Please welcome my guest author today, illustrator Suzanne Kaufman, who talks about her inspiration for All Are Welcome in response to President Trump’s travel ban. She wanted to do something positive, so she offered her skills as an illustrator to create a poster and the book was born of this effort.
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
This rhyming picture book gives children assurance that everyone is welcomed with open arms. This is a school where kids with patkas, hijabs, yarmulkes, and baseball caps play side by side. From eating food from around the world to celebrating Lunar New Year, this gentle picture book celebrates diversity in all the wonderful ways it is expressed. What is especially nice is that the poster that inspired this book is on the back of the book jacket! [picture book, ages 2 and up]
We are giving away a copy of All Are Welcome. Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.
The Story Behind ALL ARE WELCOME !
A year ago, in December after the announcement of soon-to-be President Trump’s planned travel ban, I felt deep sadness and completely helpless. My daughters’ school Kimball Elementary is comprised predominately of immigrant families from all over the world, from many different religious backgrounds. I wanted the kids in my community and all children to know they were safe and welcome at their school the next morning. Then I remembered a quote by Nina Simone.
You can’t help it. An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.
I felt instantly compelled to do something, with the one thing I could freely give, my art. So, I stayed up all night and made a poster to welcome all the kids to the school the next morning.
This still did not feel enough, so I posted it on social media to print for classrooms. I hoped it could help other teachers and schools support their students. Since posting, it has been printed by educators nationwide to let their families know they are safe and welcome in their schools.
My husband and I are fortunate to be raising our daughters in Beacon Hill, a multicultural neighborhood, nestled above downtown Seattle. It is among one of the most diverse zip codes in the U.S. Almost half of the residents are foreign-born and roughly 60 percent speak a language other than English at home. It’s not uncommon to see girls in our school wearing hijabs. It’s also not uncommon for the whole school to gather to learn a Vietnamese dance or celebrate the start of the Lunar New Year with a Lion Dance blessing. Our school’s PTA meetings have the feel of a mini-United Nations and diversity and community are not just protected, but celebrated.
Around the same time, I published my art, the author, Alexandra Penfold received a letter (as did all the other NYC school parents) about how the schools would protect students right to receive an education and not turn over any immigration information. There are 25 different languages and dialects spoken in her son’s school and 80% of children speak a language other than English at home. It was a shot to the heart for her to say the least.
That night before she went to sleep she saw someone had shared my poster on social media. It was one of the last things she peeked at before going to bed. She also felt the strong urge to put something out there that’s reassuring to these same kids and woke up in the middle of the night with an idea for a story to go with the poster.
ALL ARE WELCOME Picture Book Giveaway!
We are giving away a copy of All Are Welcome. Please fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter. We can only mail to U.S. addresses.
Suzanne Kaufman lives in Seattle with her husband Jonathan and two monkeys, Eleanor and Katie, who sometimes pretend to be girls. Born in the Midwest, Suzanne grew up on healthy doses of Saturday morning cartoons and macaroni and cheese.
She has been monkeying around with children’s books, animation and cartoons since she was little (that’s her in the picture back in the 1970s!). Her style is inspired by midcentury design and 1950s-era cartoons. Over the years, she’s done everything from animating special effects for Universal and Discovery, to animating award-winning video games. One of those games—Sly Cooper—won the Children’s Title of the Year award. She currently a senior lecturer for film and video game animation.
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.
42 thoughts on “The Story Behind ALL ARE WELCOME and a GIVEAWAY!”
All are welcome–that is what makes America great!!!!!!
Yaas!! Thanks Maria!
Where can I buy a poster of the big pic of the end of that book?
It’s actually the inside of the book jacket so it comes with a hard copy version of the book.
Thanks for responding. I have the book and the poster inside. I’m looking for a bigger size of that poster for my classroom. Would be great for kids and their families especially when we have family events.
Such an inspiring post! Thank you for creating the poster & illustrating the book! Can’t wait to read it!
