Book Talk Tuesday: Theme--Being Different

Today I am highlighting three books that look at what life can be like when one is different in significant ways from those around them or how to deal with the changes that happen to all of us. 

The Splendid Spotted Snake (A Magic Ribbon Book)
written by Betty Ann Schwartz, illustrated by Alexander Wilensky
Workman Publishing, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7611-6360-2
Grades PreK-1
Reviewed from personal copy.

BLURB:  It's a marvel Every time you turn the page the little snake grows bigger. And it's a book that teaches colors: with every page his spots change color. Amazing "But how does it work "Using a unique Magic Ribbon format invented by the authors, "The Splendid Spotted Snake" follows the adventures of a little spotted snake made out of sturdy, polka-dotted cloth ribbon. "When Yellow Snake was born, he had bright red spots. But then he grew . . . His new spots were blue."Not only does the little snake double in size, his spots also change color Red to blue to purple to orange and more, it's an enchanting lesson in learning colors. And for little kids and parents alike, a true page-turner--because with every turn of the page the little snake grows and changes.And look for it: a wonderful, gratifying surprise ending.

I used this book with my kindergarten students to introduce the idea of being different.  I especially like it because it addresses changes that come with growing up. The simple text compliments the bright illustrations beautifully, allowing the deceptively simple art to speak for itself.  The students got a really big kick out the growing snake and the different colors.  The ending was a nice surprise as well.  I definitely plan to use this book again in the future (not least of all because I get a kick out of the growing snake also).

It's Okay to Be Different
written and illustrated by Todd Parr
Little, Brown & Company, 2001
ISBN: 978-0-316-15562-5
Grades PreK-1
Reviewed from personal copy.

BLURBIt's okay to be a different color. It's okay to dance by yourself. It's okay to wear glasses. It's okay to have a pet worm.... It's okay to be different!

Not only do I love the bright, colorful, cartoonish illustrations, but I appreciate how easy this book is to relate to.  All of us feel different in one way or another, sometimes in good ways, sometimes in not so good ways.  Parr does a nice job pointing out that most differences are okay, that these differences don't need to be hidden or run away from.  He refers to things that children experience on a regular basis, things such as size differences, feelings, likes and dislikes, appearance, etc. I enjoyed using this book and I hope it helped the children to realize that being different is okay.

Perfect Square
written and illustrated by Michael Hall
Greenwillow Books, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-191513-0
Grades K and up
Reviewed from personal copy.

BLURB: A perfect square is transformed in this adventure story that will transport you far beyond the four equal sides of this square book.
I love this book.  Hall has created a masterpiece with this one.  Everything about the book works beautifully.  The story and theme about dealing with the challenges that life can throw at you is spot on.  The design of the book suits the story to a tee.  The way the colors compliment each other and the creative illustrations add so much to the appeal of the book.  Often one doesn't find a lot of character growth in a picture book, the story is often too short, especially if the characters aren't human.  But here the square does grow and realize that change and challenge can bring joy. I highly, highly recommend this book.  My  students also really enjoyed the book.  This could lead to some great art activities as well as a great read-a-loud.

Head on over to The Lemme Library for some more great book talks.


  1. All three seem like wonderful books! Just looking at the covers makes me want to read them. The "Splendid Spotted Snake" sounds like it would be a good one to give as a gift.


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