Title: Every Family is Different
Author: Maureen Eppen
Illustrator: Veronica Rooke
Published: January 31st 2018
Publisher: Serenity Press
Rating: 4.5 stars
Who’s in your family?
Some children live with their mum and dad, others live with their grandparents or foster parents. Some live in a big house, others live in a tiny apartment.
With captivating illustrations, Every Family is Different celebrates what it means to be part of a family, and reminds us that there’s something that’s always the same in every family…
Some families are small, others are large. Some have pets, others do not. Some have two dads, some have grandparents, while others have step brothers and sisters. Either way, we know one thing is guaranteed, families are full of love and this is the central message of Every Family is Different, penned by local writer Maureen Eppen.
Maureen Eppen’s new picture book, Every Family is Different poses the question, who is in your family? The answer, when we delve beneath the surface, is expansive. Every Family is Different explores not just the nuclear family unit (mum, dad and two kids) but all types of families. From families with just one dad or mum, to living with grandparents or foster carers, Eppen explores every family composite within her embracing picture book. Every Family is Different also reminds us that families live in many varied household arrangements, from big houses, to tiny apartments. The message remains the same, love is the gel that binds us together as families. Every Family is Different offers a gala of various family types and it works to commemorate each and every one of them.
I turned to Every Family is Different for educational reasons. I observed a lack of engaging picture books in the five years up age group that could adequately cover the teaching ground necessary in exposing young students to a variety of family groupings. In a changing climate, where we are working towards embracing change and difference, it is so important that children’s literature keeps up with this trend. I was extremely thankful for the release and timing of this picture book, it was a lifesaver. My students engaged very easily with this story during our whole class read aloud session. I also feel Every Family is Different could be used in the home to help young children understand that there are different families out there that may be the same, or contrasted to their own. At the same time, this book is a great tool to give children the comfort and reassurance that although their own family might look different, that’s ok.
Supporting the nurturing and well composed prose of this text is a complimentary set of illustrations by Veronica Rooke. With inviting illustrations of cute pets, smiling children and cheerful adults, this is a lively set of illustrations that will be sure to command the attention of any reader. Eppen and Rooke seem to work in harmony in this picture book collaboration. The words and the illustrations connect, so that the end result is a text that is simple, but it has so much to give to the reader. I am always amazed by the partnership that exists between an author and illustrator in children’s picture books . In Every Family is Different Veronica Rooke seems to give life to Maureen Eppen’s thoughtful prose, so that it resonates with the audience.
Every Family is Different is a book that is positively written and expressed from the heart. I could sense from the text that the author has a strong sense of understanding of how we need to embrace alternative family sets. Maureen Eppen is a writer who in touch with today’s society and our shift towards the need to celebrate diverse families. We need to see more books such as Every Family is Different in the hands of our young people, as they are a gentle gesture of love, acceptance, tolerance and act as great tool in breaking down barriers. On a final note, I loved the front cover picture motif which depicts different pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, featuring images of various types of families. It is great way to help the reader feel at ease and to assist the audience to see that every family, no matter the type, is just one small but connective piece of a wider community puzzle.
Every Family is Different is a joyful and sincere picture book that has great value.
Every Family is Different by Maureen Eppen and Illustrated by Veronica Rooke was published on 31st January 2018 by Serenity Press. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Every Family is Different, Maureen Eppen, visit here.
To learn more about the illustrator of Every Family is Different, Veronica Rooke, visit here.
Every Family is Different is book #77 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge