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Reviewed by Louanne Piccolo for Readers' Favorite
It’s OK to Be Different, written by Sharon Purtill and illustrated by Sujata Saha, is a children’s picture book celebrating children who have the courage to be themselves, and to accept others as they are. When children learn that diversity is positive, it becomes natural for them to embrace differences instead of shunning them, to turn towards others instead of turning away. Different appearances, different activities, different physical traits, and personal preferences – it’s all part of living in a world as diverse as there are people in it. Embracing the differences between people equips children to deal with bullies, and helps them grow from compassionate youngsters into compassionate adults with empathy, respect, and kindness for others.
It’s OK to Be Different delighted me with its simple, but timely rhyming prose and beautiful illustrations. It sends a succinct message to children about the importance of accepting who they and others are, without preaching or lecturing. I particularly enjoyed the way in which Sharon Purtill flips the concept of being different onto the reader. By writing, “You should always be kind to those who are different from you. Because to them, YOU are different too,” she invites children to see that to others they may be perceived as strange themselves; a concept many children struggle with. It’s OK to Be Different draws readers in and compels them to follow the story right through to the end. Young readers with an eye for exceptional artwork and clever wordplay will enjoy it over and over again.