Not So Different
Not So Different By Cyana Riley, Illustrated by Anastasia Kanavaliuk (2020) – paperback



Recommended ages: 3 to 7

Not So Different is a book that encourages children to embrace their differences and celebrate diversity. The primary character is a biracial child (Black mom and white dad) who is intentionally left nameless and non-gendered throughout the book. With shoulder-length hair and neutral clothing, the author wanted as many children as possible to connect with this confident character. The character is depicted with a diverse group of friends that have different skin tones and hair textures. One wears glasses while another is wheelchair bound.

The primary character addresses the fact that these are all obvious differences of appearance. And, taken together, they are part of what defines diversity and makes the world a much more interesting place in which to live.

Let’s celebrate our differences
and spread our love around.
Deep inside of each of us,
so much love can be found.

The short and simple text makes Not So Different a great primer for children just starting to ask questions about diversity. There is room for parents and educators to elaborate on some of the concepts introduced in the story. Topics relating to being biracial, ways to practice kindness, and how to recognize and celebrate our differences are all important themes highlighted in this book.

Illustrator Anastasia Kanavaliuk uses a uniquely warm and cozy color palette in her gorgeous digital illustrations. The final image of the book was especially eye-catching, depicting the diverse group of kids lying on their backs in a circle, smiling and looking up.

Take-away message: Encourages kids to embrace their differences and celebrate diversity.

About the Author:
Cyana Riley was born and raised in Washington, D.C.. She graduated from George Washington University and spent the first six years of her career as a preschool teacher. It was during that time when she fell in love with writing and sharing children’s stories. Visit her on the web at notsodifferentbook.com.

TAGS: mixed race, family, nuclear family, diverse characters, indie publisher, paperback

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