Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Childwelfare SA

South African children’s book shapes the way they think about family


After her first child, Elena Agnello was shocked by the uniformity of the homes represented in children’s literature.Having grown up in a household headed by a single mother, Agnello understands the need for kids to see themselves and their unique family structures in the stories they read.As a result she publshed I Am Alex which deals with diversity in family structures.

According to the 2011 census,In South Africa, only a third of our children are raised in homes with both parents and families aren’t defined by numbers or the closeness of relatives, but by an environment of care formed between people who love one another.“I think it’s vital that we have this conversation with our children.I wish that children would be taught more about others and their traditions,”she noted.

Her book is set at a birthday party and introduces readers to all sorts of families through the guests.Like Agnello, one child at the party has a single parent, while another is being raised by adoptive parents.The main purpose of the book is for children to feel included and to develop a culture of incorporating others into their world views.

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