Written & Illustrated by: Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
Published in 2011
Genre: Picture Book, Realistic Fiction
Grade Level: PreK-2
Summary: Same, Same, But Different is a story about two pen pals from America and India. Elliot and Kailash draw pictures of their homes and lives to send to each other. Throughout their correspondence, they discover that while some parts of their lives are very different, other parts are exactly the same.
I really enjoyed this book. The illustrations were beautiful and really showed the similarities and differences between Elliot and Kailash’s lives. My favorite pages were the ones that had Elliot on one side and Kailash on the other, as it made it easier to spot the differences and similarities. I also really liked how the story was told through the pictures that each boy sent to the other.
This is a great book to spark discussion about the differences and similarities between countries and cultures. Despite the fact that we are all different, there are underlying themes that tie us together as humans. Discussion could focus on how our differences make us special, or it could focus on the value of each human being despite our differences. There are a lot of directions this discussion could take.
The only thing that somewhat annoyed me was the repetition of the phrase “same, same, but different.” It felt awkward and pointless to me, until I read the author’s bio. Apparently this phrase is used in India to compare cultures. Knowing that made a big difference in how I read the book, so it would have been nice if that information had been presented at the beginning of the book. If I were to use this book in my classroom I would want to make sure to explain that to the students before beginning the read aloud.
Final Thoughts: This is a fantastic book to prompt discussion about the value of humans and our differences. The story itself is great, and the illustrations really help to drive the point home.
I give Same, Same, But Different five stars!
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Basically, in this story two boys are sending letters and pictures to each other like a pen pal. The boys have many things in common, but they are different at the same time. My culture is kinda like that because my mother is from South Korea, but I was born in the United States. My Korean family have the same culture, but at the same time we are different because I was born in the United States. There is an important lesson to be learned, and that is even though you are far away from each other you can still be best friends. I like this book because of the connection I have with it.
I think the pictures were good. They looked like a little kid drew them, which is a good thing. Obviously the pictures helped tell the story and they show the main purpose of the story. I think younger kids would connect to this book as I did. If they did read this book they might be inspired to do the same thing the little boy did, send a letter or a picture to someone across the world and talk to them. It would be a great experience talking to someone with a different culture. You can learn something new. I think kids of all ages would like this book.
This book deserves five stars because it is an inspiring book.