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18.11.2013
Whatever city or town I am in, not just big urban centers, but also in suburban and rural communities, I marvel at all the different kinds of families. Kirkus wrote, “Narrative text and speech balloons introduce diverse family constellations in a celebratory spirit of inclusivity and community… the tone remains positive and affirming even as it acknowledges that “sometimes, families have mad times. In rollicking rhythm and rhyme, this new book shows readers that families, large and small, real and fantastic, are all around us.
Laurie David, climate activist and producer of An Inconvenient Truth, turns her focus toward home a€” at the dinner table.
And I just had this moment where I was like, okay, I've done something right finally, as a parent, which was to insist on this ritual of family dinner.
MARTIN: How did you - I don't know want to say enforce that, but you just - you pointed out that your husband worked seven days a week so presumably, he was not around as much as he might've been. And the other thing is, you know, if you can't do dinner - and some people just can't - then do lunch, or do before-bedtime tea time, or do a weekend Sunday brunch thing.
MARTIN: I hope you're don't mind my asking, but you're candid about the fact -and I think - you're a public figure - it is known that you're divorced. Like at 5 o'clock, I would be calling everyone I knew, please come to dinner to relieve the tension.
MARTIN: And finally, there are going to be people who say, well, that's fine because you guys have money, and you've got - probably - a nice table, and probably nice food to eat. MARTIN: So, when you're getting together on a regular basis, how does that affect Thanksgiving? NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. A few years ago, I realized that today’s young children are growing up in a diverse society, and that a book on all kinds of families, and what’s the same and what’s different about families, even within their own families, would be a book that could grab young children. From celery stalks to pocket change, from beach shells to sticks and stones in the yard, the objects we group together can form families, just like the ones we belong to. Her new book, The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time, offers a mix of recipes, dinner conversation topics, and tips for engaging kids at the table. Every week, we sit down with a diverse group of parents for their common-sense and savvy parenting advice. You've written two previous books that are both about climate change, and you were a producer of the Academy Award-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." So how did global warming get to the concern about the family dinner? I'm not going to make it through this unless I can come up with some happy family moments occasionally, you know, to get through the days.


And you know, the kids, of course, when they get to a certain age, they start having their own social lives - they start having, you know, sports practices and things of that sort. And I think - so some people might have this idea that if you go through kind of a little bit of turmoil in your family, being at the family dinner table together is the last place you're going to want to be. So we had a ritual Taco Tuesday and, you know, your kids wake up and it's Tuesday and it's like, it's Taco Tuesday, yay. And there are people who are going to be working shift work, and bringing home a sack from someplace. Soon, this seemed like the perfect topic for the illustrator Nadine Bernard Westcott’s and my four-book series of nonfiction books for young children.
Digitally created images are bright and welcoming and feature a host of multicultural characters and diverse families. In his first American picture book, popular French illustrator Marc Boutavant has joined with Hoberman to create an exuberant world overflowing with bright and beautiful objects guaranteed to set young imaginations flying! If we're not sharing meals together, what else are we all doing where we're purposely a family, other than maybe sleeping at the same time? And you mentioned yourself that, you know, a lot of people have grown up with a lot of tension in their household. Thanksgiving has become like, this huge metaphor for tension and drama and everybody's doing like, stories about all the drama and how to avoid the drama, you know, Thanksgiving.
NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. A Baby Apr 29 2016 Browse archives for April 29, 2016 Gianna KordatzkyI am married to the craziest, most awesome man I know. The conversations between Nellie and Gus featured in speech bubbles alongside the illustrations sweetly reinforce the messages in the broader text: “Right, Gus. And we know that Thanksgiving is coming up, but be honest: Apart from the big get-togethers, how often - between work and sports and other after-school activities -does everybody actually sit down at the table together? We sat down every night, and my mother cooked food, but it was always about who was going to leave the table crying first. You wouldn't believe how many people I talk to who say, you know, we had regular family dinners but nobody talked. Because everything about our current lifestyle is pulling us apart, not bringing us together - and the computer and the cell phone and the long commutes and the two working parents. So we got Larry, finally, to actually come for Chinese food; there's a picture of it in the book.


At Thanksgiving this year, play the name game - which is, go around the table and have everyone say where their name came from - see if they know that story - and what they would change their name to if they could.
All About Our Families, siblings Nellie and Gus and their parents are off for a day at the zoo, where they see so many different kinds of human families, along with ? a variety of animal families. So that's another problem because, you know, dinner is just as much about the conversation as it is about the food. So you know, the whole concept of this book was to give everyone all the tips and tricks and games that I figured out - with a lot of help from a lot of people over the years - to make this like, the best part of your day, so everyone's looking forward to it.
Get your grandma's old china or get a fancy little bowl, and put the takeout in the bowl and light a candle. And then as this starts getting fun and everyone starts talking, then you can name each other.
To top off their day, Nellie and Gus invite friends and relatives for? a big family dinner. As your kids get older - because I have teenagers now -it's going to get harder and harder to connect with each other. What I learned, you know, from having gone through this, initially, you know, those first month of meals were not that much fun.
My sense is that the matter-of-fact text and conversations between the Gus and Nellie, and the warm accessible illustrations have come together in a book that will help young children feel and understand that no matter what kind of family they have and no matter who is in their family, their families are perfectly normal and totally wonderful! And so I said okay, well, I've got to put it all in a book, and help everyone else grab the gift that each day gives us, which is dinnertime. So if you have established this ritual when your kids are younger, there's not going to be a question that everybody's home for dinner - or if it's three nights a week or four nights a week, or how many nights you need. And next thing you know, you're eating, you're laughing, you're having a great time, and Thanksgiving will be memorable. And you know, we all have to eat anyway; we might as well be getting the great benefits from it.
Everything you worry about as a parent can be improved by sitting down regularly with your kids.



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