My Shape is Sam

Page Street. Sept. 2019. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781624147708.
PreS–This is a story about fitting in and having empathy for those struggling to find their place. It is written in a way young children can identify with. All shapes where Sam lives have jobs. For circles it means working together to make things go. For squares, like Sam, it means making things stable and staying in place. “Sometimes Sam was part of a bridge. Sometimes he was part of a building.” But the title goes on to explain, “Sam liked to go fast. Fast was fun. But mostly he liked it because that is what circles did. And even though he had four pointy corners, Sam didn’t really feel like a square.” Sam works to find where he belongs and the story has a happy ending. Sam ends up joining the circles on their job. When asked about his shape, he says, “My shape is Sam!” At the back of the book a note reads, “Amanda Jackson (the author) has been the new kid in six different schools, fostering a deep empathy for those who struggle to find their place in the world. She hopes Sam’s story will help bring understanding, rather than speak only to those who already understand.” Illustrations are bright and colorful and complement text.
VERDICT A fun, simple read-aloud that can be a tool to teach empathy to young children. A recommended purchase for public libraries and preschools.

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