Author: Alexandra Penfold
Illustrator: Suzanne Kaufmann
Publisher: Knopf Books, 2018
Themes: diversity, inclusivity, kindness
Opening: Pencil’s sharpened in their case. Bells are ringing, let’s make haste. School’s beginning, dreams to chase. All are welcome here.
Summary: (from the publisher) Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side by side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Inspired by Suzanne Kaufman’s viral poster, Kaufman and Alexandra Penfold have created a welcoming picture book that celebrates diversity and gives encouragement and support to all kids.
I like this book because: it celebrates the diversity of the American journey in a familiar setting for children. Many lines like, “Gather now, lets all take part,” show how, as a whole diversity is greater than it’s parts. The vibrant illustrations invite every reader to find themselves in image and in action (esp. love the main character’s tooth gap, just like my daughter’s!). And, as the cover reveals, there is a wonderful poster included in the jacket – the sensation that brought about the collaboration for this classroom treasure!
Resources/Activities: celebrate diversity in your classroom with food, discuss holidays and customs, and compare family values; how are we all different, how are we the same? Read companion books, like The Journey/Francesca Sanna, Migrant/Maxine Trotier and Isabelle Arsenault, or Jalapeño Bagels/Natasha Wing and Robert Casilla; make a school cookbook – like the well-loved one below; my daughter contributed the recipe from Germany, where she was born, pictured further down, which we would serve for any meal – just make sure you fry those potatoes to crispy goodness!
For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.