Friday, January 29, 2010

Whoever You Are

Whoever You Are
by Mem Fox

For more information: (can be purchased through and any bookstores)

"Whoever You Are" is a book on peace and equality that lets children know that "whoever your are, wherever you are" people are just like you inside. It is a great book to read to teach young children diversity and acceptance. It represents a great range of cultures, ethnicities, and languages, yet it shows that we all have dreams, hopes, and needs. This is something children should be introduced to at a young age because they pick up prejudice and perceive the difference early. The more they are exposed to these types of texts, the more tolerant they will be as they grow up. I would use this book at the beginning of a school year, or in social studies to celebrate the diversity in my classroom. As an activity, the students can draw a self-portrait of themselves and write something about their appearance or culture. Their pictures and writings will be compiled into a class-book, and at the end, it will show that the core of students are alike.
"Whoever You Are" falls into the first domain of social justice education. The students will indirectly learn about their own culture, and clearly the book identifies self-love and acceptance. By celebrating the differences and realizing that human beings are the same inside, children will have respect for others and strengthen intercultural competence.
During my book club discussion, one of my members brought up a point that the illustrations may be stereotypes of race and cultures. The pictures show Mexicans riding on a donkey, Chinese wearing straw hats selling fruits, and Africans not wearing shirts. Although children may generalize from these pictures, I believe they don't carry derogatory implications nor do they depict certain groups as subservient or passive. The colorful illustrations and wonderful story line will catch the students' attention, and open their eyes up to diversity and acceptance.


  1. HeeYeon,
    I agree with you about the illustrations, they aren't derogatory or represent the individuals in a negative way.However,it would probably be a good idea to make it a point to the children that although they are traditional illustrations, it doesn't mean that everybody from the culture looks that way.

  2. Thanks for this post HeeYeon- I'm adding this book to the planbook!