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That's a Family!

by Debra Chasnoff, Helen S. Cohen and Ariella Ben-Dov, Kate Stilley, Fawn Yacker

What kids want us to know about what "family" means today

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With blunt and sometimes hilarious candor, children from over 50 diverse families open the door to their homes, and explain things like "divorce," "mixed race," "gay and lesbian," "birth mom," "single parent," "guardian," and "stepdad" -- and get right to the point of what they wish other people would understand about their families. While designed especially for young audiences, THAT'S A FAMILY! stretches the minds and touches the hearts of people of all ages. From the makers of IT'S ELEMENTARY, this fresh look at the changing American family breaks new ground, and once again lets children lead the way in preventing prejudice and embracing diversity.

quoteThat's a Family! is an extraordinary film that teaches a poignant lesson about love and family.
Robin Williams, actor

quoteEnlightening without being didactic, this sterling production is an excellent resource to get kids talking about cultural diversity and family life.
American Library Association

quoteI love That's A Family! I use it for both my undergraduate and graduate courses on Children and Families and Cultural Awareness for Young Children. It covers all of the family structures teachers will encounter in our increasingly diverse classrooms. There is always positive feedback and lengthy conversations about how teachers should be prepared to handle a variety of situations, even if they make them uncomfortable initially. Plus the resource book that comes with the film has book lists for the different family structures, and a plethora of suggested activities—which pre-service and in-service teachers love.
Dr. Shanna L. Graves, Ass't Professor of Early Childhood Education, University of Houston-Clear Lake
The Education Digest
full review

quoteThe film is very simple, but also extremely moving and powerful. The fact that it is told strictly from the point of view of the children gives the film a sincerity that comes through very strongly.
Selina Wang
MC Journal: the Journal of Academic Media Librarianship
full review

quoteEvery parent, educator and policymaker should be concerned about school violence. By reflecting the true diversity of American families, That's a Family! breaks down intolerance and promotes true understanding first step toward making our school safe for all children.
Senator Barbara Boxer

More Reviews


  • First Place, National Council of Family Relations Media Awards
  • Best Documentary, San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival
  • Best Short Documentary, Santa Clarita International Film Festival
  • Best Short Documentary, Burbank International Children's Film Festival
  • Audience Award, Best Short Film, Barcelona Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
  • Special White House screening for leading child welfare and education advocates, 2000

Resource Web Sites

appleExcerpts from the THAT'S A FAMILY! Study Guide

appleGay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network

GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is a national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students.

appleNorth American Council on Adoptable Children

Founded in 1974 by adoptive parents, the North American Council on Adoptable Children is committed to meeting the needs of waiting children and the families who adopt them.

Visit the official website for That's a Family!

That's a Family!

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Appropriate for: Elementary School Middle School High School College/University

Special Features:

THAT'S A FAMILY! comes with an extensive curriculum guide for educators and those who work with youth, about how to use the film with students. When put in the right context, the film works terrifically for students of all ages.

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