With the barrage of heart-wrenching newscasts these past few months, I think many of us may want to curl up in a ball and try to tune it all out. But neither we, nor our children, can do so. So, what can we do? Today’s Perfect Picture Book may provide a few ideas.
Title: Come With Me
Written By: Holly M. McGhee
Illustrated By: Pascal Lemaître
Publisher/Date: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group/2017
Suitable for Ages: 5-8
Themes/Topics: kindness, overcoming fear, making a difference, diversity
All over the world, the news told and told and retold of anger and hatred—People against people.
And the little girl was frightened by everything she heard and saw and felt.
Brief Synopsis: After watching the news on television, a young girl asks her parents what she, a young girl, can do to overcome the hatred and anger evident in the world.
Links to Resources:
- Think about a few everyday activities you can do to show you care about others. Perhaps it’s including a person from another background or with another skin color in your group, perhaps it’s saying hello to someone who looks or speaks differently than you, or perhaps it’s just a smile on your face for everyone you meet;
- Describe in words or pictures a time you felt afraid. Why did you feel afraid? What did you do to stop feeling afraid?
- Describe in words or pictures a time you reached out to someone who looked frightened, lonely, or sad. How did you feel after you did so?
- Watch the book trailer.
Why I Like this Book:
Written in the aftermath of the 9/11 and Brussels bombings, Come with Me features small, everyday actions that even children can undertake to overcome their own fears and spread kindness in the world. But while these twin aims certainly feature in the book, I think its message goes further: there are small, everyday actions we all can take to make the world better and more inclusive. Whether it’s thinking of others by wearing a mask in public, or wishing strangers a good day, we all can show kindness to others, especially those who may not look, speak, or act the same as we do.
Written from the point of view of a frightened child who doesn’t know what to do, I think Come with Me presents a unique opportunity for adults and even young children to discuss what children see on the television or what they overhear adults talking about, and how to overcome the fear or inaction that can grip any of us.
A Note about Craft:
Come with Me is a low-word count picture book that leaves lots of space for the illustrator to show the small and big ways the unnamed main character shows bravery in the face of fear, and is welcoming of others who differ from her. It’s unclear whether it was the illustrator’s choice to feature what seems to be a multiracial family or a neighbor who seems to be black, but in both cases, there’s nothing in the text that specifies these attributes.
This Perfect Picture Book entry is being added to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book list. Check out the other great picture books featured there!