All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold

International Day of Peace, Sep. 21, 2018

All Are Welcome

Alexandra Penfold, Author

Suzanne Kaufman, Illustrator

Knopf Books for Young Readers, Fiction, Jul. 10, 2018

Pages: 44

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Diversity, Inclusiveness, Classroom, School, Friendship

Opening: Pencils sharpened in their case. / Bells are ringing, let’s make haste. / School’s beginning, dreams to chase. / All are welcome here.

Publisher Synopsis:

Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps or sitting in wheel chairs. A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions, share lunches, play hard at recess, share science projects, play musical instruments, and gather as a whole community to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.

Why I like this book:

All Are Welcome celebrates inclusiveness and diversity, sending the message to children and parents that everyone is welcome in their school, in their class, and in their community.  Suzanne Kaufman’s joyful and lively illustrations remind kids that the world is a rainbow of color when cultures merge from every part of the world. There is a beautiful surprise in the book.

The text sings with Alexander Penfold’s simple rhymes and repetitive chant “All are welcome here,” which  will resonate with young children as they will pour over pictures of kids like themselves. Some with dark skin, light skin, red hair, and curly hair. Others wear baseball caps, hijabs, glasses, hearing aids, and sit in wheelchairs.  It is a place where diversity and compassion advance the culture of peace.

As a new school year begins, All Are Welcome is a must-have book for pre-schools and elementary schools everywhere. It demonstrates on how much fun children have together in the classroom, on the playground and in the lunch room. “Time for lunch – what a spread! /A dozen different kinds of bread. / Pass it around till everyone’s fed. / All are welcome here.” 

I first learned about this book from Pragmatic Mom’s website last summer. Check out the story behind the story of how the author started a movement with a poster.

Resources: I believe this book would be a wonderful discussion book for today’s UN celebration of International Day of Peace. It is a day for engaging kids in peace-building activities.  And what better way than to remind kids they live in a rainbow world. Encourage kids to talk about ways to create peace at school, their communities and in the world. Whatever you decide to do, remember to pause at noon, (no matter your time zone) for a Minute of Silence and think about how you will build peaceful relationships.

Alexandra Penfold is the author of Eat, Sleep, Poop (Knopf, 2016) and the forthcoming picture books The Littlest Viking (Knopf) and Everybody’s Going to the Food Truck Fest (FSG). She is also a literary agent at Upstart Crow, where one of her clients is author-illustrator, Suzanne Kaufman! Learn more about Alex on Twitter at @agentpenfold and Suzanne on her website  or on Twitter at @suzannekaufman.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Book (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

26 thoughts on “All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold

  1. This is a perfect choice for #PeaceDay! And I’m so glad you’re celebrating & spreading the word, too! I love this book & I’m happy it’s getting the attention it deserves.


  2. It is an amazing coincidence that you should post this now, Patricia. I have just finished (almost) my post in response to the flash fiction prompt set by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch this week. Her prompt is ‘a parade of nations’. I mentioned this book in my post. Now I have linked to this post of yours. I’m fairly sure I found out about this book from you previously. Is that right? It’s a great post and a wonderful book for International Peace Day. Thank you for the reminder. I’m so pleased I purchased my copy of this beautiful book.


      • It must not have been you then, Patricia. I’m not sure where I read about it, but it seemed like a book you would have promoted. I wasn’t wrong about that. 🙂


  3. Totally agree that it should be in all pre and elementary schools. I especially think Suzanne has done an amazing job on the variety of diversity she has illustrated. I was wondering who would be the first to add this to our PPBF collection, as it is a must-have.


    • It is a great message. Am noticing that there is greater freedom with many of the PBs I’ve been sharing where there isn’t a defined problem, obstacle etc., but it carries a powerful message! And, it gives teachers and parents a lot of freedom to discuss whatever kids want to talk about.


  4. I absolutely adore this book! After attending her book launch, I interviewed Suzanne Kaufman (—Interview-with-Suzanne-Kaufman) and she explained how she created the poster for her daughter’s school and who she modeled the kids and adults after (including Maya Angelou, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and many kidlit peers). Suzanne and Alexandra created a beautiful call to action so needed right now.


  5. Pingback: Talking with Kids about A Culture of World Peace | Platform Number 4

  6. I just got back from the library, and as I was heading over to this book, which was on the special recommendation shelf, someone got there before me… I put it on hold, and will now have to wait to enjoy it. This is definitely a book that needs to be in every classroom.


  7. Pingback: A parade of nations in a multicultural classroom | Norah Colvin

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