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We Belong

Written by Laura Purdie Salas
Illustrated by Carlos Vélez Aguilera
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books, 2022
ISBN: 978-1541599130 32 pages


Explore and celebrate who you are and who others are too! Short or tall. Black or white. Quiet or loud. There’s beauty in each, and most of us are not all of one quality or another, anyway! Rhyming verse invites you to notice the diversity of our world and affirm that we all belong, just as we are.
Maybe you're quiet.
You wonder.
You dream.
Thoughts trickle softly, clear as a stream.

Maybe you're loud.
Nobody says, 'Can you repeat that?'

Journal Reviews

An upbeat, empowering celebration of human diversity.
—Kirkus Reviews
Nuggets of practical wisdom appear throughout (“Sometimes we’d like to make sadness extinct,/ but teardrops and smiles are joined—they are linked”), supporting the book’s open-armed embrace of planetary togetherness and diversity in the human experience.
—Publishers Weekly
SEL: The Books Kids Need Most Now: In rhyming verse—great for a read-aloud—Purdie Salas starts with easier concepts about the attributes people possess like “quiet” and “loud” and progresses to more challenging ones like skin color and gender identity.
—School Library Journal

Reader Reactions

You could use this book to teach compare-and-contrast but I hope first and foremost you will use it to offer hope and embrace a community of people who are each unique and valued.

—A Year (or More) of Reading with Gratitude: Vicki Palmquis

...an anthem to multiculturalism and inclusiveness.

—Minneapolis Star Tribune

…a rollicking picture book that teaches kids they belong.

—St. Paul Pioneer Press

What new book begins with the word, WELCOME! and includes perhaps the most diverse illustrations of children in any picture book I’ve read in a long, long time...

—A Word Edgewise: Linda Mitchell

I love that it’s full of literary elements that make writing stronger. When we read good writing, we become better writers.

—Reflections on the Teche: Margaret Simon

We Belong celebrates humanity and our ability to make our small corner of the universe bigger and better and less intimidating.

—Children's Book Corner: Judy Bradbury



1 Videos

Downloadable Activities

Printable 18"x24" poster
Group poem template
Group poem w/o directions
Ind poem template
Ind poem w/o directions

Photo Gallery

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More for Educators or Writers

  • Lerner Books Blog: “Carol rejected the manuscript, but said, “I love, love, love those two stanzas of rhyming verse you wrote for…”
  • Blissfully Bookish: An interview for writers, including (gulp) marketing advice.
  • "Let nothing dim the light that shines from within." --Maya Angelou
  • "We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly." --Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Word search from MsZzz Teach on TPT ($)
  • Vocabulary cards from Primary Pencils and Play on TPT ($)

How this Book Got Started

Like a few of my other titles, this book began with a rejection. Editor Carol Hinz of Carolrhoda told me she was interested in a picture book about intersectionality and identity. I wrote a picture book (completely different from We Belong) and submitted it. She rejected it, but she loved the rhyming language on a sign in that story. It prompted her to ask if I'd be interested in writing a rhyming picture book affirming very young children. And that's when I began working on the manuscript that became We Belong.

Poems I've Written

These poems connect to this book in topic, theme, or form—great for text-to-text connections!


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