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All Are Welcome
by Alexandra Penfold
Diverse Characters, Picture Book
4 - 8
Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms no matter their race, religion, or background. The picture book begins with families being welcomed to school. The story shows events that happen during a typical school day such as playing at recess, making music, having lunch and presenting science projects. Each page repeats the refrain, “All are welcome here.”
The end of the book transitions to the children’s home life. Two pages show some of the kids sleeping, but in their dreams, they are playing with a special friend. Even though everyone is different, “we’re part of a community. Our strength is our diversity. A shelter from adversity. All are welcome here.” The picture book shows the importance of accepting others despite differences.
The picture book’s illustrations are bursting with colorful details. The book includes a diverse group of children including a girl in a wheelchair and a blind boy. One page includes a Muslim girl praying. The children’s clothes are bright, colorful, and full of patterns. Parents may want to point out the two girls who seem to be special friends and are playing in most of the pictures. The children’s hair is messy, and many of them have missing teeth which adds charm to the pictures.
All Are Welcome is a quick read since each two-page spread contains 2 to 4 rhyming lines of text. The end of the book has folded pages that can be removed and used as a poster. Both the words and the illustrations celebrate a group of diverse people that make up a community. A world map appears in several of the pictures which reinforces the idea that “No matter how you start your day. What you wear when you play. Or if you come from far away. All are welcome here.”
All Are Welcome would be a wonderful read-aloud book that will introduce readers to the concept of being accepting of everyone despite their differences. In a world filled with division, All Are Welcome will help young readers understand the importance of being kind, inclusive, and accepting others. Angus All Aglow by Heather Smith is another wonderful book about accepting people’s differences.
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