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Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham

Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham is a book about the sudden shifts that occurred during the pandemic. It is not just a tale of going inside, it is a tale of coming together, withstanding troubling times, growing, and emerging stronger and better. The illustrations beautifully capture the stark difference between life inside and life outside. They capture the different lived experiences and honor all those who worked tirelessly to keep the world going and those that we lost as well. Simple prose on each page allows the reader to reflect on message of the text. This book will stand the test of time, but is especially poignant now.

On the outside, we are all different. But on the inside, we are all the same.”

I read this book recently to a group of middle school instructional coaches. While a simple picture book, the illustrations and message allowed for strong discourse amongst colleagues about how they would use it in the middle school grades with their students.

I would ask students to write their own reflection of the pandemic and what is has meant to them.

I would pair this with poetry and talk about how the illustrations give meaning to the words. How do poets create those same images without illustrations?

I read this to my students and one remarked, “I forgot how powerful picture books can be.”

What happened in your life when we went inside? What happened outside?

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