A sincere message of human diversity and interconnectedness, delivered with cozy simplicity and accessibility for young...

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Like You and Me

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.

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4520-8397-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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LAST DAY BLUES

From the Mrs. Hartwell's Classroom Adventures series

One more myth dispelled for all the students who believe that their teachers live in their classrooms. During the last week of school, Mrs. Hartwell and her students reflect on the things they will miss, while also looking forward to the fun that summer will bring. The kids want to cheer up their teacher, whom they imagine will be crying over lesson plans and missing them all summer long. But what gift will cheer her up? Numerous ideas are rejected, until Eddie comes up with the perfect plan. They all cooperate to create a rhyming ode to the school year and their teacher. Love’s renderings of the children are realistic, portraying the diversity of modern-day classrooms, from dress and expression to gender and skin color. She perfectly captures the emotional trauma the students imagine their teachers will go through as they leave for the summer. Her final illustration hysterically shatters that myth, and will have every teacher cheering aloud. What a perfect end to the school year. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58089-046-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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