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The Great Big Book of Families

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This fun and fascinating treasury features all kinds of families and their lives together. Each spread showcases one aspect of home life - from houses and holidays, to schools and pets, to feelings and family trees. Ros Asquith's humorous illustrations perfectly complement a charming text from the acclaimed Mary Hoffman; kids will love poring over these pages again and again. A celebration of the diverse fabric of kith and kin the world over, The Great Big Book of Families is a great big treat for every family to share.

40 pages, Hardcover

First published March 1, 2010

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About the author

Mary Hoffman

251 books579 followers
See also works published under Mary Lassiter

Mary Hoffman is a bestselling British author and reviewer, born in 1945. She is a true enthusiast of Italy and spends a lot of her time there, which shows in her Stravaganza novels: a series currently in publication. In total, she has written over 80 books, including the aforementioned Stravaganza series and the bestselling picture book, Amazing Grace. Mary is also the editor of a review magazine Armadillo for kids.

Watch the book trailer for David, Mary Hoffman's most recent novel

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5 stars
248 (48%)
4 stars
178 (34%)
3 stars
72 (13%)
2 stars
14 (2%)
1 star
4 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 129 reviews
Profile Image for Chelsea.
872 reviews7 followers
April 28, 2016
This book is AMAZING!

Living in a white first world country with white heterosexual middle class parents, I often try to find ways to expose my children to different cultures, family structures and beliefs.

This book covers all of that as well as economic status, housing situations, transport options, even pets. The illustrations are colourful and funny and completely engage any child, or adult who's reading this.

One of my absolute favourite kids books!
Profile Image for Kathryn.
4,246 reviews
May 8, 2012
A nice book that features a wide variety of families from "traditional families" to blended families; multi-cultural and multi-racial families; single parent families; families headed by lesbian or gay parents, grandparents, foster parents; families with many siblings or cousins or great-grandparents, even; families with just one child and one adult... Beyond the basic family make-up, the book also explores jobs (sometimes only one parent works, sometimes both do, sometimes parents are out of work), school (most kids go to school but some are homeschooled or are too young for school), food (most buy food at a grocery store but some grow their own), residences (some live in big houses, some in apartments, some don't have a home), on to hobbies and even how different families express themselves and share (or don't share) their feelings. They really try to show a variety here, and not focus on the "traditional" (such as showing the mom going to work while the dad stays home with the kids; or showing the father and son sharing emotions by shedding a tear). I appreciate the effort and the illustrations are fun if a bit cartoon-y and not my usual favorite illustration style (kids will probably enjoy looking for the cat on every page; I guessed his name was Max, maybe you can guess why?) Overall, I'm not sure this will leave a lasting impression on me, but I'm glad that books like this are out there and, while it certainly isn't possible to cover the entire range of family possibilities out there, it does a good job at most of them.
Profile Image for Miri Gifford .
1,567 reviews64 followers
July 1, 2016
I love this book. On each page it shows several different kinds of families—how some live in houses, some live in apartments, and some don't have anywhere to live; some wear jeans all the time, some like to dress up, and some wear whatever they want (this shows a boy wearing a tutu and a kid in pajamas, I think); some kids have a mom and a dad, some have only one or the other, some are raised by their grandparents, and some have two moms or two dads. I love anything that teaches kids that everyone is different, that that's okay, and not to judge people who don't do things exactly the same way they do. (Frankly, most of the adults I know could use some reminders in this area, too.)
Profile Image for Bookishrealm.
1,909 reviews4,799 followers
September 15, 2016
If you are looking for a book that introduces children to the different structures, rituals, style, living situations, etc of families I HIGHLY recommend this book. It was amazing and I love that it made everything so simple and easy to understand. This book definitely focuses on the elements of diversity.
Profile Image for Kris.
2,935 reviews70 followers
June 26, 2020
Love the representation of all kinds of families. My one complaint is that this felt a little like it was trying to be everything to everyone. It tries to cover every possible scenario, which is of course, impossible. But points for the attempt and the cute illustration!
Profile Image for Adele.
755 reviews21 followers
May 15, 2019
This wasn't bad, but I was expecting something more I guess.
97 reviews
February 24, 2021
I liked this book until I got to the end of it where it asks if you've ever made a family tree. Up to that point it had talked about all kinds of different families including adopted children and foster children. For this reason I'm going to give it 2 stars.
Profile Image for Marianne.
1,253 reviews28 followers
July 29, 2018
3.5 stars

