Back to School
Sara O’Leary & Qin Leng
I looooove A Family is a Family is a Family, it’s one of the books I always include on recommendation lists. Now, a follow-up is out and I might be even more in love with this one than it’s predecessor! A Kid is a Kid is a Kid opens with a statement that being the new kid is hard (and it totally is) but perhaps the most annoying thing is being asked if you’re a boy or a girl (as if there aren’t other options!) when there are so many better questions to ask a new person!
As more kids join the conversation, they chime in with the questions that they’re sick of hearing and volunteer better ones to ask. Why ask why someone wears the same shirt all the time when you can ask what their favorite dance move is, or their pet’s name? Why focus on questions with a deficit mindset, asking what someone with a prosthetic what they can’t do instead of what they enjoy doing?
This book is a beautiful conversation starter, and helps to shift perspectives on what our go-to topics are for small talk (something I don’t particularly enjoy, honestly) and how they can shift to more creative and lead to deeper conversation. This story bucks gender stereotypes and spreads the message that everyone is more multifaceted than what we see at first glance.
The beginning of the school year typically has an influx of new students, and this book would be a perfect addition to any first week read aloud round ups that set the tone for classroom culture. I really love this book, and it has so many small details that are meaningful. Definitely worth checking out, and I think it would be a fun project as a class to come up with a list of questions that are more interesting to ask than the opening question of “are you a boy or a girl?”
This book was kindly sent by Groundwood Books, but all opinions are my own!
Sara O’Leary is a Canadian children’s writer and novelist.
She is the author of a number of critically acclaimed picture books including Maud and Grand-Maud, This is Sadie, A Family is a Family is a Family and When You Were Small.
Her novel, The Ghost in the House, is published by Doubleday Canada.
Qin Leng is a designer and illustrator known for her illustrations of children books. She graduated from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema and has received many awards for her animated short films and artwork.
Throughout her career, Qin has illustrated picture books, magazines and book covers with publishers around the world. Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin, written by Chieri Uegaki, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, and received the APALA Award for best picture book.
She lives in Toronto, with her husband and her son.