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Friday, November 18, 2022

All Are Neighbors, written by Alexandra Penfold and illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman. Alfred A. Knopf, Penguin Random House. 2022. $24.99 ages 4 and up

"We are all neighbors here. 

We can help each other along. 
Building bonds that are strong. 

So everyone knows that they belong. 
We are all neighbors here.

As classroom collections of books about empathy and kindness grow, here is another to show the importance that creating community should have for all of us. Community is here described as 'a place for you and me'. That is absolutely the best definition of what communities can and should be. 

A family moves in, and is greeted by members of their new community. As their journey through the neighborhood begins, it is evident that there are many differences between those who live in the same place. Community members are varied, as are the ways they begin their days. Some are in wheelchairs or walkers, others are not; some go to work, some stay home to work; skin colors are different as are methods of transportation. Despite those things that make us different, there are so many others that make us the same - first and foremost, we are all community members. 

"We're here for each other, come what may. 
We are all neighbors here.

Each turn of the page follows the newcomers as they discover the places and people, and the diversity that is such an important and revealing aspect of their chosen home. Friendships flourish. What a truly wonderful way to make newcomers feel welcome and included in the warm spirit here shown. 

Young readers will be fascinated by the countless scenes created in vivid and meticulous artwork by Suzanne Kaufman. Stories will be imagined and shared as each part of the neighborhood is visited. Perspectives change, activities abound, and always there is a real sense of welcome and celebration. A final gatefold of only some of the neighbors is delightful. 

"There's a place for everybody.


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