Amelia's Family Ties

Book review by
Mary LeCompte, Common Sense Media
Amelia's Family Ties Book Poster Image
Realistic treatment of subject of divorce.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that we found no objectionable content in this book. The story is suspenseful, engaging, and good for the target age group, and the watercolor illustrations are plentiful and entertaining. Kids will appreciate the unique format and enjoy sifting through the busy pages.

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What's the story?

Amelia's estranged father has answered her letter, and he has invited her for a visit! Amelia is excited to meet her dad, but she's also a little scared. What will he be like? Will he even like her? Journey with Amelia to Chicago for a reunion with her nervous dad, an uncomfortable stepmother, and an adorable baby half-brother.


Is it any good?

Amelia meets her father for the first time and wrestles with all the questions and emotions that come in the aftermath of divorce; Moss handles this with realism and ease. Nothing is sugarcoated, from the awkwardness and missteps of the first meeting to the reluctance to accept the stepmother to the eventual confrontation of the long-absent parent by a child. A wide range of conflicting emotions and reactions are well represented from all family members' points of view.

As always, the pictures are a big hit: Bright watercolor illustrations depicting scenes of family drama and funny, related images support the text well. This book has fun, visually busy pages, and it's hard to resist the charm of the familiar black-and-white composition-notebook format, complete with a class schedule and information charts.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about complicated family relationships and divorce. This book is a good springboard for broaching difficult issues involving family, including divorce and estranged relatives. Imagine being in Amelia's shoes: Would you want to initiate contact with an estranged parent? How would you feel before meeting? How did reality compare with Amelia's expectations?

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