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Henry, a deaf field mouse, and his friend Boris, a spider with one lame leg, are teased by the other animals until a disaster causes them to realize they are not so different, after all.

(Synopsis and cover image from goodreads.com)

A couple of months ago my mom bought me a copy of Just Like You after she had bought and read her own copy. My mom and dad had been at a Costco near them and Robert Kroupa, the author, was doing book signings there. My mom loved the book so much that she bought me my own copy to read and review, as well as to see if there was a way I could work it into my curriculum. So for my NaBloPoMo Day 22 post, I am reviewing Just Like You by Robert Kroupa.

I have never reviewed a children’s book before, but this was a special request from my mom. Not only that, but the message that is found in Just Like You is one that every person should remember: we are all just alike.

In many ways I found Just Like You to be more of a book for adults than for children. As many people may know, or have seen for themselves, children tend to be very accepting of other people…they tend to be friends with any other child around them, they invite other children to play with them, they don’t always notice the differences between people like adults do. It’s not until the adults in their lives demonstrate through their actions and words that not everyone is equal that children begin to show those same prejudices. It is through Just Like You that we are reminded that no matter the differences, we really are all the same. We may look different from other people, we may do things in a different way…but when it really matters, we are just alike.  However, Just Like You is a great book to share with any child to remind them that of this very idea through the use of Henry the field mouse and Boris the spider.

It is when the characters, who previously had made fun of and excluded Henry and Boris, are in trouble that they all come together. Even though Robert Kroupa used forest animals, their actions were the same as ours would be. In the face of a tragedy, we come together as communities. We appreciate those around us more and we look past differences as we realize that we all love and suffer in the same ways; that we all have the same needs…to be loved and accepted. It is in this case that life must imitate art.

Just Like You is a really short read with a great message. Robert Kroupa did a wonderful job of creating a story that truly sends the message home, along with Hannah Harrison’s beautiful illustrations in the story. I believe that every child and adult will enjoy this book, and it is a must for every elementary teacher to have in their rooms. (Great holiday gift idea!)

It is important for us to remember that just because someone may look different, we really are all the same. That I really am Just Like You.

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