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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
We’re all different, from our skin color to our hair, from the color of our eyes to how tall, skinny, or plump we are. Each difference makes us unique, special. But the differences don’t define us. These differences don’t make us different. We’re all the same inside. Emily has a new neighbor; his name is Max. Emily’s skin is light brown because her mother has dark skin and her father has white skin. Max’s skin is very dark and he has really curly hair, which Emily admires. At school, she introduces Max to her friends, but the first recess is a challenge when Jason, with his white skin and straight hair, and his cronies decide that color makes Max and Emily different and they can’t join in the soccer game. It takes a hero to settle this difficult issue on differences so in pops the masked Warrior of Good Values to set things straight.
Christopher Gordon’s picture book story, Friendship Has No Color, has a positive, valuable lesson on morals and acceptance. The two main characters, Emily and Max, are introduced at the beginning and they lead the plot through the challenge of differences and how some children (adults, too) can pinpoint inconsequential differences and make them into a big deal, an issue all too common in today’s society. Racism is a complex issue, but it doesn’t have to be. In this story, the children are all visually different and some of their differences are categorized, but only to make it clear that differences do exist, but only visually. As Jason, the antagonist, learns and admits, “We are all the same, no matter how we look on the outside!” The colorful illustrations help lead the story along. And the author has provided a couple of worksheets at the end to help young readers understand racism and how we can look different without being different. A powerful message we all need to understand.