Family Matters No. 85 - September 2010

Book notes

Carole Jean

The following selection of books on family-related topics are recent additions to the Institute's Library. They are available through libraries, through the Institute's Library via the interlibrary loan system, or for purchase from good book shops. Prices are given as and when supplied.

A parent's guide to learning difficulties

(2008). Peter Westwood. Camberwell: Australian Council for Educational Research. Price: $33.00.

Aimed at parents, this book examines learning difficulties in children and what strategies can help. The first chapters discuss the external causes of learning difficulties, such as teaching styles and curriculum, as well as characteristics of children that can lead to difficulties; for example, attitude, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, intellectual disability, autism, physical disabilities, and hearing or vision impairments. The last chapters concern general principles for effective teaching and specific advice for reading, writing, spelling and mathematics. The book also includes links to online resources and recommendations for further reading.

Improving children's services networks: Lessons from family centres

(2007). Jane Tunstill, Jane Aldgate and Marilyn Hughes. London: Jessica Kingsley. Price: £18.99

This book begins by giving a brief history of the establishment of family centres in the UK and the legislation and philosophy behind them. It then moves onto the current agenda for the centres. Topics covered within the rest of the volume include: how centres build links and collaborate with other services and agencies; how centres deliver their services; the importance of centre managers and staff; and parental participation in centre activities. This book would make valuable reading for social care practitioners, students and policy-makers.

Family forest

(2010). Kim Kane and Lucia Masciullo. Prahran: Hardie Grant. Price: $24.95

Modern Australian families come in a variety of forms. This children's picture book explains in simple yet engaging language the different types of families to which children can belong. The text is accompanied by quirky illustrations that bring life (and humour) to the concepts being discussed. The complexity of the family described in the book is reflected in the title, the child "narrator" of the book says that while some kids have a "family tree", she has a "family forest". This book would be excellent for public and primary school libraries and for professionals who work with children and families.

Adoptions Australia 2008-09

(2010). Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Price: $27.00 (hardcopy). Online copies free at: <>.

This annual publication of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare gives comprehensive information on adoptions in Australia. Of the 441 children adopted in 2008-09, 61% were intercountry adoptions, with the majority of children coming from China, South Korea, the Philippines and Ethiopia. Information is also given on the age of the child, characteristics of adoptive families and birth mothers, adoption of Indigenous children and access to information. A summary is also given of the legislative basis for adoptions in each Australian jurisdiction.