Title: Come with me
Author: Holly McGhee
Illustrator: Pascal Lemaître
Publisher: G. R. Putnam’s Sons. 2017
Themes: making a difference, hope, empathy, small acts of kindness
All over the world,
the news told
of anger and hatred–
People against people.
And the little girl was frightened
by everything she heard
When the news reports are flooded with tales of hatred and fear, a girl asks her papa what she can do to make the world a better place. “Come with me,” he says. Hand-in-hand, they walk to the subway, tipping their hats to those they meet. The next day, the girl asks her mama what she can do–her mama says, “Come with me,” and together they set out for the grocery store, because one person doesn’t represent an entire race or the people of a land. After dinner that night, the little girl asks if she can do something of her own–walk the dog . . . and her parents let her go. “Come with me,” the girl tells the boy across the hall. Walking together, one step at a time, the girl and the boy begin to see that as small and insignificant as their part may seem, their contribution makes a difference.
Why I like this book:
Many children have undoubtedly noticed adults reacting to current events both locally and globally with concern, and have often more recently observed their caregivers’ active participation in local politics and/or recent marches. They feel even if they don’t fully understand some of the ugliness and unrest around us, even in our own neighborhoods. They hear what adults discuss, they sense our fears and have their own. One of our roles as adults is to help kids make sense of the world. It can be pretty terrifying and incomprehensible for young children to understand the levels of violence they sometimes catch on the t.v., for example. Explaining such pain and tragedy to children is challenging, and we need find appropriate ways to help our kids feel safe and in control of their world. The little girl in this story seeks the advice of her parents and finds through each act of kindness and courage, that she too can make the world a better place, and how much more fun that can be when done with others.
The is a book accessible to all readers. The direct message, simple watercolor illustrations with a warm muted palette, a diverse group of people (e.g. a picture of a man wearing a turban and a woman in a burka), lots of white space and a hopeful message remind us that no one is too small to make a difference in our richly varied communities. The truth that we can’t let fear stop us from living our lives is relevant to us all, and even the youngest child can feel the value of being kind and brave.
In all the craziness we see around us daily at the moment, this is a book that leaves the reader with a sense of hope and purpose. It reassures. I love how the parents decide not to live in fear and so they let the little girl walk the dog, alone (well, she chooses to share in her “Kindness walk” with a friend). I would recommend reading it to every elementary school class.
The book itself is a perfect springboard into discussion with even very young children. As the author and illustrator say at the beginning of the book:
“Come With Me is written in honor of friendship, bravery, and the fact that we aren’t powerless, no matter how small and insignificant we may feel.” The author wrote a very helpful article in the Washington Post on “Teaching children how even the tiniest person can make a difference.”
Brainstorm with your class a list of simple ways they can make the world a better place.
This is a must read from the author’s website about the story behind Come With Me.
Don’t miss the wonderful interview I did with the illustrator, Pascal Lemaître, this week.
Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.