International Day of Peace, Sep. 21, 2018
All Are Welcome
Alexandra Penfold, Author
Suzanne Kaufman, Illustrator
Knopf Books for Young Readers, Fiction, Jul. 10, 2018
Suitable for Ages: 4-8
Themes: Diversity, Inclusiveness, Classroom, School, Friendship
Opening: Pencils sharpened in their case. / Bells are ringing, let’s make haste. / School’s beginning, dreams to chase. / All are welcome here.
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 or sitting in wheel chairs. A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions, share lunches, play hard at recess, share science projects, play musical instruments, and gather as a whole community to celebrate the 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.
Why I like this book:
All Are Welcome celebrates inclusiveness and diversity, sending the message to children and parents that everyone is welcome in their school, in their class, and in their community. Suzanne Kaufman’s joyful and lively illustrations remind kids that the world is a rainbow of color when cultures merge from every part of the world. There is a beautiful surprise in the book.
The text sings with Alexander Penfold’s simple rhymes and repetitive chant “All are welcome here,” which will resonate with young children as they will pour over pictures of kids like themselves. Some with dark skin, light skin, red hair, and curly hair. Others wear baseball caps, hijabs, glasses, hearing aids, and sit in wheelchairs. It is a place where diversity and compassion advance the culture of peace.
As a new school year begins, All Are Welcome is a must-have book for pre-schools and elementary schools everywhere. It demonstrates on how much fun children have together in the classroom, on the playground and in the lunch room. “Time for lunch – what a spread! /A dozen different kinds of bread. / Pass it around till everyone’s fed. / All are welcome here.”
I first learned about this book from Pragmatic Mom’s website last summer. Check out the story behind the story of how the author started a movement with a poster.
Resources: I believe this book would be a wonderful discussion book for today’s UN celebration of International Day of Peace. It is a day for engaging kids in peace-building activities. And what better way than to remind kids they live in a rainbow world. Encourage kids to talk about ways to create peace at school, their communities and in the world. Whatever you decide to do, remember to pause at noon, (no matter your time zone) for a Minute of Silence and think about how you will build peaceful relationships.
Alexandra Penfold is the author of Eat, Sleep, Poop (Knopf, 2016) and the forthcoming picture books The Littlest Viking (Knopf) and Everybody’s Going to the Food Truck Fest (FSG). She is also a literary agent at Upstart Crow, where one of her clients is author-illustrator, Suzanne Kaufman! Learn more about Alex on Twitter at @agentpenfold and Suzanne on her website or on Twitter at @suzannekaufman.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Book (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.