Okay, there is just enough time left in September for me to highlight one more book from my list of picture books that model including others. And y’all, this one is a must-read. Though it was originally published in 1993, I didn’t discover it until a few years into my teaching career, but once I found it, I read it to my students every single year. And now I revisit it frequently with my girls. If you don’t know Yo! Yes? by Chris Raschka yet, please read on to learn more about it — and then find a way to get your hands on it!
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It’s amazing what someone can do with 34 one-syllable words and no backgrounds in the illustrations. But Raschka somehow takes this almost blank slate and uses it to tell an incredibly powerful story of noticing, inclusion, and friendship. Through this simple dialogue, Raschka allows readers to feel the impact that inviting and including others can have. Our hearts simultaneously break for the boy who is sad because he feels he has no friends while also cheering on the enthusiastic, optimistic child who notices someone in need and acts on what he sees to make things right.
Though this is terrific for all ages, Yo! Yes? is especially accessible to young audiences, and easy to read independently for new readers. Even Raschka’s illustrations are simple, including only images of the 2 boys in nearly bare backgrounds, but this simplicity allows us to focus on their feelings and desires. Adept observers may even notice how Raschka subtly changes the mood of his background as the mood of the 2nd boy shifts.
Yo! Yes? is a simple yet incredibly powerful story of noticing those who may need attention and welcoming them into play. Ages 2-4, but terrific for all ages. Though this one will likely take you less than a minute to read, be sure to allot appropriate time for the deep discussions about characters, inferences, empathy, and inclusion that you are bound to have.
Have you read this one yet? If not, have I convinced you to read it ASAP with your children???
If you liked this, be sure to check out the rest of the books on our list of picture books that model including others. If you’d like to purchase Yo! Yes? through my affiliate links, click the buttons below!