Illustrator: Diane Paterson
Grade Level: Pre-K to 3
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All Kinds of Children is a piece of children’s literature that exemplifies commonalities and diversity. The book celebrates children from all over the world. It focuses on all of things children have in common, regardless of where in the world they live or what their nationality or heritage may be. Norma Simon shows us, through this book, that even though there are many unique differences amongst cultures and families, each and every child shares the same physical and emotional needs.
The book points out a number of examples of the kinds of needs and desires that children all over the world have in common. These include the need for food, clothing, a place to live, a place to sleep, and people to love them. Opportunities to play, have fun, and hear stories are also some examples of the commonalities amongst children. Norma Simon describes each of these examples from a widely diverse standpoint. All Kinds of Children shows us that even though children may wear different types of clothes, all children need clothing or that even though the specific types of foods children eat may vary based on their cultural background, all children share a need for food.
All Kinds of Children represents Element 2: Respect for Others. While this book points out the general commonalities that exist among all children throughout the world, it also describes the differences between children based upon their cultural background. Although all children share many of the same needs, they meet these needs in their own unique and diverse ways.
Not only does this book give children the opportunity to recognize commonalities across cultures and gain an appreciation for the way in which they are alike, it also serves as a tool for learning abut diversity. Differences between cultures and communities are acknowledged and celebrated. Children learn to accept others for who they are, rather than judging them based upon where they come from or what their cultural upbringing may be.
In an elementary classroom, I would use this book to teach my students about diversity and the importance of having respect for others. I would begin my reading the story to the class and give them a chance to look at all the illustrations. I would then gather the students into small groups. Each group with be given one of the needs that the book focuses on. These will consist of every child’s need for food, clothing, sleep, play, and the need to be loved. Each member of the group will draw and color their personal representation of the specific need in which they are assigned. Therefore, if the group is asked to focus on the need for food, each student will create a poster that shows how food is represented in their culture or family lifestyle. Students will then present their artwork to the class and discuss a little bit about what their picture depicts. The children will able to see first hand that even though commonalities exist amongst them, each child differs in the way they meet their specific needs.