Thursday 30 June 2016

Just the Way We Are

Just the Way We Are by Jessica Shirvington and illustrated by Claire Robertson (ABC Books, an imprint of Harper Collins) PB RRP $14.99        ISBN 9780733331640

Reviewed by Sharon McGuinness

Author Jessica Shirvington has moved away from her YA writing with her first picture book. Just the Way We Are fills a gap in the picture book market by creating a story which focuses on the varied family units which exist within our communities.

Anna, Chiara, Henry, Izzy and Jack are loved by their families and are perfect ‘just the way we are’. Anna lives in an extended family which includes her grandpa; Chiara’s family is special because she has two dads – this book crosses familial boundaries and reinforces the fact that all families may differ in structure or ‘look’ but they are still inherently the same ‘just the way we are’.

This is also reinforced in the typical activities enjoyed by the families and the children within them – playing tricks on siblings, going to the local fair, camping and the story neatly ends with the families from the street getting together as one.

Claire Robertson’s simple illustrations depict a variety of people from different backgrounds – the inclusion is subtle and is a natural part of the story – clearly mirroring many of our communities.

This is a lovely book to be shared with pre-schoolers and up.

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