“All Are Welcome” by Alaxandra Penfold, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
Alexandra Penfold’s book, All Are Welcome is a favorite in my home. Whenever we borrow it from the library (which is often), my 5-year-old and 3-year-old have me read it to them multiple times a day. Suzanne Kaufman’s colorful illustrations are a delightful pair to Penfold’s narrative stating “all are welcome here,” no matter one's appearance or background.
As the story is introduced, there is a paragraph explaining how this book is inspired by Kaufman’s daughters’ school, “where diversity and community are not just protected, but celebrated.” Through its fun-to-read rhythm and rhyme, All Are Welcome gives the reader a bird’s-eye view of a typical school day from sunup to sundown for students of all backgrounds at this particular school. The prose and illustrations combine to foster inclusivity and a sense of community as they highlight the students’ similarities and differences in a fun and light-hearted way.
All Are Welcome is an excellent book for any young reader! It would be perfect to read in a classroom, at home, or even at a library's storytime. I would especially recommend reading it to kids aged 3 - 8. Teaching kids the importance of inclusion and the beauty of diversity from a young age is imperative to raising them to be kind and accepting. All Are Welcome is the perfect place to start!
Over the last year we have developed close relationships built on mutual trust with many of the families we help. We know their names, their personal stories, and individual needs. We are fully aware that our donations are only a temporary band aid for a larger problem. A bag of groceries only goes so far, and they will be back the following Saturday for more. Sometimes, though, we can make a bigger impact in someone’s life.
Selfies with friends. Shurooq and Sasha enjoy shopping together.
There are currently 26.4 million refugees in the world. Over half of them are children; hundreds of thousands of them are children traveling alone. These three boys fled violence and persecution in Afghanistan, undertook perilous journeys with their families, and landed in the refugee camp in Greece where I met them. Their future is uncertain, and their past is gone forever. This precarious position could understandably inspire fear, mistrust, and despair. Yet so often it is the children who are able to rise above the rhetoric of fear and show us all what humanity really means.