Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Picture Books that Emphasize Inclusion

Words matter. Art matters. Books for young people matter, and it's important for all kids to see themselves represented--and respectfully--in these books. Inclusion matters. It's empowering.

I want to share two fabulous picture books that emphasize inclusion.

The first, ONE FAMILY, is a book I posted about back in 2015. I still love it. I've given it to young family members and friends, and I've recommended it to friends (and random people at our local indie bookstore who maybe weren't looking for a recommendation but ended up buying it, so yay!).

written by George Shannon and illustrated by Blanca Gomez
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: May 26,2015

Just as I did in 2015, I'll post the starred review in Kirkus that beautifully describes ONE FAMILY:

A playful counting book also acts as a celebration of family and human diversity.

Shannon's text is delivered in spare, rhythmic, lilting verse that begins with one and counts up to 10 as it presents different groupings of things and people in individual families, always emphasizing the unitary nature of each combination. "One is six. One line of laundry. One butterfly's legs. One family." Gomez's richly colored pictures clarify and expand on all that the text lists: For "six," a picture showing six members of a multigenerational family of color includes a line of laundry with six items hanging from it outside their windows, as well as the painting of a six-legged butterfly that a child in the family is creating. While text never directs the art to depict diverse individuals and family constellations, Gomez does just this in her illustrations. Interracial families are included, as are depictions of men with their arms around each other, and a Sikh man wearing a turban. This inclusive spirit supports the text's culminating assertion that "One is one and everyone. One earth. One world. One family."

A visually striking, engaging picture book that sends the message that everyone counts. (Picture book: 3-6)

The second book I want to spread the word about is ALL ARE WELCOME.

written by Alexandra Penfold and illustrated by Suzanne Kauffman
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication date: July 10, 2018

I've been sharing ALL ARE WELCOME with kids and teachers, and I'm so happy the book exists. The book jacket has an adorable poster on the inside. My copy is hanging in a classroom this very minute!

I love it! Look at that adorable, diverse group of children, all holding hands! Suzanne Kauffman's art is spectacular!

Here's the book description I found on the IndieBound website:

A warm, welcoming picture book that celebrates diversity and gives encouragement and support to all kids.

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 Lunar New Year.

ALL ARE WELCOME lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.

ALL ARE WELCOME is a New York Times bestseller, and it also earned a starred review from Kirkus.

In this photo of Thistle curling up with both books, you can see the beautiful cover that's underneath the jacket (that doubles as a poster) of ALL ARE WELCOME.

Have you read ONE FAMILY and/or ALL ARE WELCOME? Can you recommend any other picture books that emphasize inclusion?


Jemi Fraser said...

Those look awesome! I love books that show the joys and wonders of people working/living/being together when they are not the same! I also tend to recommend books in book stores to random strangers!! :)

Dawn Simon said...

Jemi, hooray for books that encourage diversity and inclusion! Also: so fun that you give strangers recommendations, too! :)

DMS said...

I have not read either of these- but they both sound fantastic. I have added them to my list! Thanks of sharing. :)

Dawn Simon said...

Hi, Jess! You'll love them! :)

Kelly Steel said...

Thanks for sharing. I'm adding to my list as I find them interesting!

Dawn Simon said...

Kelly, you are so welcome! Enjoy! :)