I want to share children’s books that celebrate our uniqueness and diversity. The books I’ve selected are gems that children will love, easily grasp their meaning and want to read again. All three books are great books for home and in the classroom.
All the Colors of the Earth, is written and beautifully illustrated by Sheila Hamanaka. She reveals through soft verse that despite our physical differences, children everywhere are lovable and all the same. The book opens with “Children come in all the colors of the earth…” Hamanaka creatively uses the colors of the earth to depict how closely we are all related, even through nature. Children come with hair like lambs and hair that flows in water. They come in all colors of love of their families, and in cinnamon, wheat and caramel and chocolate and honey bees. Their vibrancy and innocence has a valuable impact on our land, and unite us as one. Her book leaves one hopeful for our future. I also appreciate that Hamanaka carefully includes children with special needs in her illustrations. Her book is inspired by her own two children’s multi-ethnic heritage.
Whoever You Are, is written by Mem Fox and richly illustrated by Leslie Staub. Fox’s book focuses on the differences between people around our planet, and the similarities that unite us, such as love, pain and joy. It is a beautiful celebration of all human life. Her message is simple –there are children just like you all over the world living in different homes, attending different schools, speaking different languages, and living lives that are culturally different. But no matter where they are, they all smile, laugh, cry and love. Such a powerful story.
The Colors of Us, is written and boldly illustrated by Karen Katz. Lena’s mother is an artist and she very creatively explores and teaches her daughter the many differences in the color of their friend’s skin through her paint palate. Lena describes her mother as the color of French toast. Her mother shows Lena how to mix the right paint combinations that will match her own skin. Lena is a shade of brown, so her mother takes her for a walk to show her the beautiful colors of skin. She finds friends who are the colors of creamy peanut butter, honey, reddish-brown, butterscotch, golden brown like pizza crust, bronze and amber. Lena is very excited with all she observes and begins to see each friend as a beautiful shade of color. Lena ends the day with all of her paints and begins to mix the colors so she can paint a picture of all her friends — “the colors of us.” Great read!