There’s Only One You (Kathryn Heling & Deborah Hembrook)

Hello, friends! Our book today is There’s Only One You, written by Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook, and illustrated by Rosie Butcher, a lovely celebration of diversity.

As a young red-headed girl gets dressed, the unseen narrator opens with a universal truth: you are unique! There is only one of you in the whole universe. The girl heads to school, spends time playing with her friends, and enjoys a class field trip to the zoo, as the text reflects on all the wonderful ways we can be different: hair color and style, skintone, personality, how we handle emotions, interests, talents, and much more. Each page applauds these differences, and points out that different people make stronger groups: each member thinks their own way and has a fresh perspective. At last the narrator points out that families can be different too, as the red-haired girl’s two moms pick her up from school, along with a group of equally diverse families picking up their own littles ones. The families enjoy some evening fireworks together as the narrator concludes that being unique is simply the best way to be – it’s one more thing we all share.

Delightful yet poignant. There can never be too many children’s books that encourage little ones to embrace their differences and unique qualities; what sets this book apart is the sheer breadth of diversity covered in both the text and artwork. Children and adults are in a multitude of skintones; multiple vision- and hearing-impaired children feature, as well as children with physical impairments. Boys are shown dealing with emotions, girls are shown displaying courage and interest in science. Freckles and tattoos (on adults) are highlighted, and a diversity of family types (single-parent, multi-generational, LGBTQ, etc.) are shown. In fact, the only area of diversity seemingly unexplored is faith (a Hindu mother is shown, but her faith is not discussed), and it’s kind of a shame; I would have loved to see this area covered as well, especially by a book that hits so many right notes in the other areas. Still, the message is phenomenal, the length perfect, and JJ and I both loved it. A great way to celebrate diversity, and Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)