Reviewed by Katelyn Wright
Why fit in when it’s way more fun to stand out? That’s the message that Todd Parr boldly splashes across each page in Be Who You Are, a colorful picturebook for pre-school and early elementary readers. Children of all colors, including blue, black, orange, and purple, dance through this book with their animal friends, as Parr shows that no matter what color you are or what kind of house you live in, you should be proud of who you are. Every few pages, the large colorful words of “BE WHO YOU ARE!” pop up as a message to young readers to embrace their own unique identities.
Parr advocates for a world where all lifestyles are accepted and celebrated. In this book, you’ll find children who speak different languages, dress uniquely, live in diverse homes, and share their feelings openly. No matter what they look like or who they are, all of these children are important. The colorful and abstract artwork shows young readers that everyone is different and everyone deserves love.
As Parr writes, “It doesn’t matter what color you are, where you are form, or who’s in your family. Everyone needs to be loved.”
Be Who You Are succeeds in teaching children that diversity, whether that means skin color, interests, or language, should be celebrated.
Be Who You Are
by Todd Parr
Little, Brown and Company, 2016
Katelyn is a middle school teacher fueled by coffee and books, currently working toward an M. Ed. in English Education.