Films can be powerful classroom tools to explore the rich diversity of global families and family ties. We recommend coming of age dramas Children of HeavenThe Way HomeWadjda, and Whale Rider. There is also a powerful section for discussing family traditions in our discussion guide for award-winning documentary Greener Pastures.

Children of Heaven, about a young brother and sister on a quest for new shoes, is rated PG-13 and recommended for ages 10+. Learn more about teaching with Children of Heaven.

The Way Home addresses intergenerational relationships and rural-urban cultural differences with the story of a boy who moves from the city to stay with his grandmother in the countryside. This film is rated PG. Learn more about teaching with The Way Home.

Wadjda tells the delightful story of a convention-defying Saudi girl whose heart is set on the impossible goal of getting a bicycle, from Saudi Arabia’s first woman director Haifaa Al Mansour. Wadjda is rated PG. Common Sense Media rates recommeds Wadjda for ages 9+. Learn more about teaching with Wadjda.

Whale Rider tells the story of a Māori girl who challenges traditional gender roles to fulfil her destiny. The film is rated PG-13. Common Sense Media rates this film as appropriate for ages 10+. Learn more about teaching with Whale Rider.

Greener Pastures follows four faming families in the Midwest, charting their struggles, failures and triumphs. This documentary film is unrated. We recommend it for grades 6+. Learn more about teaching with Greener Pastures.

These can be great films to start classroom discussions about families for:

Collage of film posters for The Way Home, Children of Heaven, Wadjda, Whale Rider, and Greener Pastures. Additional text says: "Five Films About Family to Teach Today. Journeys in Film."