Welcome to the monthly children’s book review feature with a focus on diverse books here at Bird Meets Worm! My team of reviewers—Cara Chow, Denise Holmes, Joan Charles, Sharon Calle—and I are so excited to be championing books celebrating everything from gender diversity, people of color, the LGBTQ community to ethnic, cultural and religious minorities, people with disabilities and developmental challenges to controversial topics, unique family situations and anything and everything I did not include. It is to say we take a rightfully board view of diversity! We aim to shine a light on books that bring both familiar experiences to those who do not often see themselves represented in books and new experiences to those looking to expand their worldview. Here at Bird Meets Worm we believe in the power of story to build empathy and thus a better world for you and me and everyone. Look for a new review on the second Wednesday of every month.
By Matthew Swanson • Illustrated by Robbi Behr
Picture Book (ages 3-6) • 48 pages
Imprint • 2017
Everywhere, Wonder is a picture book for all children. It celebrates the power of books to transport us to far off places and encourages us to embrace life’s diverse possibilities.
The protagonist of this story is a dark-skinned, curly-haired boy. The story begins with the boy seated at a simple table with an open book in front of him. On the right side of the two-page spread is an open window filled with an inviting blue sky.
Throughout this story the unseen narrator invites us on an adventure filled with contrasts. We travel alongside the boy to far off landscapes. We meet characters from a variety of backgrounds, such as “a cold and lonesome polar bear” and “Shirley Sheboygan who has 37 friends,” just to name a few.
Everywhere encourages readers to find beauty in their daily life—even down to a bowl of noodles. “One noodle that doesn’t match the others” can spark our curiosity. Instead of being threatened by something different, we can embrace it.
This book describes life’s adventures as, “All of them interesting. All of them beautiful.” It prompts children to consider how they are a part of a world filled with so many stories.
Everywhere inspires young readers to be curious, ask questions, imagine the future and celebrate the diversity of life. Its illustrations of digitally sampled watercolour washes are stunning and make this book a treat for the eyes.
It’s refreshing to find a diverse picture book where the child’s cultural background is not the focus of the story. This could be any child, anywhere on earth. And that’s what makes this book wonderful.
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Reviewed by: Sharon Calle • ARTSi Studio