Thank you to Partner Netgalley for sharing an e-book copy of this uplifting children's book, Who is My Neighbor? by Amy-Jill Levine and Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, illustrated by Denise Turu.
This is a touching story about the Blues and the Yellows, two groups who are homogenous and a bit xenophobic and prone to bias against the other group until the unlikely mixing of a Yellow (Lemon) and a Blue (Midnight Blue). Lemon and Midnight Blue discover that despite everything they have been told by their neighbors in their respective color groups, things are not what they appear.
When Midnight Blue gets hurt and gets help from Lemon (after being ignored by two members of his Blue group), he discovers that the Yellow world is one of kindness and compassion that is totally different from the way Yellows had been described to him by his Blue community. Lemon, who takes Midnight Blue to her doctor and shares her snack, discovers that Midnight Blue is also kind and gracious. After their encounter, Lemon and Midnight Blue become and remain friends. Seeing them together teaches the neighborhoods that their biases and stereotypes are all wrong, and the two communities change their ways to come together.
This is a sweet, hopeful story that very clearly parallels real life struggles that people have as they encounter others who are different from them (or avoid those others simply because of ignorance and fear). I read it with my four year old, who loved it because of the way that Lemon helped Midnight Blue and because of the way they all came together in the end. She quickly drew connections to skin color and languages, and she mentioned the prejudice that we've read about in other books and how wrong that is.
This is a great children's book with an important message about acceptance and compassion and not accepting that things have to be the way they have always been.
K. Ashley Dickson-Ellison is a former high school English teacher (who is now an instructional technology teacher) interested in exploring the integration of trending young adult literature into the English classroom experience. Ashley is also a member of the podcast Unabridged; check out the podcast site below.
Please note: All ideas and opinions are my own and do not represent my current or past employers.
© K. Ashley Dickson and Teaching the Apocalypse 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to K. Ashley Dickson and Teaching the Apocalypse with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All thoughts and ideas are the author's and do not represent any employer.