All Kinds of Kids

Brown Bks. Oct. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781612546414.
PreS-Gr 2–A story with the message of how “all kinds of kids can be friends with each other.” Kids’ heights, family structures, holidays, sports, and noise levels are a few differences noted, utilizing a negative comparative sentence structure. There are “some kids [who] celebrate Christmas,” on one spread, while “some do not” on the next. Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Eid al-Fitr combined occupy the same amount of space as Christmas, which is a troublesome pattern of inequity in this text. Meisel’s mixed media art does highlight inclusivity, with fine line work and superb color choices. For example, when showcasing types of families, Meisel includes a 28-family member reunion picnic, a single parent and child, and several other family structures. Within each family are people of different ages, abilities, gender, race, and identifiable partnerships, but there are some missteps with characterization that result in stereotypes. This is most noticeable in a scene where “some do not (eat pizza),” and children wear traditional Inuit hooded parkas to eat at a table. Written prior to Martin, Jr.’s death in 2006, this is more reflective of picture books attempting to generalize diversity. See Jess Hong’s Lovely or Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw’s Same, Same, But Different instead.
VERDICT In a book that is very “we are the world” in concept, Meisel’s art meticulously created details to make this global. However, it still a very America- and Christian-centric book. Pass and select more culturally responsive materials that reflect kids’ lives.

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