Katrina McKelvey’s Isla’s Family Tree (2020)

Isla’s Family Tree (2020), written by Katrina McKelvey and illustrated by Prue Pittock, is a warm and inviting story that manages to be both minimalist and richly specific. The red-haired title character is not excited that her mother is about to give birth to twins. She tells her parents that their family is large enough as is. Her mother patiently and lovingly explains that families, like trees, grow.

Readers are introduced to Isla’s mother’s siblings and their families to demonstrate family diversity.

One of her sisters is raising two daughters while in a lesbian relationship. Her other sister is in a heterosexual relationship and has an adopted daughter.

When her mom is in the hospital a stubborn Isla imagines her twin brothers moving in with one of her aunts. However, her mind quickly changes when she meets her siblings. She decides there is room for them in her home and heart as well as on her family tree.

This is a sweet story for young readers apprehensive about new changes in their families. I appreciated the whimsical illustrations and effortless inclusion of diversity and inclusive families. A lovely book!

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