All Ways Family

Magination Pr. Feb. 2020. 64p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781433831522.
K-Gr 3–Somewhere around the middle of this book, Selva focuses on an important message. The text delineates various types of families: two parent, single parent, blended, adoptive, and childless. Demonstrating that all family configurations are of equal value is a strength of this book, along with its attempt to explain that pregnancy can be achieved in several ways (sometimes using the tools of modern science). The students in this thinly constructed story learn about reproduction from their classroom teacher. And while Selva provides clinical details regarding assisted reproduction, the information obviously must bypass that same level of detail regarding the traditional route to pregnancy. There’s an awkward image of two naked adult bodies standing next to each other, with a sperm hovering between the pair. There is no clear explanation of how the sperm gets inside the woman’s body. Terms like surrogate, genetic disease, and uterus limit the accessibility of the text for young readers, though a glossary is provided.
VERDICT Cartoon illustrations depicting diverse characters reinforce the book’s all-inclusive tone, however, there’s a disconnect between the sophisticated content provided and the age and developmental readiness of the intended audience.

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