All Are Welcome

Reviewed By  Janet Mawdesley       February 16, 2019


Author  Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman.

Distributor:      Bloomsbury Childrens Books
ISBN:                 9781526604064
Publisher:         Bloomsbury Childrens Books
Release Date:   February 2019  


In todays multicultural world, traditional rules are changing bringing with it a rich diversity in schools and communities.  All Are Welcome couches perfectly the vital message that regardless of who you are or where you come from, You are welcome here.

All Are Welcome was born out of Suzanne Kaufman’s daughters’ elementary school in Kimball, Seattle, USA where the multicultural community is protected and celebrated as the basis for diversity, acceptance and celebration of diversity.

A poster created by Kaufman to welcome new students into the Kimball school community was seen by Alexandra Penfold, reminding her of the schools in her community of Brooklyn. Each of the characters created for the poster remained with Penfold.

Late one night she sat and wrote this bright, cheerful and celebratory story about the many different cultures and aspects that make up make up our world; make up so many school communities. At lunchtimes ‘what a spread, A dozen different kinds of bread’. The rhyming text is the perfect medium to present talking points such as correlation of diversity and strength and the learning that can be discovered from all the ‘special talents we’ll discover’.

Each of the illustration’s present children of all shapes, sizes and cultures, wearing everything from a baseball cap to a hijab, glasses or in wheelchairs, caring, sharing, learning and understanding that there really is ‘a big world to discover’ in your own neighbourhood.

As the new school year begins, or returns from the Christmas winter break, All Are Welcome is, or should be, a must read, classroom discussion topic and vehicle for understanding for all elementary and primary school aged children.

Sensitively presented the text and illustrations highlight the issue that diversity is reality and people, regardless of their culture, have so very much to share, offer and enjoy to create a strength which forms the basis for true celebration and understanding of cultural diversity.