Lucy's Family Tree by Karen Halvorsen Schreck

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When Lucy comes home from school with a family tree assignment, she asks her parents to write her a note to excuse her from the task. Lucy's adoption from Mexico makes her feel as though her family is too "different," but her parents gently and wisely challenge Lucy to think some more about it and to find three families that are the "same."

As Lucy ponders her list of school and family friends who are "normal," she comes to realize that there are many different kinds of families. Her best friend Lucinda has a stay-at-home dad and a working mom. The brother and sister next door look alike and their family matches perfectly, but she discovers that they feel different in their neighborhood because they are Jewish. Her friend Robert has two "moms" who both cheer him on at soccer games, and the parent who attends all of Dora's and Seth's school events is their stepfather. Although her friends the Malones certainly look like an "all-American family," Lucy knows they've suffered a loss that doesn't always show on the outside.

Lucy wins her bet with her parents in a surprising way and ends up creating a family tree that celebrates both her past and present. This is a wonderful book for exploring family diversity and what constitutes a family. Two pages at the back of the book offer further suggestions for parents and teachers, with new approaches for the traditional family tree project.


About Karen Halvorsen Schreck

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Schreck received her PhD in English and Creative Writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Gassler is an illustrator and a graduate of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
Published June 1, 2003 by Tilbury House Publishers. 40 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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