Beautifully Different: Dana Salim
Illustrated: Pavel Goldaev
The colors of the rainbow after a rainstorm are all different vibrant and have their own special meanings. It’s their differences that make each one of them stand out. Sometimes children become aware of the fact that many of their classmates are not the same as they are in skin color, hair color, eye color and appearance in general. A special young boy asked his father this question: Some of the kids in my class are different than me. WHY IS THAT!
That is a great questions and wait until you take the journey using your special imagination that we all have to learn the important answer to that question. The father asked him if he thought that being different is bad? Is making fun of other people right because of the way they look? Is it wrong that some of us like to read so much and others enjoy different things? Why are people often mean to each other and are bullies and say bad things? The author does something that is quite unique asking the child to close his eyes and use his imagination to play the TIME TRAVEL game and hopefully he will find the meaning of different and the answers himself. So, close your eyes and empty your mind and let’s take a trip with Yousuf and now let’s begin. Pretend that you are with Yousuf riding on a boat and watching the water with Captain Baboon. An island is far away but you can only get to one. But, the captain cannot do it alone so you have to have! Wait until you find out how they get through and what happens when Yousuf claps his hands jumps up and hears two birds that are carrying a blanket with their beaks. But, why? Using the blanket you get it and find your way to see tons of green a large black gate with a golden key and you ask the birds to put you down along with Yousuf. Disappointed because when he gets down there is no more to see but something happens and he sees beyond the hills. You won’t believe what he sees when he walks imagine a land filled with different flowers, different colors and different species. Imagine how beautiful they are. Can you see them? You swing on the petals, and then you feel cold and it is getting dark. Weeds are there and their job is to scare the flowers. Sometimes its not just people that hate in this case it’s the weeds. What is he going to do because they flowers are vanishing and each one is different from the others. How will he be able to get them to come back and show them their strength? Wait until you learn the idea he had to bring back the flowers and make the world beautiful again and hopefully getting rid of the weeds and the hate. Did you do it? Was he successful? What does he sees when he looks out this time? With colorful illustrations that bring the differences of the flowers and the world alive the many colors, the special features of each are what make them unique and us too. Everyone is different. Everyone has their own special look, voice, appearance, color and skills. Open your eyes with Yousuf and see what he does, look at the flowers and what do you see? Are they beautiful? Are they the same? What would happen if everyone looked and sounded the same? What would happen if we could get rid of hate, bullies, meanness, intolerance and people that do not understand that each one of us is perfect in our own special way. The author brings out those issues and on the last page find out what is included in the section titled: Did you know? These are great talking points for children, older students and discussion groups and maybe we just might have the formula to make this world and its differences a better place to live in. The next time you look in the mirror or are standing next to your classmates with a huge mirror in front of you and your friends remember that you are looking at people that are BEAUTIFULLY DIFFERENT.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine