All Are Welcome

Alexandra Penfold, illus. by Suzanne Kaufman. Knopf, $17.99 (44p) ISBN 978-0-525-57964-9
Penfold (Eat, Sleep, Poop) and Kaufman (I Love Monkey) celebrate a school community as a great common ground where families of all kinds connect and share in their children’s educational journey: “No matter how you start your day./ What you wear when you play./ Or if you come from far away./ All are welcome here.” Every child is different—readers get a brief glimpse of children’s lives away from the classroom—but everyone shares a love for story time, recess, creating green slime and volcanoes, and making friends. Though one of Penfold’s rhymes (“We’re part of a community/ Our strength is our diversity./ A shelter from adversity”) sounds more like a protest cheer than a poem, she is a passionate advocate for e pluribus unum throughout the story; the book’s refrain of “All are welcome here” feels both deeply reassuring and almost radical in our polarized time. Kaufman smoothly choreographs her large cast throughout numerous scenes—including a school night potluck, as showcased in a spacious double gatefold—and it’s fun to follow one friendship in particular as it blossoms between two girls. The inside of the book jacket doubles as a poster featuring the entire cast. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Susan Ginsburg, Writers House. Illustrator’s agent: Alexandra Penfold, Upstart Crow Literary. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/14/2018
Release date: 07/10/2018
Ebook - 978-0-525-57966-3
Library Binding - 44 pages - 978-0-525-57965-6
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