Welcome to the latest Touring Picture Book Club which this month features a fantastic book celebrating diversity: All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman and published by Bloomsbury.
This book follows a day in the life of a group of children at a school where diversity is both welcomed and celebrated. Children from all races, religions, abilities and family backgrounds arrive at the school and enjoy a day of the most wonderful, inclusive education.
There is a space for everyone here with the needs of all catered for and it is truly heart warming to see how the children’s differences are not only welcomed but celebrated and included throughout the day. Children of different abilities, families with same sex parents, children from different countries and cultures and children of different religious beliefs are all present in this school.
The rhyming text that repeats ‘All Are Welcome Here’ at the end of each verse creates an excellent message for all children that they are welcome, they are accepted and no matter who they are or where they are from they all have an equal place.
Inspired by Suzanne Kaufman’s daughter’s school, the idea for this book grew from a poster that Suzanne created to welcome all children to schools and this has been expanded on expertly throughout the pages of this story. The bright and colourful images make this book immediately engaging and with so many cultures, backgrounds and abilities featured there is something for all children to relate to.
My sons were so excited when they spotted a little boy in this school wearing a yarmulke, it is wonderful to see how such a small detail can bring so much joy and the positive impact it has on building on and strengthening their own identity.
This is a book that should be in all schools and the message it conveys is particularly relevant in the current political climate. These are the kinds of books we need to support the youngest generation to grow up in a tolerant and welcoming society.
Buy All Are Welcome from Wordery with free delivery.
When we read this book, my boys really enjoyed looking at all the different languages at the end of the story. We talked about which languages we recognised and those we didn’t, we researched some of the countries the languages came from and looked up the different alphabets used.
We had a great conversation about how people who speak different languages could communicate with each other which then got us in to a discussion about how people communicate if they aren’t able to use language by speaking, listening or reading it. My eldest knew about sign language that is used by deaf people but when I asked him how someone who was blind would be able to read a book he found that more tricky to think about but he did have some good suggestions; someone could read a book to them or they could listen to an audio book.
This led us on to talking about Braille and researching who invented it. My eldest was really surprised to learn that Louis Braille was only a teenager when he devised the Braille language and we found out more about him from this Magic Grandad video about his life.
We looked at images of the Braille alphabet online and my son pointed out that the 6 cell format that Braille follows look like Lego bricks and as we have an abundance of Lego in our house this activity was perfect for us.
After searching through our Lego boxes for all our one and two dot bricks we built the Braille alphabet and ran our fingers across the letters to see how it feels to read Braille.
Next, we had a go at writing some words using the Lego bricks, starting with our own names of course, my boys loved to see their names represented in a different way and seeing how they felt in Braille.
Then we tried writing out words and seeing if we could recognise them using our alphabet grid to help us match the letters up. Here a couple we tried, see if you can work them out…
It was great to see how interested my 6 year old had become in Braille and during a recent day out on the train he was keen to spot some Braille being used in real life. He was really pleased to spot it on this button for a lift and recognise that the two little groups of dots stood for the letters ‘u’ and ‘p’, spelling the word ‘up’.
Thank you for joining us for this month’s Touring Picture Book Club, be sure to head over to these fellow bloggers for more ideas on how this book has inspired activites and play; Book Bairn, Along Came Poppy and Mamma Filz.
Many thanks to Bloomsbury for sending a copy of this book to be included in the Touring Picture Book Club.
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