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A Hundred Thousand Welcomes

by Mary Lee Donovan, illustrated by Lian Cho

This is a beautiful picture book that shows how to welcome someone in many languages, including sign language. The beginning explains how to pronounce the word welcome in various languages and what it means to “welcome the stranger.” I love this statement, “In one place or another, at one time or another, in one way or another, every single one of us will find ourselves in search of acceptance, help, protection, welcome.”

The story begins with a little girl inviting her neighbor to come into her outdoors shelter. Further spreads show people from all cultures and homes welcoming others. Illustrations include the words “welcome” in each language bolding the accented part of the words. Families share food, stories, laughter, and games. The illustrations hold so many cultural details.

My students’ favorite spread was toward the end where there is a double fold of pages, where they open twice as wide to reveal a huge table of people welcoming each other and sharing food.

Back matter includes an author’s note, illustrator’s note, a pronunciation guide, and a selection for further reading.

As countries and families and individuals welcome refugees, strangers, neighbors, and friends, this book is a needed message. I told my kindergartners when we get new students, we want them to feel welcome, no matter where they are from, or what language they speak.

I had a few students make a welcome sign to hang in the room. Perhaps next school year, I can have a welcome sign in all languages represented by my students.

A beautiful book that demonstrates the art of welcoming another.

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