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WHO WE ARE!

ALL ABOUT BEING THE SAME AND BEING DIFFERENT

From the Let's Talk About You and Me series

An uneven but nevertheless worthy effort.

This installment of the Let’s Talk About You and Me series tackles a wide range of topics related to human diversity.

Opening text affirms everyone’s uniqueness: “All around the world there are people—billions of people. But there is only one of you,” while Westcott’s art depicts ethnically diverse families entering a theme park called Funland. There are interracial families, a child using a wheelchair, a woman wearing a headscarf, and a two-dad family. One interracial family, including a black mother, white father, two children, and a baby appears in every spread, and the children’s speech-balloon conversation punctuates the narrative text’s statements about hair texture, skin color, eye shape, languages, dress, stature, etc. While the intention is clearly inclusive, some phrasing may give readers pause: “People’s bodies are mostly the same—except for the parts that make them a girl or a boy, or a man or a woman,” for instance, ignores increasing awareness of intersex bodies and transgender identity. Illustrations also do little to present diversity in body shape and size, since the majority of people depicted are slim. Readers are invited to consider the pain caused by “saying mean things,” which pushes beyond surface celebration of diversity. This leads to a closing reiteration of each person’s uniqueness while also emphasizing that “we are more the same than we are different,” especially with regard to feelings. [Note: Subsequent printings of the book replace the sentence "People's bodies are mostly the same—except for the parts that make them a girl or boy, or a man or a woman" with the following text: "People’s bodies are mostly the same except for the private parts we are born with. Those parts are called a vagina or a penis.”]

An uneven but nevertheless worthy effort. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 22, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6903-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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RUBY FINDS A WORRY

From the Big Bright Feelings series

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their...

Ruby is an adventurous and happy child until the day she discovers a Worry.

Ruby barely sees the Worry—depicted as a blob of yellow with a frowny unibrow—at first, but as it hovers, the more she notices it and the larger it grows. The longer Ruby is affected by this Worry, the fewer colors appear on the page. Though she tries not to pay attention to the Worry, which no one else can see, ignoring it prevents her from enjoying the things that she once loved. Her constant anxiety about the Worry causes the bright yellow blob to crowd Ruby’s everyday life, which by this point is nearly all washes of gray and white. But at the playground, Ruby sees a boy sitting on a bench with a growing sky-blue Worry of his own. When she invites the boy to talk, his Worry begins to shrink—and when Ruby talks about her own Worry, it also grows smaller. By the book’s conclusion, Ruby learns to control her Worry by talking about what worries her, a priceless lesson for any child—or adult—conveyed in a beautifully child-friendly manner. Ruby presents black, with hair in cornrows and two big afro-puff pigtails, while the boy has pale skin and spiky black hair.

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their feelings (. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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