I am grateful to Suzanne Kaufman too! Thanks Suzanne!
Oh I have a way to many. I really love Why am I me?
Thanks so much for your great book recommendation Jen!
I love Skin Again by bell hooks. It teaches children to celebrate and honor differences.
That sounds like a really great picture book Jennifer! Thanks for entering!
What an inspiring post! I want to read this book. Love the illustrations!
Thanks Pat! I’ll introduce you to the illustrator and I’m sure she will want you to review her book!
This book looks wonderful for the Family Conversation Kits myself and a team are developing to help families begin or continue conversations about diversity and equity. I have so many favorites, but I have really enjoyed using the Alike and Different series from Cloverleaf Books with my students and my own children. Especially My Language, Your Language because it includes a Hmong-speaking family (so rarely found in books like that).
I’m looking for Hmong characters in books for another list of mine, so thank you for your book rec! I’ll add it, crediting you, of course!
Are you looking for only stories? Or are informational books also fair game? I know of a few other books that include or center Hmong people. How about Hmong bilingual books?
I also have another LGBTQ title that you can add to your list. I just connected with the author this week because I liked it so much and he mentioned wanting to get the word out. I thought of you. Let me know if you’d like me to connect with you on those and if so, the best way to reach you. 🙂
Thanks so much for your suggestions Becky! I appreciate you adding them to the comments!
Definitely want to see this one in my collection — I know our teachers and our students will love it!
The message is spot on! I wish every classroom could have a copy!
This book would make an awesome addition to our classroom library. My students would love this & I would enjoy sharing it with other teachers.
Thanks so much for entering Tracy!
I’m miles and miles away from my bookshelves, but I thought of “The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag” right away.
What a beautiful book – in so many ways. Thanks for sharing this with the world.
Hi Deckled Edges,
Suzanne’s story was just so moving. I really appreciated her sincere efforts to make the world a little more welcoming for the sake of the children.
I love the diversity of my schools and I can’t wait to share this book with both my coworkers and students!
Thanks for entering Amber!
i am going to recommend this to all my 10 other library colleagues in my district! Can we order the poster too?
The poster is the inside of the book jacket.
I love the bird alphabet book. So many kinds of birds.
Thanks for entering Leela!
My daughter and I read Last Stop On Market Street and loved it.
Thanks for entering Antoinette.
Thanks for sharing this giveaway. I would have to say my favorite books are Charlotte and the Quiet Place and How to Put Your Parents to Bed.
Thanks for your great book recommendations Jacquelyn. I’ll be on the lookout for them!
Love seeing so much diversity!!! Can you list the different ethnicities and religions that are represented in the illustrations? Ty!
I hope that illustrator Suzanne Kaufman will see your comment and respond. I will email her to let her know your request.
As the mother and Godmother of multicultural children and as the teacher of children who have been made to feel unwelcome by the current public policies, I applaud this gentle and kind book. I wish it had been published when mine were younger and facing the foolishness of narrow minded parents,teachers and schoolmates. While the targeted group is the early years, this book like The Giving Tree will be appreciated by older children even Middle and High School students as it a great starting point for discussing diversity. Kudos!
I recently acquired the book, “All Are Welcome”. I teach kindergarten in a multi-cultural neighborhood. A school home language survey from one year ago lists 28 different languages represented in our school! I plan on reading the book during the first week of school. I am interested in the languages printed on the speaking bubbles at the end of the book. Is it possible for you to send me what language each student is speaking when they say “WELCOME”?
A great way to start a new school year! I read “All Are Welcome” to grades K-5 in the library this first week of school. Though most were born in the USA, students were eager to share what country their families originated from. Thank you Alexandra and Suzanne for sharing your talents in such a meaning way.
Navas / School Librarian
Oh, please correct in my last sentence meaning to meaningful. I don’t alway catch the auto correct or auto fills by computers. Many thanks.
Thank you for sharing this story. I am crazy about the book! Are there any plans to translate into Spanish? Thank you very much!
Not that I know of.