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We Belong

We Belong
Laura Purdie Salas By (author)
Carlos Vélez Aguilera Illustrated by
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Lerner Publishing Group

Limited ***

10.0 X 10.0 in
32 pg

JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Friendship
JUVENILE FICTION / Concepts / Opposites
JUVENILE FICTION / Diversity & Multicultural


We all belong!

You and I, we're alike, / but we're different too. / That's not good. / That's not bad. / It's just what is true.

Explore and celebrate who you are and who others are too! Rhyming verse by Laura Purdie Salas invites others to notice the diversity of our world and affirm that we all belong, just as we are. Bright illustrations by Carlos Vélez Aquilera feature a diverse group of children, playing and learning in an urban setting.


"Jauntily rhyming text coupled with colorful, detailed digital illustrations outline the numerous types of people that inhabit the world.

Quiet and loud people 'both deserve our applause.' It doesn't really matter if someone is tall or short because 'we're only each as high / as a small grain of sand / next to mountains or sky.' Also noted and affirmed are differing personalities, body types, interests, persuasions, and emotions. A nature analogy is creatively used to explore skin color: 'We all wear our skin just like trees wear their bark, in infinite shades between light and dark.' Some people may be the color of Oak, Mahogany, or Chestnut wood, and so on. Regarding gender diversity, the text proclaims: 'There are boys. There are girls. / And even more choices. / Let's build a world where there is room for all voices.' The overarching message that all are equal and belong on this beautiful planet Earth is enhanced by the final observation that when we learn from each other, we grow. Aguilera's vibrant colored pencil and digital media illustrations depict a variety of racially diverse children making music, flying kites, playing together, and more in various parts of their city, the residents of which include women and girls wearing hijabs, a Jewish man sporting a yarmulke, people using wheelchairs, people with disabilities, and a girl with cancer (not discussed in the text, but cued in the artwork).

An upbeat, empowering celebration of human diversity."—Kirkus ReviewsJournal

"From its opening 'Welcome!' this buoyant picture book promotes a hopeful vision of unity and camaraderie. Salas's easy rhymes partner with Vélez Aguilera's vibrant digital and colored pencil art, urging acceptance—of people with varying personalities (introvert and extrovert), skin tones ('We all wear our skin just like trees wear their bark'), and gender identities as well as people from various locations ('Did you drive along highways? Trek across sand?'). Action-oriented city scenes overall emphasize inclusion—showing people of varying abilities, body types, and religions watching fireworks, playing basketball, flying kites, dancing, drawing, and more—but occasionally veer into stereotype (the sole tall Black figure is portrayed as good at basketball). Nuggets of practical wisdom appear throughout ('Sometimes we'd like to make sadness extinct,/ but teardrops and smiles are joined—they are linked'), supporting the book's open-armed embrace of planetary togetherness and diversity in the human experience."—Publishers WeeklyJournal

"Using swingy, upbeat verse, this picture book celebrates diversity and inclusion of all kinds. Whether you are loud or quiet, tall or short, happy or sad; no matter your disability, skin color, or sexuality; every person on Earth belongs here. Follow your heart and choose who you are. Learn from others, as they all have a lot to teach us. Be the one to welcome a newcomer. The text covers a wide range of topics, some of which may be a bit abstract for the intended audience, such as pointing out that our differences don't matter when mountains and the sky are so much bigger, or that feelings help us to connect with one another. Cheery colored pencil and digital media illustrations show children of many races and abilities interacting in an urban setting. The pictures are alive with texture, vibrant color, and companionable activity. Teachers and guidance counselors may find this a useful prompt for conversation about not just accepting differences, but embracing them. Jan Aldrich Solow, Elementary School Librarian, Retired, Kingston, New York Recommended" —School Library ConnectionJournal

Author Bio

Laura Purdie Salas is the author of more than 130 books for kids, including If You Were the Moon, Water Can Be . . ., and Bookspeak! Poems about Books. Poetry and rhyming nonfiction books are her favorite things to write. Laura loves to do author visits, writing workshops, and teacher inservices. Read more about Laura and her work at
Carlos Vélez Aguilera is a professional illustrator based in Mexico City, Mexico. He graduated from the National School of Plastic Arts and has illustrated more than twenty children's books including his graphic novel Salón Destino.