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We Belong

We Belong

I’ve seen many ques­tions on social media, ask­ing which books teach­ers will read aloud to their class­room dur­ing the first week of school. I don’t teach in a class­room but I’ve thought about this ques­tion any­way. The book that rose to the top of my list is this one, We Belong. It’s a bril­liant book, both in writ­ing and in illus­tra­tion, every word select­ed with care, every bit of art inclu­sive and reassuring.

We Belong brings up our dif­fer­ences and gen­tly helps us real­ize they don’t matter. 

Maybe you’re tall as a big red­wood tree.
When your kite becomes stuck, you just pluck it free! …

Maybe you’re short.
Down low to the ground. …

Does it mat­ter?
And why?
We’re each only as high
as a small grain of sand
next to moun­tains or sky.

This book is good at per­spec­tive, both in words and art. Mak­ing com­par­isons, offer­ing alter­na­tive ways to look at peo­ple and our sur­round­ings, giv­ing the read­er or lis­ten­er wide open spaces to con­sid­er and choose a path.

illustration from We Belong
illus­tra­tion © Car­los Vélez Aquil­era, from We Belong,
writ­ten by Lau­ra Pur­die Salas, pub­lished by Car­ol­rho­da Books, 2022

It’s a ter­rif­ic book to read out loud but be sure you show the art at the same time. They work so well togeth­er. With each page turn, I kept say­ing, “No, this is my favorite spread.” The col­or palette is sump­tu­ous. The chil­dren and adults (and kites) depict­ed are inspir­ing in their diversity. 

You could use this book to teach com­pare-and-con­trast but I hope first and fore­most you will use it to offer hope and embrace a com­mu­ni­ty of peo­ple who are each unique and valued.

High­ly recommended.

We Belong
writ­ten by Lau­ra Pur­die Salas
illus­trat­ed by Car­los Vélez Aguil­era
Car­ol­rho­da Books, 2022
ISBN 978 – 1541599130

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Emilie Buchgwald
Emilie Buchgwald
17 days ago

A won­der­ful rev9ew of We Belong! It made me want to read it.

David LaRochelle
16 days ago

I’ve heard Lau­ra read this aloud, and you are right, Vic­ki; it is a great book!

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