really a charming and at times provocative book.
1,157 reviews6 followers
August 30, 2022
Really a very nice book, fun colorful drawings & easy language for kids to relate to & understand. Everyone can enjoy this book....this is one that should be in every library! It really is very good!
Profile Image for Carolynne.
813 reviews25 followers
February 10, 2012
Nearly every possible variety of family is pictured in this joyful book--every race, every gender combination, every major religion, every mood and personality, single parent, two parent, blended families, small families, big families, with long lists of relatives, families with different hobbies, families with different modes of transportation, and more There is even a very grouchy looking Grandma and cranky dad on one page (showing a family tree for a blended family--Dad and Grandma and sour Uncle Sven are apparently out in the cold).
The author, Mary Hoffman, is the author of the well-reviewed _Amazing Grace_, _Boundless Grace, and _Princess Grace_.
The artist, Ros Asquith, is a regular cartoon contributor to The Guardian in England. The watercolor and pen illustrations in this book are detailed and humorous, and each double spread page has a border of small figures, families or foods or houses, to match the contents of the page. A striped kitty appears on each page and children are challenged to figure out its name.
Profile Image for Nicola.
3,278 reviews
February 2, 2018
Miss 3 and I like to explore different books and authors at the library, sometimes around particular topics or themes. We try to get different ones out every week or so; it's fun for both of us to have the variety and to look at a mix of new & favourite authors.

I really liked it. It's so hard finding books that aren't 2 + 2. As a solo parent, it's really confusing for Miss 3 that so many books show a different living situation to her. I liked that thought was given to different families and cultures to non-conformative gender roles.
172 reviews1 follower
May 2, 2022
I really like this book. I read it with my 7 and 4 year old. It gave them an opportunity to ask questions, and it was easy to relate to families we know, so they could understand the concepts better. It's not just about single parents or same sex parents, it's rich and poor, homeschooled and public schooled, working parent and stay at home parent, etc etc.
21 reviews
February 25, 2021

By New York bestseller author Mary Hoffman and NASEN and TES Special Educational Needs Book Award, 2011, ShortList, Inclusive Children's Book Award, The Great Book of Families provides mirrors for students who live in rainbow families and diverse families structures. Also, this book allows a sliding door for other kids who may want to expand their understanding of different family dynamics, including race, ethnicity, economic class, and sexual orientation. The Great Book of Families celebrates the broad scope of experiences and structures that a family may have since it features different aspects of families and their lives. Some of the topics to feature include homes, jobs, clothes, feelings, and family trees. Something that I really like about this text is that it exposes and leads students in K-2nd grade to reflect on family stereotypes allowing discussions. The author posts questions in some of the book pages that invite the students to reflect on how their families are different or the same from the ones presented in the book. Some ideas for classroom use might be class discussions about the use of literature to explore family diversity and increase the sense of inclusiveness in the classroom. Since the language of the text is simple and enrich with phrases and ideas, the students can ask and answer questions about the details of the book. Other extension activities can include a classroom family book, hallway display with students’ writing, and drawings (maybe with QR codes) of their families -a super convenient project for the incoming virtual open house. Available on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMqjv...
5,870 reviews130 followers
April 14, 2018
The Great Big Book of Families is a children's picture book written by Marry Hoffman and illustrated by Ros Asquith which focus on the definition of family, what constitutes a family, where family live, and what families do. This book explores a myriad of families and each being valid in every meaning of the definition.

Haffman's text is simplistic and flowed rather well and the text was easy to follow. I liked how the book started – about how families used to be portrayed in the past – white heterosexual couple with two children, pets, white picket fence house. Asquith's art is simply wonderful and brought to life the different types of family depicted in this book. The illustrations are detailed and very colorful, which keeps the young reader captivated and compliments the text.

The myriad of families depicted is the so called traditional heterosexual parents, gay and lesbian parents, single parents, families with one, many, or no children, blended families, multi-ethnical families, multi-race families, multi-generational families, adopted families, large families, and small families. It goes on to tell where some families live and how they live. The book ends with the question of questioning the reader about their family.

All in all, The Great Big Book of Families is a wonderful children's book defining and depicting the meaning of family. It not just defines what a family is, but shows aspects of being in a family from houses and holidays, to school and pets, to feelings and family trees.
19 reviews
October 24, 2017
This is an informational text on the many different types of families that we are continuously surrounded by. The thing about this writing that made it so interesting was the fact that they do not just focus on one aspect of families, but rather traveled through home life, holidays, pets, traditions and so much more. This book is something that is exciting for children to read with the various bright colors and the appropriate language that allows many of them to read or follow along with ease. I loved that fact that many children who hear this piece will be able to formulate questions about all the different families while also even making connections among themselves and families they may see.
Topics such as these are characterized as very touchy for kids, but this story takes on a creative, fascinating easy going way of bringing up the topics to be addressed.

