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Whoever You Are


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About the Author

MEM FOX is the author of many acclaimed books, including Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, Possum Magic, Koala Lou, Time for Bed, and, for adults, Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever. She lives in Adelaide, Australia. Leslie Staub's paintings have been exhibited in galleries throughout the United States. In addition to picture books, she illustrated Lives: Poems About Famous Americans. She lives just north of New Orleans, Louisiana.


K-Gr 3‘Fox has composed a simple refrain to celebrate human connections in this lovely picture book. "Little one, whoever you are," she explains, there are children all over the world who may look different, live in different homes and different climates, go to different schools, and speak in different tongues but all children love, smile, laugh, and cry. Their joys, pain, and blood are the same, "whoever they are, wherever they are, all over the world." Staub's oil paintings complement the simple text. She uses bright matte colors for the landscapes and portraits, placing them in gold borders, set with jewels and molded from plaster and wood. These frames enclose the single- and double-page images and echo the rhythm of the written phrases. Within the covers of the book, the artist has created an art gallery that represents in color, shape, and texture, the full range of human experience.‘Barbara Kiefer, Teachers College, Columbia University, NY

With a gentle and knowing calm, Fox (Time for Bed) provides a compelling exploration of the differences between children that make them unique as well as the common humanity that unites them. In Fox's picture book, divisions of culture, race and geography fall away in light of a global community where smiles, laughter and tears are universally understood. The simple, rhythmic text, written in the second person, is designed to involve the reader directly: "Their lives may be different from yours,/ and their words may be very different from yours./ But inside, their hearts are just like yours." Staub, a fine artist making her picture-book debut, renders multicultural subjects with broad, flat, friendly faces. Each stylized portrait of people from various countries at play, work or school is bordered by a hand-carved frame decorated with metallic paint and plastic jewels that may give readers the feeling of viewing postcards or pages in an album. Children get a taste of the pace of life in other places, with Asian children carrying produce to market or children in India studying in an outdoor classroom. Readers will also enjoy spotting an angel-cowboy figure, bedecked in a cloud-covered suit and hat, who accompanies children on each page of this poignant world tour. Ages 3-8. (Oct.)

An essential book that acknowledges in the simplest of terms our common humanity.--Kirkus Reviews

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