It's OK to be Different

Children - Grade K-3rd
30 Pages
Reviewed on 08/28/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Sharon Purtill was a stay at home Mom and entrepreneur when she stumbled into publishing in 1998. That year, along with her husband, she wrote and published her first book. That book’s success took them both by surprise when it went on to sell tens of thousands of copies right out of their garage. Today, Sharon is an award winning author who publishes in multiple genres under a couple of different pseudonyms. Her passion for writing, family and a positive life motivates her to create books that she hopes will enrich the lives of others. She hopes to one day escape the cold, and write from a tropical beach somewhere where her biggest concerns will be sand sticking to her suntan lotion and an empty margarita glass. But, for now, Sharon treasures the warm summer months and the time she gets to spend with family and friends in Ontario, Canada.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Louanne Piccolo for Readers' Favorite

It’s OK to Be Different, written by Sharon Purtill and illustrated by Sujata Saha, is a children’s picture book celebrating children who have the courage to be themselves, and to accept others as they are. When children learn that diversity is positive, it becomes natural for them to embrace differences instead of shunning them, to turn towards others instead of turning away. Different appearances, different activities, different physical traits, and personal preferences – it’s all part of living in a world as diverse as there are people in it. Embracing the differences between people equips children to deal with bullies, and helps them grow from compassionate youngsters into compassionate adults with empathy, respect, and kindness for others.

It’s OK to Be Different delighted me with its simple, but timely rhyming prose and beautiful illustrations. It sends a succinct message to children about the importance of accepting who they and others are, without preaching or lecturing. I particularly enjoyed the way in which Sharon Purtill flips the concept of being different onto the reader. By writing, “You should always be kind to those who are different from you. Because to them, YOU are different too,” she invites children to see that to others they may be perceived as strange themselves; a concept many children struggle with. It’s OK to Be Different draws readers in and compels them to follow the story right through to the end. Young readers with an eye for exceptional artwork and clever wordplay will enjoy it over and over again.

Jack Magnus

It's OK to be Different is an educational fable for children, grades k-3, written by Sharon Purtill and illustrated by Sujata Saha. Purtill’s heartwarming fable celebrates the diversity that is the human experience. The book starts out with the simple and wise observation that “we are all different,” and her story sets out all the ways kids can seem different than their peers. It could be height, weight, skin or hair color. Some kids are naturals for the STEM subjects while others are gifted artists or poets in the making. Some kids are differently abled and may need glasses or a hearing aid or a wheelchair. But while we may all seem different, we are all really just the same. Purtill wisely points out that if someone seems different to you, you probably seem different to them as well. We are all individuals and that is a grand thing.

It's OK to be Different shows kids that being different is really rather special and contributes to making us the individuals that we are. This book has such a positive and inspiring message for kids who feel different and who may see that difference as making them not as good or likable as their peers. For some kids, it may be that their growth is slower than the rest of their classmates, or they’ve just been fitted with a pair of glasses. Purtill’s admonishment that differently abled kids should never be made fun of is an especially important take-away from the tale. Sujata Saha’s ingenious illustrations celebrate that diversity in a series of relevant and fun full-colored pictures. They work so well at conveying the message of the book. It's OK to be Different is most highly recommended.

Trisha Dawn

It’s OK to be Different presents individuality. It shows the differences between children which could be anything physical or otherwise. This story is written by Sharon Purtill and illustrated by Sujata Saha. Everything about it is inspiring – the words and the illustrations. Sharon Purtill has a way with words. While I read the rhymes, I was pulled in and felt something. It was a really good kind of something – somewhat a mix of love, hope and inspiration. Not a lot of books can do that to readers nowadays. It just goes to show that the author succeeded in her aim to start change and help this world become a much better place.

There’s actually no better way to start change than with a younger audience. Who we become as adults start with the influence we were exposed to during childhood. Since children are the future, it is best to encourage them with all things positive so that they may carry this positivity with them until they enter the harsh world of adulthood. This story has effectively imparted an ever important lesson that individuality should be celebrated and not shunned. It has successfully put the message out there that kindness is a must because we are different from each other – what is normal to us might not be to others and that means we have different realities. We should respect that because we also want to be respected. Imagine if all children read this story and learned this concept, then the world will be more harmonious in the future.

In terms of technicality, the rhymes are clever. This style of writing has always been used to catch and hold the fleeting attention of kids longer. However, not all rhymes are fruitful that way. There are a lot of things to be considered and one has to be careful to construct something fun but with sense. The author really knew what she was doing though. How about the illustrations, you may ask? Oh, just beautiful. It’s perfect for the message for young readers. The illustrations by Sujata Saha added their own charm to the book. It’s OK to be Different is one of those books I will definitely read to my son someday. It is that amazing.