In a picture book that is like the memory album of an amazingly functional family, Shannon Honeybloom has created a source of information and advice on how a house becomes a real home — one that is safe, healthy, and filled with love and respect. Making A Family Home is a family-friendly guide to a happy home filled with the evocative images of Skip Hunt’s photography. Whether it’s a colorful chandelier or a little girl washing dishes, Hunt expertly captures the warmth everyone should experience at home. Also included in Making A Family Home are photos of Honeybloom’s forebears — her mother, grandmother, and assorted family members when they were children.
The main thrust of Making A Family Home is making a home for children, a secure place where they feel valued and loved. Honeybloom’s advice begins with “At Home with Children” and challenges the reader to address “The Senses and Other Considerations,” then takes us on a fully guided tour of “home,” from front porch through the back garden, with stops in every nook and cranny in between.
Acutely aware of what it takes to be comfortable, Honeybloom expands the list of senses from the five most commonly listed — sight, smell, touch, hearing, taste — to include seven more: “life sense…self-movement…balance…temperature…language sense…conceptual sense…and ‘I’ sense,” with definitions of all twelve. Her approach to successfully satisfying these senses and the needs they represent is creative and encouraging.
Two areas that may not often be thought of as family spaces are the basement and attic, both of which are treated with as much reverence as the kitchen and the bedroom. In discussing the basement, Honeybloom points out how important it is for children to see people working. Traditional basements with their array of tools and appliances are classrooms in which children learn to create, produce, repair, and contribute. Attics, on the other hand, can offer places of solitude, niches of privacy for meditation and reflection.
Making A Family Home ends with tips on taking the kids grocery shopping and traveling, and parenting at home and beyond. Additionally, Honeybloom provides a list of internet resources and a reading list. Whether discussing the tactile advantages of toys made with natural materials over plastic or detailing the design and use of the entryway, Shannon Honeybloom offers an insightful manual for turning a structure into a family’s universe.