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Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth
by Oliver Jeffers
Here We Are takes the reader on a tour through the land, the sea, the sky, our bodies, and highlights our diversity. Unlike most picture books, Here We Are does not have a plot. Instead each page focuses on one part of earth. For example, one page has a picture of a boy that shows half his body as a skeleton with the major organs (heart, brain, etc.) listed. The words that accompany the picture read, “On our planet, there are people. One people are a person. You are a person. You have a body.”
While the text will be quickly forgotten, the pictures are amazingly beautiful and show the diversity of the earth. For example, a man is one a boat fishing in the ocean. Underneath the boat is a vast array of sea life—jelly fish, a whale, a seal, an octopus, a narwhal, and many more. People are also under the sea swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving. The full-page illustrations are breathtaking and will captivate readers.
While the text of Here We Are is underwhelming, the illustrations show the diverse world and capture the wonder of living on earth. Each illustration has fun detail such as three people sitting around the campfire, and one boy is eating a slice of pizza. Here We Are would be a wonderful book to read to younger children. This is also an excellent picture book for starting a conversation about diversity. With 12 words or less on each page, Here We Are teaches readers to be kind and take care of the earth.
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