“I’m a Different Butterfly” – Expanding Empathy and Social Awareness through Summer Reading

There’s a new children’s book that explores what questions arise in an individual about their own self-perception and how others react when one looks different than others. I’m a Different Butterfly was written for ages 4-8 and is the story of Lulu Noire, a black butterfly who feels unsure at first about looking different from other butterflies but comes to realize, through interactions with other animals, that she is beautiful the way she is. This playful book offers opportunities to explore issues with young children of friendship and of learning from and embracing differences.

Author Sherri Oliver cares deeply about teaching young children how to relate to and form friendships with others even if they may look different than those around them. Sherri is a former child care program director for a nonprofit serving children and families and has a B.A. in Communications from Howard University.

She also created a discussion for families to pair with her book to enhance the opportunity for reflection. Some of those questions include:

  • How would you feel if others expressed that they didn’t like you because they feel you are different than them?
  • Say… “Nature made me, me.” Say it again… “Nature made me, me.” What does this mean to you?
  • What does it mean to appreciate others?
  • How are you and your best friend different? (Best friends can be another child, imaginary, pets, a grandparent, etc.)
  • How are you and your best friend the same?

What books are on your children’s summer reading list that stretch their thinking about how they might learn from and connect with others who look, sound, or live differently than they do? Reading can offer an important opportunity to build social awareness, empathy, and sensitivity in your child.

Check out this great new children’s book – I’m a Different Butterfly – and the helpful discussion guide to add to your summer reading list!

Here are also a few other related children’s book recommendations:

One Day, So Many Ways
By Laura Hall, Illustrated by Loris Lora

Discover what daily life is like for kids all around the world! Meet children from over 40 countries and explore the differences and similarities between their daily routines. Over 24 hours, follow a wide variety of children as they wake up, eat, go to school, play, talk, learn, and go about their everyday routine in this stunning retro-style illustrated picture book. Gorgeous illustrations! This book is a must have. Published by Quarto Group


The Skin You Live In

By Michael Tyler, Illustrated by David Lee Csicsko

With the ease and simplicity of a nursery rhyme, this lively story delivers an important message of social acceptance to young readers. Themes associated with child development and social harmony, such as friendship, acceptance, self-esteem, and diversity are promoted in simple and straightforward prose. Vivid illustrations of children’s activities include a wide range of cultures.

We Are Family

By Patricia Hegarty, Illustrated by Ryan Wheatcroft

Through illness and health, in celebration and disappointment, families stick together. Some families are made up of many people, and some are much smaller. Sometimes family members look like each other, and sometimes they don’t! But even though every family is different, the love is all the same. Illustrations many varied types of families.


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