That's a Family!

What kids want us to know about what "family" means today
by
Year Released
2000
Film Length(s)
35 mins
Remote video URL

Introduction

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.

Featured review

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

Synopsis

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.

Reviews

Enlightening without being didactic, this sterling production is an excellent resource to get kids talking about cultural diversity and family life.
American Library Association
American Library Association
I 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
The Education Digest
The 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
Every 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
Senator Barbara Boxer
...this top notch production aimed at elementary and middle school aged kids may go a long way toward assuaging children's fears of being 'different,' while also hopefully enouraging tolerance in general.
R. Pitman
Video Librarian
Recognizing diversity as a promise and not a threat, 'That's a Family!' helps children to feel understood and appreciated instead of condemned because of their family.
Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy
Executive Director, Interfaith Alliance
That's a Family! is a superb video production. It provides a wealth of material that can produce hours of productive conversation about the many ways in which people become families. The use of children speaking in their own voices about their experience of family is especially successful. I heartily recommend this video.
Don-David Lusterman
PhD, Fellow, Academy of Family Psychology
Families encompass both traditional and nontraditional structures, and include a broad range of ethnicities. This film will help children recognize that, while families may look different from one another, their ultimate goal to love and support their children is universal.
California State Senator Dede Alpert
Senate Education Committee
The children's voices are compelling [and] they eloquently debunk stereotypes about children from non-traditional homes. That's a Family! should be shown widely across America.
Alvin F. Poussaint
Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
One of the best new resources I've seen for addressing diversity with children. I highly recommend it, not only for young students but for training for teachers, social workers, and service providers.
Jill Moss Greenberg
Executive Director, National Association for Multicultural Education
A must for every elementary school classroom. These children's insights about their families must be heard by all who are committed to helping our nation's children understand and celebrate difference and diversity.
Michele Harway
PhD., President, American Psychological Association Division of Family Psychology
My favorite part of the movie is seeing people that are adopted like me. I think this movie should be shown at my school because people get teased at my school.
Matt
age 8
You have done a wonderful, stupendous, great, two thumbs way up, fabulous, well done, on the extreme level, fantastic, really good, magical, amazing, marvelous, great performance on this wonderful movie, and please make more until they understand the way that we do.
Gabriel
age 9
The film is really cool. I never knew what a guardian was. I thought it was some guy with a sword to protect you, but now I know it's a person who helps take care of you, or takes care of you altogether.
Kyle
age 11

Awards and Screenings

First Place, National Council of Family Relations Media Awards
CINE Golden Eagle Award
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

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Resources for Educators

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

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