Author: Peggy Moss
Illustrator: Penny Weber
Interest Level: Ages 5-10
About This Book: Roberta James is new to Baker School. "I think you are going to love it here," the principal says. Roberta agrees as she notices the brightly painted walls, a library full of books, and a fabulous looking playground. But the school starts to feel anything but welcoming as she encounters the many different cliques of Baker School, each with it's own set of rules. There are the pony tail girls, the Monkey Bar Gang, the flowered-lunchbox kids, and the cowboy boot wearing "we only eat pita roll-ups" group. Roberta is shuffled from group to group realizing fitting in isn't as easy as the principal promised. Sitting alone in the cafeteria she meets a group that is a mixture of many things. The kids like different sports, foods, and hobbies. They let Roberta know "You're one of Us" just by being yourself. The illustrations are bold and colorful.
Why It's On My Bookshelf: I've been watching the new MTV reality series If You Really Knew Me. It's a series focusing on different cliques in different high schools and how they hurt and affect the students. As an elementary school counselor, this is a harsh reality I deal with even in the younger grades. Watching the series reminds me of the importance of reading books that encourage kids to accept one another and not hurt others based on what we wear, look like, or who we hang with. One of Us is a new story by author Peggy Moss and it's a beautiful example of how diversity should bring us together and not pull us apart. From my own professional experience I observe many students identifying themselves with a particular group. And sadly, sometimes these groups can become mean cliques and not very inclusive - they become hurtful and reject others. I see it across all of the grades (K-5) I work with. One of Us is a smart example of how to teach kids to be accepting of everyone and to cross boundaries. I already know this story is going to be a hit. Kids have huge hearts and want to be guided and encouraged to do the right thing. The possibilities of how to use this book with students are endless. It is going to be a solid resource in my school counseling curriculum for friendship, acceptance, diversity, bullying, and most importantly "Be Yourself." I cannot wait to start reading it this fall and I will be posting a part 2 review sharing the reaction and impact it had on students. As a school community, One of Us is going to be a helpful story to help students feel like one big group.
The publisher offers suggested activites to use with One of Us. Good Stuff!
A Link to This Book and Others You Might Find Helpful: