Picture Book Snob
Do we see the same things?
Are Your Stars Like My Stars? by Leslie Helakoski and Heidi Woodward Sheffield, Sterling Publishing
What's it about?
This is a beautiful book which celebrates the differences that make us special, while showcasing the shared experiences that unite us all. Readers are introduced to a variety of cultures and countries, as we explore colours and their relationship to children all over the world.
What can we learn?
Even though we're different, we are all the same! Everyone looks at the sky, the moon, the stars, and sunsets. While some colours might represent specific things in certain places, these shades are universal. We see activities and interests that all children have in common, from baking with grandmothers to jumping in puddles. We get a glimpse of the unfamiliar as well as the familiar, broadening our horizons and our minds.
What makes this stand out? The lyrical text is as soothing as a lullaby and the collage-style illustrations are stunning. It's wonderfully diverse and inclusive, featuring children in wheelchairs as well from all over the globe.
About those illustrations...
They're extremely interesting with a gentle, child-like quality. Radiating warmth and affection, the handmade appearance of the images will inspire children to create their own art. I love how cute and happy all the characters are, and the mural at the end is gorgeous. This shows a community creating something together which can be enjoyed by all, reinforcing the sense of unity and harmony that flows through the book.
Why we love it...
In addition to being beautiful to look at and beautiful to read aloud, this encourages empathy and promotes equality. Narrated from a child's perspective, its simple language and repetition appeals to little readers. Although best suited to age five and under, my six-year-old enjoys this as much as her almost-four-year-old sibling.
Why you need it...
Are Your Stars Like My Stars is a fabulous addition to any bookshelf. This would make an excellent gift for a new baby, and a fantastic classroom resource too.
About the author:
Leslie Helakoski is the author of Hoot & Honk Can't Sleep and Big Chickens (the Michigan Reads Picture Book for 2007, Great Lakes Great Books Award, and a GLBA finalist). Woolbur was a Book Sense pick for 2008, Florida Reading Assoc. Honour Book, and nominated for nine state book awards in the US. Learn more about Leslie's work on helakoskibooks.com
About the illustrator:
Heidi Woodward Sheffield was a recipient of the 2017 SCBWI LA Mentorship Award and the SCBWI NY Portfolio Award (Honourable Mention), along with numerous other SCBWI awards. Heidi recently won the Ezra Jack Keats Illustrator Award for Brick by Brick which she wrote as well as illustrated. Learn more about Heidi's work on heidibooks.com
Are Your Stars Like My Stars? was published by Sterling Books in July 2020 - view this book on the publisher's website