This blog is a continuation of a class assignment for the TWU course 5603, Literature for Children and Young Adults. Subsequent entries are for TWU course 5653, Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults. The new entries are for TWU course 5663, Poetry for Children and Young Adults.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

One Hundred Is a Family

One Hundred is a Family
By Pam Muñoz Ryan
Illustrated by Benrei Huang

image retrieved 10/11/12 from

Ryan, Pam Muñoz. One Hundred is a Family. New York: Hyperion for Children, 1994.  ISBN 9781413166675.

A counting book and story of unity all rolled into one, One Hundred is a Family takes the reader on a trek through the numbers 1-10, then counting by 10’s to 100. Each scenario is centered on the activity of a family, from one finding a place to call home, to one hundred caring for the universe. Number words are used, rather than numerals, as the story counts on, giving readers an opportunity to practice reading skills as well as counting skills.  

Critical Analysis
One Hundred is a Family is an example of multiculturalism at its peak. Ms. Ryan takes care to create scenes in her counting book that could occur in a multitude of cultures. Realistic activities, such as meal time and celebrations, involve families and friends supporting one another and enjoying time together. Rather than just focus on Hispanic culture, African Americans, Asians, and Whites are also a part of the mix. This gives the story a more global feel, which is reflected on the final page, “making life better for every ONE on earth.” The global community concept is present throughout, but it is not presented in a preachy manner.

The families that appear on each page are depicted by Ms. Huang embody a wide range of skin tones, familial relationships, and activities. Many illustrations show a variety of skin tones, communicating a feeling that families are not always defined by a particular culture or ethnicity. From common meal times to star gazing, to group efforts like apple harvest or coexisting in a neighborhood. Facial expressions reflect a variety of emotions in each setting, which lends more reality. Not every participant has the same reaction to an event; Ms. Huang captures that uniqueness of spirit in her soft watercolors that appeal to readers of all ages.

While this is not the typical counting book, using words instead of numerals, it is a fun look at families and cultures that most people can relate to. I would recommend it for early readers or any reader looking for examples of multiculturalism.

Annie Ayres (Booklist, November 1, 1994 (Vol. 91, No. 5))
ONE is a family finding a place to call home. / TWO is a family starting a new life of their own. / . . . ONE HUNDRED is a family caring for the fragile universe . . . / and making life better for every ONE on earth." In singsong verse, Ryan uses groups of different kinds of "families" to count from 1 to 10 and then by 10s to 100. Huang's sprightly illustrations reflect Ryan's vision of families as a "patchwork of possibilities."

Meredith Kiger, Ph.D. (Children's Literature)
This book presents a multicultural, non-traditional opportunity for young children to explore the evolving roles of family through a counting book. It is a nice beginning for further discussion on multiculturalism.

Awards; Best Book List
American Experience: Strength from Diversity ; ALSC American Library Association; United States

·      Students will read other counting books, identifying the theme, such as those listed at  Compare and contrast these to One Hundred is a Family. Students will then make a counting book with a twist, such as including counting by tens. Students might choose to design their counting book with a skip counting pattern (2s, 3s, 5s, 10s, etc.); with the number words in another language (using Google translate at or a similar program to translate English number words); counting backwards, etc.  Illustrate each page of books and display them in classroom library after sharing with the class. Students may complete this project individually or in small groups.
·      Students will examine “families”, thinking outside the box: families of facts, animal families, color families, etc. Students will create an advertising poster, introducing the family to the class and explaining in short blurbs what relationship exists between the items in the family. The poster should have a full color illustration and be persuasive in convincing the viewer that this family is a great one to belong to.
·      Students will select one page from the book  One Hundred is a Family. Write a one-page story telling more about what is going on in the illustration, incorporating the text in some way. Share with the class.
·      Upper elementary students will select one page from the book. Identify cultures represented in the text and illustration. What cultural marker clues helped identify the culture? What other cultural markers could be included to make the culture even more apparent, without being stereotypical?
·      Students will work in cooperative learning groups to design a neighborhood map that shows all of the events described in the text of One Hundred is a Family. Include a map legend and scale. Bonus: identify community helpers and important community locations around the map.
·      Visit Pam Muñoz Ryan’s website at to learn more about her and see cover art of her other books. Reader’s Theater scripts are available for some of her books. Advanced students can examine them, and create a Reader’s Theater script for One Hundred is a Family to share with the class and other classes.
·      View and discuss a video interview with author Pam Muñoz Ryan at

Other Books by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Esperanza Rising
Becoming Naomi Leon
Un caballo llamado Libertad
When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson
The Flag We Love
Paint The Wind
The Dreamer
Hello Ocean
Amelia And Eleanor Go For A Ride
Mice and Beans
Pinky is a Baby Mouse, A (Pinky Baby)
One Hundred Is a Family
The Crayon Counting Book
Nacho And Lolita
Tony Baloney
There Was No Snow On Christmas Eve
Mud Is Cake
Cornelia And The Great Snake Escape
Our California
Armadillos Sleep in Dugouts: And Other Places Animals Live
How Do You Raise a Raisin?
A Box of Friends
Disney's Doug Chronicles: The Funnie Family Vacation
Doug Counts Down (Doug Picture Book)
Tony Baloney : school rules
California Here We Come!
Riding Freedom
Disney's Doug's Treasure Hunt: Over 50 Flaps
Cornelia and the Show-and-tell Showdown 

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