Book Review: My Family and Me: An Inclusivity Family Tree Activity Book

When I first started this blog it was really important for me to promote resources that helped young historians to see themselves as part of a wider historical picture. The past can be so overwhelming that it is sometimes difficult to see how it can be relatable, understandable or appealing. A wonderful way for youngsters to start exploring history is with their own family tree and this new book written by Sam Hutchinson and illustrated by Vicky Barker is the perfect place to begin.

My Family and Me: An Inclusivity Family Tree Activity Book is packed with activities that encourage readers to build a creative record of themselves and the details of their lives. From their favourite TV shows to what they like to eat for lunch, it asks its readers about the people they know, the things they love, the places they visit and their hopes for the future. With lots of space to fill in their own details and stick photographs, postcards and other mementoes, this beautifully designed book is a lovely way for children to curate a scrapbook all about themselves.

The second part of the book invites the reader to expand on this record of themselves by documenting the rest of their family, no matter how big or small that family might be. Sam Hutchinson clearly explains what a family tree is and how the different members of a family or different family groups can fit into the branches of that tree. This is a celebration of birth families, stepfamilies, adoptive families, foster families and any other shape a family unit might take. It is enormously important that this book features the word 'Inclusive' in its title because it shows that, no matter the size or shape of a family tree, they are all unique but also equally important.

Vicky Barker's wonderfully appealing and diverse illustrations are charming and made me want to dive straight in and start putting my own details in alongside them. There is also a wonderful section in the back of the book that suggests exploring the physical records and oral histories that our family members keep but can share with these younger generations of budding historians.

This beautiful and inventive book is bright, colourful, interactive and, most importantly, shows that our own history is something we can reach out and touch. That history grows with us and, by encouraging youngsters to record their own families, this book provides them with the tools to ask the wider questions about how they fit into both the past and the future.

To find out more about Sam Hutchinson, Vicky Barker and their books you can visit his website at bsmall.co.uk. You can also follow them on Twitter @bsmallpub and Instagram @bsmallpublishing

Thank you to b small for sending my review copy of My Family and Me: An Inclusivity Family Tree Activity Book.

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