Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Review: Alike and Different series by Lisa Bullard, illustrated by Renee Kurilla

While social studies tends to get the short shrift these days, diversity is a topic that still comes up in the curriculum quite often. Cloverleaf (Lerner) has a new series out that seems just right for the elementary school classroom:

My Clothes, Your Clothes     My Family, Your Family
9781467760300               9781467760294

Whew! My head was almost spinning at how inclusive these tried to be - which, of course, is part of the point of the series. Different types of families (not just in that particular title), different races, religions, cultures, gender roles, even types of schools. Fortunately, Bullard (and Kurilla in her illustrations) manage to integrate them all without it appearing forced. Kids can spot a didactic book a mile away!

This series, outlining some of the ways we are the same and different, also includes title about food, homes, language, and religion. Judging from these two, every possibility is presented in a completely positive light. On the one hand, if you were a teacher wanting to start discussions about diversity in a class, you probably wouldn't want to even hint that there are right and wrong ways to have a family, so positive is good. On the other hand, you may very well have kids in your class from divorced parents who do NOT get along swimmingly, so they may have a hard time identifying with these characters. Just something to be aware of, however you use the books.

I liked Kurilla's illustrations a bit more than some of the other artists Cloverleaf has used - diverse, but not as cartoony. Each title includes an art project at the end, which would be suitable for a classroom or home. Since my review copies are paperback, we will be ordering the whole series in hardcover soon, because I predict they will circulate frequently!

No comments:

Post a Comment