Isla's Family Tree: Book Review

Isla thinks the family is big enough, especially when she looks at their family tree. "There's no room left on our branch - it's all full!"

Title: Isla's Family Tree
Author: Katrina McKelvey
Illustrator: Prue Pittock
ISBN: 9781925820379          Language: English

Publisher: EK Books

Classification: Fiction
Type: Picture Book
Themes: family, relationships, belonging

What's it about?
Isla isn’t happy that her family is changing, so her mother creates a clever family tree with Isla to teach her how to accept that families always grow. Her mother hands her two new leaves, but Isla doesn’t think they belong. "There’s no room left on our branch — it’s full!" she says. Isla tries to make them fit somewhere, maybe with her cousins, at Aunty Violet and Aunty Jasmine’s house, or at Aunty Daisy and Uncle Doug’s. There’s definitely no room on her branch though!

However, once she meets her new brothers she has a change of heart. She falls in love and finds room for them after all — "Our branch grew a little," says Isla. "Our family is never too full." 

The relationships explored are varied. The illustrators have a lovely minimalistic style with shades of red.

None that I can think of.

My Thoughts
Isla's Family Tree is due to be released in April 2020 from EK Books.

This is the story about a girl called Isla whose mother is having twins and she's not particularly happy with it. Some children don't react well to news that they are getting another sibling and Isla is an example of one type of behaviour that can emerge.

Her mother shows her a family tree starting with the grandparents and working down. It showcases different types of family structures including a lesbian couple with children, a couple with an adopted child, and then Isla. So no single parents in this one which is a shame but it's impossible to fit everything into one story.

I like the way that Isla is adamant until the end when she finally meets her twin brothers and decides that these two leaves need to go somewhere on the very full tree and so she problem-solves a solution.

I think this is a great activity for introducing family structures and networks. With so many different types this book shows not only how a sibling bond can form but also the diversity we have in the current society. I would love to see an activity follow-up where children create their own tree - the way it is done in this book would mean that blood relatives are not necessary because blood only means you're related and not that your family so the way a child can interpret their family is therefor open.

A great book for the classroom or home library and don't forget that teaching notes are available for free on the EK Books website.

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