All Are Welcome

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
All Are Welcome Book Poster Image
Kind, uplifting story of inclusion and diversity at school.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows a variety of cultures, families, and abilities through food, clothing, and play. 

Positive Messages

Everyone belongs in the community, regardless of background, family, ability, or interest.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Teachers, parents, and kids are warm and welcoming, and the illustrations are noticeably diverse.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Alexandra Penfold's beautifully warm, inclusive picture book All Are Welcome is a stunning example of diversity in storytelling with a simple and powerful message: You belong here. Set in a school, the inclusive message transcends the classroom by showing the students' families, the variety of foods they bring for lunch, what they wear, and how they get to school. Suzanne Kaufman's illustrations are cheerful and vibrant, capturing the kids' delight at being together and solidifying the message that each person matters.

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What's the story?

ALL ARE WELCOME follows kids through their school day, activities, and homes while repeating the message that, no matter their race, family makeup, clothes, religion, or ability, everyone belongs. The kids arrive to school on foot, in a wheelchair, in a taxi, and eat foods from their diverse cultures for lunch. They do projects together, point to the map to show their family's origin, and play together on the playground. No one is left out, and everyone is valued.

Is it any good?

Diversity and inclusion are shown as beautifully, happily normal here, with simple, repeated words of inclusion and colorful, engaging illustrations. All Are Welcome shows kids encouraged to be who they are, and celebrates their differences. One of the most stunning displays of inclusion is the illustration of the playground, where kids wear hijabs, yarmulkes, shorts and baseball hat, skirts, and pants. Their hair is in pigtails, a patka (a cloth head covering worn especially by Sikh boys), long and short, and the Black hair is natural. There are children running around, a child in a wheelchair, blind and sighted kids laughing together, a group playing ball, and one kid happily reads a book by himself under a tree. Through other details, like the food at the lunch tables and the different kinds of families, the message that everyone is welcome and accepted as they are is warm and powerful here.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the ways their community is like the one in All Are Welcome, and how it's different. What about these kids reminds you of you and your friends?

  • Does having diversity make a community better? Do you think having differences helps or hurts people?

  • Has there been a time when you haven't felt welcome at your school, or noticed that someone else might feel that way? What could you do to help someone fee welcome?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love stories of tolerance and empathy

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