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What If Your Best Friend Were Blue? Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Length: 24 pages Matchbook Price: $0.99 What's this?
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Age Level: 3 - 5
Grade Level: Pre K - Kindergarten

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Editorial Reviews

Review

We live in a world of infinite variety: people of all colors, creeds, political affiliations, ethnic backgrounds, and educational experiences. A smart and sensitive little boy imagines that all the people around him are a different color. Would that change things in any significant way?

The boy surmises even if his best friend were blue he would still play soccer with him. Even if his doctor were yellow, he would still try to help the little boy if he was sick. Even if she were orange, the babysitter would still try to think up games for them to play. Externals like appearance do not matter as much as what lies inside each person. Or as the little boy puts it: People "like you just because you're you."

Writer Vera Kochan and illustrator Viviana Garofoli have put together a simple but elegant children's book affirming the special qualities and talents of individuals and a celebration of the diversity of humankind. Children from 4 years and up will enjoy and appreciate this book. --Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

Ages 4-7 A boy wonders what the world would be like if people were different colors. His best friend might be blue, but he would still play soccer. If the boy were lost, a green policewoman would help him find his parents. A yellow doctor, a purple fireman, and a red teacher would continue to do their jobs despite their color. His orange babysitter would be just as much fun as ever. He concludes that these people don t care what color you are, either....They like you just because you re YOU! Full-color acrylic illustrations are done in a cartoon style, and the simple text makes the lesson on tolerance accessible to youngsters. This book could be used as an introduction to Emily Jenkins s The Little Bit Scary People (Hyperion, 2008), which would deepen a discussion of tolerance and identity. --Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN, School Library Journal

About the Author

Author Vera Kochan lives in Moraga, California.

Illustrator Viviana Garofoli lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her Illustrated books include My Big Rig and Firefighters!


Product Details

  • File Size: 2375 KB
  • Print Length: 24 pages
  • Publisher: Two Lions (January 5, 2012)
  • Publication Date: January 5, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006TMKE3Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,106 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Vera Kochan earned a BA in Theatre Arts at UCLA. After many years in the accounting department of a major independent film producer, she returned to college and received her preschool teaching credentials. Watching her students learn and play with one another despite race or religion was the inspiration for her book. Vera lives with her family in sunny California.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a nice book, albeit very short. I mean nice probably in the printed form, because in Kindle it is a disaster. There was no attention to the move to the kindle format, so the illustrations and the text just fall randomly wherever they want. Not nice when you are reading to a five year book.
This would be very easy to fix: just a big illustration for each page, with the eventual text below. Obvious, isn't it ?

When we compare this poorly executed disaster with the beautiful iBook works available for children, it doesn't stand a chance.

UPDATE Dec 2012

After this review, a representative from the publisher called me to say the book had been fixed. It was good customer service. She didn't ask for an update in the review, but I think the book deserves more stars, because it now works fine.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I really wanted to like What If Your Best Friend Were Blue? by Vera Kochan. My wife and I talk with our children a lot about racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity, and we had hoped that this book might lead to some more in-depth conversations about different colors of skin. However, this book is aimed at a much lower level of discourse than what we had anticipated. The author tries to teach colors by presenting people in a rainbow of hues: a blue best friend, a green policewoman, a yellow doctor, a purple fireman, a red teacher, and an orange babysitter. The little boy who is the main character of the book is white; there are no brown people anywhere. For a story that ostensibly is trying to teach a lesson about the beauty of diversity, I think the range of brown skin tones are a glaring omission.

My daughters love the simple prose and bright illustrations by Viviana Garofoli, but I cannot recommend this book. It takes a complex and important topic and turns it into something unrealistic and unhelpful. People are not blue or purple or red or yellow. And the book begins with a premise that the children reading the book will automatically be suspicious of someone with a different skin tone. I find that problematic because children only pick up that attitude when they observe it in adults.

So, if you are looking to provide your children with a book to discuss different skin tones, What If Your Best Friend Were Blue? is really not the best place to start. Look for books that illustrate people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds (such as Whoever You Are by Mem Fox) and take your children to places where they can interact with different kinds of people. Most importantly, have conversations about diversity so that children learn it's okay to notice differences-- and the differences aren't as important as the similarities. This book tries to convey that message, but it's not done in a way that adds depth or authenticity to the conversation.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Most kids now a days don't seem to see others as colors. It's a fact. My daughter is Korean, Scottish and Italian. I am adopted and I come from a very diverse family, my husband doesn't. It doesn't matter where you live, it's still good to teach your kids that you treat others with respect. It's not just even about color in my opinion. I loved this book. I thought it was cute and still fun to read to my 3 month old.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"What if your [insert person] were [insert a color that isn't a natural skin color]?" That wouldn't change the person they are underneath.

That's the message of this book as babysitters are orange, teachers are red (actually, more pink than red), firefighters are purple, best friends are blue, doctors are yellow and policewomen are green. No mater what color they are, they can still be helpful and friendly. For our family, which includes multiple skin colors through adoption, it's a story that my kids live out already but is nice to have reaffirmed in book form.

My only issue was that it felt stilted because something about the flow made it seem to me like it should rhyme. I'm perfectly fine with children's book that don't rhyme, but I kept being thrown off by the cadence of this because the rhymes never came as expected. It still works, and the kids didn't mind, so this could just be a quirk of mine!
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This story teaches children that regardless of what people look like, it doesn't change who they are. For example: What if a policewoman were green? Even if a policewoman were green, she'd still help a lost child find their parents. What if your teacher were red? She'd still teach children new things everyday. I really like the moral of this story and the illustrations are so cute and are drawn with really great bold colors. I do wish this story was a little bit longer, so minus one star for being a rather short book. That being said, this is a really great story for children ages 2-5.
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Format: Hardcover
WHAT IF YOUR BEST FRIEND WERE BLUE? A delightful picture book that "teaches colors while showing that it's what's on the inside that matters." It's a great reading choice for the classroom. Teachers can follow up with coloring projects where students compose their own "What if" projects (What if my brother were pink; What if my mom were silver?). The book also makes a lovely bedtime story and opens light opportunities for parents to discuss tolerance.

Whether at home or in the classroom, the fantastical charm of the cast of characters (including the green policewoman!) will have kids begging for another read of WHAT IF YOUR BEST FRIEND WERE BLUE?
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