For May, the Family Locket Book Club for Kids is reading “Me and My Family Tree” by Joan Sweeney, illustrated by Annette Cable. We are sharing two family tree projects to do along with reading and discussing the book.
Kids love learning about their place in the world. Joan Sweeney’s other books, Me on the Map, Me and My Amazing Body, Me and the Measure of Things, Me Counting Time: From Seconds to Centuries, Me and My Place in Space, and Me and My Senses, all help children see themselves within a larger theme. Me and My Family Tree is perhaps the easiest to start with – since family is the first thing in the world a child is introduced to. My children love talking about each of their family members and asking questions about how many cousins they have. They are naturally fascinated by family relationships and their place within the family tree.
About the Book
“Me and My Family Tree” is narrated by a little girl. She tells about her brother, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents as she draws pictures of them to glue on her family tree.
She tells “how she came to be” by talking about how her grandparents had her mom, and her nana and poppa had her dad, and her mom and dad had her. In this section, she shows old photos of her parents and grandparents. She also talks about one day adding to the family tree by having children of her own. To end the story, she says, “Think of it! Everyone in the world has a family tree. Just like you and me.”
The book doesn’t go beyond grandparents in the family tree. If you want a book that explains more family relationships like great grandparents, second cousins, and non-traditional families, try “Who’s Who In My Family Tree” by Loreen Leedy from last month’s book club post.
Questions to Discuss
How many cousins do you have?
How did you get here?
Do you know what it was like when you were born? Talk about the child’s birth story.
Everyone in the world has a family tree – do you think all family trees look like yours? How might they be different? How might they be similar?
What are your favorite memories of people on your family tree?
Do you think your family tree will keep growing? How?
The last page of the book is a family tree chart that kids can fill out. We made two copies of it and drew stick figures for each person.
There were only two circles for cousins and two circles for aunts and uncles, so we had to draw a lot of little stick figures in those circles.
My son wanted to try making a big family tree poster including pictures of all his cousins and aunts and uncles so he could count how many people are in his “whole family.” We started by going through Facebook and Instagram to get recent pictures of all his cousins and aunts and uncles. That task took a long time!
We printed the photos on matte photo paper then got to work cutting them all out. We followed the look of the tree in the book. We glued together three sheets of green construction paper to make a tree big enough. It was tricky trying to fit all the cousins and figuring out how to draw the lines to connect everyone! In the end, he was thrilled to find out that he has 13 cousins and 39 “total” family members.
Next we will have to talk about how many ancestors he has in each generation – not to mention the potentially hundreds of second, third, fourth, etc. cousins!
What questions do your kids ask about their family trees?