Be Who You Are

illus. by Todd Parr. 32p. Little, Brown. Oct. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780316265232.
K-Gr 2—The title of this book says it all. The message, repeated in large, colorful letters across brightly colored backgrounds with lots of simple, cartoonish illustrations, is one for every child to hear. The sentence, "Be proud of where you're from" is illustrated with six different abodes: a thatched-roof hut, a trailer, a doghouse, a single home, an apartment house, and a Middle Eastern—style building. "Be your own family" is illustrated with a spaceship filled with individuals of different colors, genders, and species (there is a dog included), all with alien horns. A simple message is repeated with new examples on each spread. Parr's illustrations have a touch of Keith Haring and a smidge of "POW!" (as seen in pop art), which are very effective for getting readers' attention. Combine this offering with Kerascoët's Paul and Antoinette as a starting point for a lively conversation about individuality, diversity, and acceptance. Extend the discussion to include more focus on individuals with disabilities by adding Kathy Hoopmann's All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome.
VERDICT A first choice for all collections. There cannot be too many options that encourage this sentiment in children.

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