Author: Norma Simon
Illustrator: Joe Lasker
Grade Level: K-2
Summary: Although an older book, it is important to acknowledge the outstanding variety of families and family structures represented throughout the text. What is a family? Simon’s work not only highlights those in the family unit, but the situations and stages of life those families find themselves in at various times in a lifetime.
Element II: All Kinds of Families lends itself to category two by revealing and sharing the diversity found in every day life. By mixing and interchanging family members and experiences, it allows the reader to understand how families vary and compare. For example, examine the following excerpt: “Some families live in the same home for a long time. Other families move from place to place”. This allows one to take a specific family out of one context and place it in one that may relate to another family.
After reading All Kinds of Families (Simon, 1976) students begin by creating posters representing their family (or whatever they may identify as their family). Children then will pair up with a partner to compile lists of similarities and differences between the two family units. Once this step is completed, the class will be asked to discuss various experiences their family may have experienced- (ie: new baby, moving to a new house, parents moving away) this step should be closely monitored by their teacher. In small groups, students will work as a team to create a new “family” based on various family units and live experiences/stages complied and discussed in the class. Once completed, small groups will present their model family to the class.