All Welcome Here

Macmillan. Jun. 2020. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250155887.
PreS-Gr 1–Loosely linked haiku poems tell the story of a child’s first day of school, starting with packing new school supplies in the morning all the way through arriving home later that day. The unnamed child at the start and end is light-skinned with a straight brown bob. However, the poems quickly introduce—and then just as briskly move on from—diverse characters and topics, from playground games to library time. The mixed media illustrations show children and teachers of various skin and hair colors and hair types; one child is shown using a wheelchair and one adult wears a hijab. It’s refreshing to see the adult at the school library present as masculine while the school bus driver presents feminine. While the book’s title references a pro-diversity, pro-immigrant, pro-LGBTQIA message, the interior alludes to this message only subtly; it’s not clear that anyone in the book is LGBTQIA or an immigrant. Overall the tone is cheerful and reassuring.
VERDICT A pleasant addition to first-day-of-school literature that focuses on the some of the upsides of school.

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