/touch and feel books?) but she giggled her way through this book. We only got it this week and we've already read it several times!

The illustrations feature both human (in shades and tones from yellow to green to blue) and animal characters celebrating the differences and similarities in families. Some of the book's families have stepmums and stepdads, stepsisters and stepbrothers, some adopt children, some children have only one parent and (ooooo controversially, eye-roll) some have to mums and two dads. The book also highlights (less convincingly) the ways in which all families are alike: the enjoy celebrating together (we've all been to a less-than-perfect family party); they all hug each other (I like to think this true but its not always the case, though I don't mean to say that those families aren't full of love); and they help each other be strong (again, probably not always the case). I am nit-picking a little here but as it's difficult to say how all families are the same as all families are different, I feel these less-convincing pages detract from the message of the book which is beautifully stated on the last page: "There are lots of different ways to be a family. Your family is special no matter what kind it is." This what makes this book wonderful, the message that families come in all shapes and sizes and 'its ok to be different' (another book by Todd Parr).

This book is colourful, whimsical and engaging! It's depiction of all sorts of families is something I want BookBairn to understand and appreciate. Tolerance and kindness is something that can be developed at an early stage (as is prejudice and small-mindedness).

BookBairn - You should know that not all families are the same. I want you to know that our family, though far from perfect, is just one of the many types of families out there. But that in our family you are surrounded by love. And that love comes from all different sorts of people in all different sorts of ways. And that's ok. That's the way it's meant to be!

Love from our family to yours, Mummy and BookBairn xx

(Information about the ban of The Family Book was researched at:

1 comment:

  1. BookBairn's Papa C likes this article and agrees with Mummy (his wee bairn).