My daughter has been more aware lately of being different in her circle of friends. She is the littlest, the shortest, has a different color and texture of hair, and even, as she says, ”three colors,” which means she is multi-racial. I tell her all the time that everyone is different in some way. Bobby excels at playing piano while Suzy struggles with piano. Sissy sings beautifully while her older sister cannot sing a note in tune. Robby runs very fast while his friends do not. All children have talents different from each other and all people have bodily differences, even twins! So any time that I see a book about all children being different and that is okay, I pick it up for her.
The cover of the book shows a Caucasian brown-haired little girl of about eight-years-old lying in a flower garden. All the colorful flowers are different, in color and shape. The first page shows the little girl now in her pajamas lying in bed thinking. We see her bedroom and notice that she has dolls of every nationality on her bookshelf. The story starts as the little girl is told to go to sleep by her mother. We see the little girl with her eyes closed holding a stuffed kitty. The picture is black and white except for the girl and her kitty. The next page has the sign language hand signs for the alphabet around the text of the story. The little girl and her mom are on the bus when they see two children using sign language to speak to each other. Her mother explained about the children not being able to hear. She waves bye to them and they wave back “just like me” she says.
The next day they go to the farmer’s market. She sees lots of fruits in many colors and shapes and some she does not know the name of. The little girl also saw many folks of every hue and some even spoke a different language, but they all like shopping at the farmer’s market, “just like me” says the little girl. The next page has numbers at the bottom of the text which are also written in braille! This day the little girl rides in an elevator with a lady who has a seeing eye dog; her mother explains that the woman cannot see. She watches as the women touches the braille to know what floor she needs. Her father lets her watch a woman drawing advertisement pictures and she thinks the woman enjoys drawing pictures just like her, even though she is a grownup. The girl and her mother go to a restaurant to eat and we see her eating beside of a large man with a beard. She says he is “just like me” because he orders the same food. When she goes into the bathroom, she sees a woman in a wheelchair who dries her hands “just like me” she says.
The little girl and her mom walk down the street and they see all sizes and shapes of buildings. While they wait for the train, she notices an African American boy in a pirate hat and says he is going on the same train “just like me.” They arrive at her grandmother’s house and she races an Asian boy about her size and says he is quick “just like me.” She lies by the colorful flowers in the garden and does not know which is the most beautiful. Her grandmother says it is okay to like them all. The book ends on their way home on the train as she looks around at all the people. Like the flower in Grammie’s garden, they were all different from one another, and that’s what made them so great. “I’m glad everyone is different… just like me!”
This is a wonderful book and has people of all ethnicities in it. Every page is filled with people of every shade. Most of the pages are black and white backgrounds with the people in color…while at the end at the grandmother’s house, everything is in color. It makes the people stand out against the black and white backgrounds so you really notice them. You also see big people, skinny people, tall and short people, people wearing glasses, there is even a bald man in the book! The illustrations are very detailed down to the street signs! Four to nine lines of text on each page make up the story. We really enjoyed this book and would recommend it for pre-K and up, possibly a bit younger if a parent reads to the child and has discussions about the differences of people in the book. A wonderful book for any classroom or library for children! No races are mentioned in the book specifically. A wonderful teaching tool about acceptance of self and others.
The author’s note in the front of the book says that she wrote this book as her daughter has vitiligo and they realized that the only thing that makes her different from other children are her spots. There is only one person in the book that has vitiligo and it is an adult.
More by this contributor:
Jamie Lee Curtis: Answering Life’s Questions for Kids, One Children’s Book at a Time. Is There Really a Human Race