My Big Family

Reycraft. Oct. 2020. 32p. pap. $7.95. ISBN 9781478868996.
K-Gr 3–A picture book in which each page welcomes readers into the home of a Cuban American family as it grows. Alex’s parents provide a loving and nurturing environment for the arrival of each family member. Cleverly they begin by showing Alex pictures of Abuela Juanita’s home in Cuba and retelling a story about her grand house there. Next, Mama is joyful over a phone call that announces that Aunt Celia and Alex’s cousins will arrive the next day. The charming illustrations are a colorful combination of various textures used in collage to depict the joy of family reuniting, the excitement of cousins playing, and women talking as they cook delicious foods. With every turn of the page the family grows, readers learn Spanish terms, and Alex and his papa count how many can fit into the house. Then comes the day when Alex’s hospitalitly wears thin and he announces there is no more room. And as quickly as everyone came, they’re gone. The cousins and their parents move away and Abuela, too. And just when Alex thinks things will return to normal, his parents announce the arrival of another family member—this time a sibling. The concept of change can be a challenging one to explain to young children and yet, this story makes the case in a simple, human way. This tale has tremendous potential for an engaging and fun read-aloud experience with students.
VERDICT Based in one family’s culture, the themes of families helping each other and coping with change are universal and timeless. Highly recommended.

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