In this picture book, early childhood educator Qayumi (Afsana Seesana, 2014) depicts the everyday lives of kids from around the world in order to celebrate their similarities despite diverse customs and cultures.
This work begins by relating how children in different countries dress, eat, talk, sleep, and play, pointing out how they don’t always do things quite the same way as everyone else, “but with a little bit of a difference.” The focus then shifts, picking up a new refrain as it points out the things children do that are the same: they laugh, shout, cry, love, and dream “just like you and me.” Books about diversity and the similarities that connect us are a common subgenre of children’s literature. Qayumi may not offer anything new on the subject, but her work is an agreeable addition. The author’s message is made more meaningful, though, by her personal history: born in Afghanistan, she says she learned “at an early age that ethnicity does not determine who we are. Underneath all our beautiful diverse attributes we should be equally respected for being human.” Illustrator Cheng (Kokodiko, 2015), a graphic designer, works in soft-hued watercolors to contribute an array of happy, doll-like children with unfinished hands, rudimentary facial features, and uneven proportions—a style choice that has an awkward charm and contrasts with the detailed clothing from different lands and the delicate, expertly painted settings. The illustrations alternate with pages of text printed in clear black lettering stretching across squares of sunny yellow, set within frames of saturated colors. With its clarity of design, simple sentences, repeated refrains, and healthy message, this gentle book will be particularly suitable for early readers.
A sincere message of human diversity and interconnectedness, delivered with cozy simplicity and accessibility for young readers.