One of Us

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
Finding a place for yourself in a new school can be challenging, especially when you are two weeks late. However, Roberta James finds that lots of people in Baker School are willing to see her as "one of us." She is first welcomed to a group of girls whose hair styles are similar to her own straight-up pony tail. But she discovers none of this trio likes the monkey bars like Roberta and several others do—that group in turn is different from the cowboy-boot-wearing gang who eat pita rolls. So it goes, until Roberta, like others in her new school learns that the best person to be is someone who is happy with her own individual style—not just like anyone else. Weber's illustrations capture the feel of preadolescent classrooms where the issue of being oneself and not just "one of us" is likely to be strongest. Like other offerings from Tilbury House, this picture book could be a useful way to launch a discussion on classroom dynamics and cliques in a way that does not point fingers. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—When Roberta James arrives at Baker School, it's only natural for her to seek out other students with common interests. The only problem is that when she joins various groups of students who, say, wear their hair a particular way or play specific games on the playground, she finds that they tend to exclude anyone who isn't exactly like them. Roberta feels discouraged—it seems there are no groups who value individuality—until she is hailed by a table of kids eating pita roll-ups, and they proclaim their diverse interests with pride and acceptance. When Roberta itemizes some of her interests, expecting to be ousted yet again for not being the same, her newfound friends claim she is "perfect" because she is different from everyone else. This is a simple but powerful story about diversity, friendships, acceptance of others despite apparent differences, and the importance of being oneself. The bright, detailed illustrations, many of which abundantly fill two pages, include children whose facial expressions clearly reflect their distain or approval of others.—Maggie Chase, Boise State University, ID
Kirkus Reviews
Roberta is new in school. The principal greets her, saying she is going to fit right in. Upon arriving in her new classroom, she joins the group of girls with snappy hairstyles when Carmen says, "Sit here. You are one of us." But things seem to go downhill when the girls with the cool hair inform her that they do not play on the playground, so she now finds allegiance with the kids on the monkey bars. And so it goes, as Roberta negotiates the different groups of her new school till she finds the kids who defy easy categorization and realizes that she fits in just fine. Appropriately for a feel-good book aimed at use in the classroom and as bibliotherapy, Weber's sunny illustrations show a dazzling array of children-all different hues, physical abilities and even, if you look closely, a girl with a headscarf. Made strictly for teaching, this is not a book that a child will pull off the shelf, but the story of a new student finding her place will lead to fine classroom discussions. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780884483229
  • Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/28/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 526,335
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 17, 2010

    great starting point for important conversation about peer pressure

    Do you know what "peer pressure" means? Roberta James is late for school. Two weeks late. Her family had just moved into the community. On her first day, she had put her hair up. When she walks into the classroom, Carmen of the straight-up-hair-girls says, "You're one of us," and invites her to sit with them. However, when they have recess, Robert heads to the monkey bars. Carmen says that her group doesn't go on the playground. So Jasmine invites her to join the monkey bar gang. But at lunch, she has a daisy lunchbox and all of them have monkey lunchboxes, so they point out where the flowered lunch box kids sit. Yet, none of them eat pitas like the one that Roberta has, so she has to go where the pita-eating kids are. However, they all wear cowboy boots, and she wears running shoes.
    Will Roberta ever find a group of students with whom she can associate? And will the other children learn that they don't always have to be alike in every way? One of the big complaints that I've heard of late from parents with children in traditional schools is the development of cliques and the tremendous pressure for kids to conform to some arbitrary standard in order to be accepted. This simple but meaningful text by author Peggy Moss, whose award-winning children's books include Say Something and Our Friendship Rules, and the colorful, lively illustrations by Penny Weber, combine to remind youngsters that everyone's different and that true friends will respect their differences. It would make a great starting point for an important conversation between children and their parents and/or teachers. The Tilbury House website contains discussion points, activities, literature links, and further educational resources for using this book.

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  • Posted September 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I wish there were kids at my school who liked what I like!

    "You are one of us," Carmen tells Roberta on her first day at a new school. Roberta gladly sits with the rest of the straight-up-hair girls - until she hears they don't play on the monkey bars.

    Roberta loves the monkey bars and leaps at the chance to swing with the monkey-bar posse, until she hears they don't carry flowered lunchboxes like she does.

    Roberta moves from group to group, just trying to be herself, until it seems she doesn't fit in anywhere. Then Roberta discovers some kids just like her - everyone's different and they like it that way. (Excerpt from the inside flap).

    I received the book, One of Us by Peggy Moss, compliments of Tilbury House Publishers for my honest review, and must say what a great way to teach children that fitting in at school doesn't always have to mean changing things about you. This book was perfect for my own 11 year old that is struggling all the time to fit it, based on what kids wear or who they listen to, what games they have, or even who their other friends are.

    What I enjoyed the most, is that the moral story of this book, is that you can be yourself and show kids what you are all about instead of trying so hard to change to make yourself like them that you lose yourself in the process. I would highly recommend this book to anyone with kids, or even perfect gift for grandparents, youth groups at church and storytime at day cares! This book rates a perfect 5 out of 5 stars.

    The illustrations are beautiful and I would recommend this book to kids as early as 6 just entering school. Hardcover and 32 pages makes this a perfect story time favorite!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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