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3 Picture Books That Celebrate the Importance of Being Different

Luisa LaFleur | The Children’s Book Review | August 21, 2009

Try as we might, we can’t all be the smartest, fastest, prettiest…we are ourselves and sometimes that can be hard to accept. But it’s a life lesson that must be learned and as parents we can try to make the lesson a little easier by pointing out that being different is the spice of life. It’s what makes every day interesting. We’ve all got our own talents and strengths. The key is finding what they are.

Three books that focus on the theme of acceptance are Pink!, Patulous The Different Caterpillar, and Bob the Lizard. All three books help kids see that even though they’re different, they’ll still be accepted and have friends.

Pink by Lynne RickardsPink!

by Lynne Rickards (Author), Margaret Chamberlain (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: The Chicken House (January 1, 2009)

In Pink!, by Lynn Richards, we meet Patrick, a little penguin who wakes up one morning and realizes his world has been turned upside down. He’s turned pink, you see, in a world of black-and-white penguins. No one can explain why he’s turned pink and he becomes painfully aware that he no longer fits in. Patrick sets off to find flamingos in Africa, in the hope that their common pink-ness will unite them but to no avail; he doesn’t fit in there either. He goes back home and shows his friends that even though he looks different, he’s still the same penguin he was before. I think this is a message worth repeating. Changes can be hard but being different doesn’t have to be.

Patulous The Different CaterpillarPatulous The Different Caterpillar

by Anita Volta (Author), Diane Lucas (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Paperback: 32 pages

Publisher: Working Parents, LLC (November 5, 2008)

In Patulous The Different Caterpillar, by A. Volta, we’re introduced to a cute caterpillar that isn’t as cute as his friends. Patulous, as the title says, is different and his caterpillar friends reject him. In his sadness, he wanders around to a new neighborhood and becomes friends with a snail, a ladybug and a grasshopper. His new friends love him for who he is, not for how he looks. I won’t give away the ending, but it all works out in the end and we’re left with a warm story about the value of friendship and the importance of being kind to one another.

Bob the Lizard

by Iz Ramirez (Author), Brenda Swope (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Paperback: 26 pages

Publisher: PublishAmerica (May 11, 2009)

In Bob the Lizard, by Iz Ramirez, Bob is on the quest to find friends. As he goes about the desert looking for friends he finds himself wishing he could fly like a hummingbird or run fast like a roadrunner or live underground like a prairie dog, but he can’t do any of those things. All he can do is be himself and the friends he makes love him for it. This tale, based on Native American storytelling, touches the reader with its simple but heartfelt message: we’re all different in our own ways and this is a beautiful thing. The colorful illustrations bring home the message.

3 Picture Books That Celebrate the Importance of Being Different

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Luisa LaFleur reviews bilingual books for The Children’s Book Review to help parents choose the best books for their budding linguists. She was born in Argentina, attended school in NYC and speaks three foreign languages–Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. Formerly an editor in NYC, Luisa is currently a stay-at-home mom to two little ones.

  • So glad I’m a subscriber so I could read this right away. This is a great post! I can’t wait to read about Bob the lizard and the Pink! penguin.

    Just today, I posted a few of my back to school favorite books on dealing with teasing, separation anxiety, and doing your own thing on http://www.imaginationsoup.net.

    Love your site!

    August 21, 2009
  • Thanks, Melissa! Can’t wait to check our your site!

    August 21, 2009

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