* CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book ** Honor Book Society of School Librarians International *Identity issues can be particularly troubling for adoptive children and this often makes the family tree assignment many teachers are fond of, truly problematic. Lucy's Family Tree tells the story of how one girl completes her class assignment and in the process discovers that few families conform to the "traditional family" definition she has envisioned.Lucy’s adoption makes her feel as though her family is too “different” for a family tree project at school, but as she realizes that many families are different, she ends up creating a family tree that celebrates both her past and present. The last pages in the book offer helpful alternatives to the traditional family tree project.Teachers will appreciate learning new approaches to designing family trees that are more inclusive of family diversity.
About the Author
Karen Halvorsen Schreck received her Ph.D. in English and Creative
Writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the recipient of an American Fiction Award, A Pushcart Prize in Fiction, and an
Illinois State Arts Council Grant. She lives with her husband and their two children in Wheaton, Illinois. Karen is also the author of a YA
novel, Dream Journal.
Stephen Gassler is a graduate of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Have you ever done a family tree? Lucy comes home from school with the assignment to make a family tree for class. However, there is a problem because she was an adopted child from Mexico and feels that her family background is too complicated for her to make a family tree because it makes her too "different." Her parents challenge her to find three families that are "the same." So Lucy investigates her friends and her parents' friends. Lucinda Knapp has a stay-at-home father and a bread-winning mother. Benjamin and Natalie's family is Jewish, which is not typical in that neighborhood. The Keaton children have a step-father. And the Malones are still dealing with the loss of a daughter who was hit by a car. Can Lucy find a family that is "normal"? And what sort of family tree will she be able to devise? There is much to like about this book. As the parents of two adopted sons, one part Filipino and the other part Japanese, my wife and I have had to deal with some of the same issues raised by this story. It is true that in today's society families come in all shapes and sizes. It is also true that children simply have no control over what their families might look like. We should certainly strive to be sensitive to their needs. In the back there are a couple of pages on "Rethinking a Family Tree Project" with suggestions to teachers about different approaches in which no child will feel denigrated, denied, or overlooked in any way, along with some further resources on the subject.