Review (Plus): “Stella Brings the Family” by Miriam B. Schiffer, illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown

Stella Brings the FamilyWhat a conundrum little Stella faces when her class is having a Mother’s Day celebration and she doesn’t have a mother. Stella has two wonderful parents who tuck her in every night, pack her school lunch and bring her kisses when she hurts herself. When trying to figure out this dilemma, her friend tells her a simple answer, bring them both! Stella decides this is a wonderful idea. She will bring both her Papa and her Daddy to the Mother’s Day celebration!

In our evolving societal roles for children, Miriam Schiffer allows her reader to see the dilemma children face with upcoming holidays which are gender specific. Little Stella doesn’t have to chose; she gets to bring the whole family. The illustrations by Holly Clifton-Brown enhance the story as well by depicting different ethnicities, genders and settings in Stella’s life.

In the store:

A display of children’s books for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day would be a great tie-in to this book. With Father’s Day approaching it is a great segue for both gay parents and parents who have adopted children. Often times we think we have explained our roles to children, but what they experience through school and their peers are far from what we think they are understanding. Reading books provides opportunities for discussions about questions our children may have. It is a big and confusing world. Roles are becoming more fluid and we need to be adaptable to the ever present changes. Schiffer touches on Mother’s Day, but shows a child who has two mothers as well and gives a lead to the upcoming Father’s Day.

In the classroom:

I love Mother’s Day being in May. I have received a plethora of hand-print hot pads, painted pots and beautiful construction paper cards in this month. I have never thought of how awkward this holiday could be to a child with two fathers. It is a brilliantly crafted book and has me saying “Duh!” to myself. This is the perfect classroom read when you start crafting for the upcoming gender specific holidays. Encourage your student to craft for whomever they see as the role of “Mother.” Be open minded and ready for discussion with your students in the classroom. The illustrations make it easy for your students to understand.

Stella Brings the Family by Miriam  B. Schiffer, illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown (Chronicle Books | 9781452111902 | May 5, 2015)

America Grelinger

America Grelinger doesn’t mind if you call her Ms. America. It makes her head swell and she loves the title. America is a former English teacher and has a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction, now retired to raise two crazy little boys who think the funniest thing on the planet is to burp and toot… which is why she reads. Because it’s cheaper than counseling. Amy and her husband live with those two crazy little boys in Derby, Kansas.