A picture-book celebration of individuality and community.
An affirming, first-person text is paired with digitally manipulated photo art to follow the narrator through contemplations about what it means to be “a little different.” The text never assigns gender, and the illustrations embrace this ambiguity. The child sports a mohawk hairstyle and on different spreads is depicted wearing a leather jacket, dark jeans, a white tank top, and Converse high-tops. Throughout, the child listens to music, dances, and drums, developing the character as a pint-sized punk rocker and rejecting a strict gender binary. It isn’t always easy. “I like being one of a kind” reads one spread with the child exultant at a drum set, but a page turn shifts the tone and leads up to the line “It can be lonely and frustrating!” with the child now sitting dejectedly on a front stoop. Until this point, all spreads have presented the child alone, but then finding an accepting group of peers “who are a little different, too” is just what the narrator needs. The other kids are all musical, too, and they form a band. Just as gender is unspecified by text, race is never named, and illustrations can be read as presenting the narrator and one other child as kids of color, though skin color isn’t apparent, with just the white of the page and some shading.
Rock on, kids! (Picture book. 3-8)