Vive la différence!

All children are unique.

All children are unique.

I am always searching for children’s books to share with teachers and parents. My criteria have not changed since my daughter was a baby: (1) They must appeal to the child(ren). (2) They must be enjoyable enough for me to read 200 or more times. (3) They must have literary, social or other values.

Lately, I came across The Exclamation Point by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. In this story, an exclamation point is a character who stands out from his peers, the periods. He tries fitting in but still feels “different” until he encounters an inquisitive question mark, who asks him so many questions, he finally shouts, “Stop!” That experience is the turning point and the exclamation point begins to feel more and more confident and joyful.

One of the important messages I would like to impart to children is that diversity is a good thing and that it’s okay to be different. Wouldn’t it be great if all kids felt good about their uniqueness and could appreciate the specialness of others?

I’m adding this book to my collection with related themes, which already includes:

  • Frederick  and A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni
  • The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
  • The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle
  • Leo, the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus
  • The Cow That Went “Oink!” by Bernard Most

After reading one of these, try one or more of the following to make the experience truly memorable:

  • Talk about the feelings of the characters and how the feelings change.
  • Act out favorite parts.
  • Draw or build favorite characters or parts.
  • Make up a chant or song about the main idea. Example:

 

Chant:                                                                          Gestures

Diversity, diversity                                                   Spread arms wide, palms up.

Is such a lovely word to me!                                  Bring palms to chest.

We’re as different as we can be!                         Point index fingers in and out.

You’re so you and I’m so me!                                Point index fingers out, then to self.

Let’s hear it for diversity!                                       Jump and throw hands in the air.

 

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