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Climbing Your Family Tree: Online and Off-Line Genealogy for Kids

Ira WolfmanWorkman; $13.95.



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For adoptive parents of elementary-school children, the family tree assignment is the Big Bugaboo. It looms in their imaginations long before it’s assigned, yet adoption-oblivious teachers somehow manage to pop it into the homework pile when we least expect it, catching us and our kids off-guard.

Thank goodness for Climbing Your Family Tree. Written for ages 9-12, it is also an excellent resource for teachers and gift for schools (with adoption pages flagged and highlighted). Ira Wolfman has compiled a detailed how-to for preteens that makes space for all kinds of families, and not just in the footnotes. An example for an adoptive family, with a creative alternative to the typical “pedigree chart,” is on pages 11­12.

Climbing Your Family Tree recognizes and affirms the diversity of families today. “As you trace your genealogy, you will come across charts and other forms that assume some things about your family,” Wolfman writes. “Those assumptions may not always fit.” To the question, “Which tree is mine—the family I am a part of biologically or the one I am growing up in?” he answers, “You are a product of all your families.”

Again, thank goodness. My fifth-grader, for one, is tired of being asked to split herself in two to fit on a standardized, out-of-date pedigree chart.

Reviewed by Amy Klatzkin, a contributing editor to Adoptive Families.

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