Profile Image for Melissa.
110 reviews2 followers
July 13, 2018
This is a non-fiction book about families and the many different types of families that exist across our society. All types of families are discussed, large, small, adopted, LGBTQ,, bi-racial, etc. It goes on to discuss the different places the families live, and then goes on to discuss what unites the families as being the same. The illustrations are colorful drawings, I found the pages to be a bit overwhelming and almost too busy. They are well done, but the pages felt very cluttered and left me visually overstimulated. Illustrations aside, this is an excellent book on what makes a family and it could be used with young and old. I would use it with students as young as preschool, through high school. With high school aged student it would be good to stimulate free write and reflection on what make a family a family.
4 reviews
June 12, 2022
This is a great non-fiction book to introduce the topic of families, particularly during a PSED or PSHE session around families. It is up to date, with a diverse range of family types such as children who just live with their daddy or families where there are two mummies and shows families of mixed races and families with members with disabilities. The book also looks at other aspects of family life such as housing, pets, celebrations and work through the eyes of a child. This book feels genuinely inclusive, with no situation being labelled better or worse than any other.
This book is a fantastic springboard for many interesting discussions on some topics, which can prove quite difficult for some young children. It allows all children to feel that their family situation is okay and that we are all different, but difference is good.
Profile Image for Mehsi.
11.9k reviews360 followers
January 2, 2023
A big big book about families! From big families to small families. From moms and dads to just moms or dadxdad or grandparents taking care of the family. And we don't just see various families we also read about other things. Like making food. Houses. Adoption. Talking with your family. And more. It was really fun to read and I loved the diversity in this book. Many colours. Wheelchairs. Crutches. And more.
The illustrations were really well done, HOWEVER, while I loved the borders that were on most of the sides of the book, it was very distracting for my ADHD. I kept being pulled to the border and all the details and kept having to re-read the pages and struggle to keep myself focussed.
Profile Image for Jordan Baughman.
10 reviews
November 20, 2017
Mary Hoffman explores families of ALL sizes, color, and background in this straightforward and fun informational literature for children. Her fun illustrations show not only families demographics or parental arrangements but things such as differences of psychology: "In some families everyone shares their feelings.... Sometimes not everyone in the family feels the same way about things" How creative and truly all inclusive! This wide range of inclusivity is why I chose the book to be a part of my favorites list. I would love to use this in the classroom when studying families in 1st grade, community in 2nd, and even culture in 3rd grade social studies.
Profile Image for Antonella.
1,387 reviews
December 12, 2017
This fun book for children illustrates the fact that «in real life, families come in all sorts of shapes and sizes». The differences are explored in lots of areas: jobs, houses, holidays, pets, celebrations, and so on, not only in the composition, notably also with families with two moms or two dads. To teach young children to accept and welcome differences is an important task to create a more open society. I can imagine that the humorous (and numerous, even all around the pages border) illustrations by Guardian's cartoonist Ros Asquith can be the starting point for lots of activities in the classroom or outside.
Profile Image for Jessica Burstrem.
276 reviews11 followers
March 28, 2019
We wanted a book for my adopted stepson that would expand his understanding of what family means. I know I'd had something like that for my own son a decade ago or so, but I couldn't remember the title or find anything to trigger my memory. This book was recommended on multiple websites, so we went with it. It does indeed include explicit references to every kind of family I can think of (although not quite one as unusual and blended as ours!) and to a variety of living situations as well, so I feel good about it and hope that it helps him feel better as well.
Profile Image for Twos Bothell.
95 reviews1 follower
May 21, 2018
This book shows all the different types of families, along with celebrations, houses and pets. Older two year olds were interested and wanted to hear, but it didn’t quite keep the interest of the younger ones. It also introduces the idea of homelessness, which it did very carefully I think, giving them enough information to have the look of compassion come over their little faces, without being scary.
492 reviews1 follower
December 9, 2017
I loved this book. There are so many tiny details in all the illustrations that I find something new every time I read it. I love how inclusive the book tries to be. I love that there are so many "categories" to talk about and explore together such as pets, holidays, transportation, feelings, hobbies, jobs, food, and homes. Adding to my "buy it" list
Profile Image for Emilie Liebert.
11 reviews
March 22, 2018
This book is very diverse; it mentions LGBT couples as well as any other type of couples, includes religion and status, and so much else. This could cover many topics, and be a start for questions and deep discussions. The pictures are colorful and it's very pretty to look at as well as read. I think kids would enjoy the exposure this book provides.
Profile Image for Francesca Lee.
237 reviews3 followers
June 19, 2020
I came across this book on a placement in a PSHE lesson. This is a great book to show children that there are many types of families. There are different types of homes too. The book celebrates families differences and that there is no 'correct' way.
187 reviews
November 13, 2020
Research shows that it’s important for children to see cultural representations of their own identity and family formation. This book attempts to show every arrangement of modern day family in a vibrant and positive way.
37 reviews
December 4, 2020
I loved the diversity in this book, it will allow students to see how many different cultures and how different families are. Students can understand that not every family is a mom and a dad, which is important to know. This book captures a lot of communities in a very good way.
Profile Image for Melodie.
173 reviews13 followers
November 30, 2016
The best thing about this book is that it displays all sorts of unique families--a very realistic look at families today. Every child is likely to see his/her family shown within the pages.
Profile Image for Suzie.
814 reviews
July 11, 2017
We loved all of the pictures in this book. I'd really like to add this to our stack of books at home.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 129 reviews

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