Diversity, Acceptance, and Friendship are Today’s PPBF Theme.

Diversity, acceptance, and friendship are the theme of today’s PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday)

“Why are your braces green and bushy?”  

That’s not a question elementary school children care to be asked, but one I often heard. My well-meaning mother believed parsley made nearly everything taste better. And while she was right about that, finely chopped parsley on a salami sandwich for lunch when you’re wearing braces doomed me to years of criticism and mockery in the cafeteria. Now, while I was chomping away at my tasty sandwich and learning how to suck parsley out of my teeth like an old man , a girl named Debbie, who sat opposite me, looked on with disgust as she ate (and I’m not kidding) a liver sausage and peanut butter sandwich with mayonnaise. Somehow, despite our low opinions of each other’s lunches, we were best friends. This brings me to today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday selection; a story of two best friends with vastly different taste in food, their pity on the other for having to eat something yucky, and how giving  each other’s lunches a try opens them up to more wondrous foods in the world.

Title – The Sandwich Swap – view on Amazon HERE.

Written by – Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah with Kelly DiPucchio

Illustrated by – Tricia Tusa

Published by – Disney – Hyperion Books – 2010

Suitable for ages – 3-7

Topics/Theme –  friendship, tolerance, and acceptance.

Opening – It all began with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich…

Amazon Review – Lily and Salma are best friends. They like doing all the same things, and they always eat lunch together. Lily eats peanut butter and Salma eats hummus-but what’s that between friends? It turns out, a lot. Before they know it, a food fight breaks out. Can Lily and Salma put aside their differences? Or will a sandwich come between them?

The smallest things can pull us apart – until we learn that friendship is far more powerful than difference. In a glorious three-page gatefold at the end of the book, Salma, Lily, and all their classmates come together in the true spirit of tolerance and acceptance.

Why do I like this book? My best answer is because I relate to the story. Having been in a similar situation in elementary school, I understand how differences can form a wedge between friends. The story is a timeless one which, through text and kid-friendly illustrations, offers children a fabulous example of how they can appreciate diversity and uniqueness in other cultures.

Two of my favorite illustrations are the food fight scene in which everything from carrots to pudding cups flies, and amidst the chaos, Salma and Lilly realize how out of control life can become when differences break a friendship. My second favorite illustration is the grand, three-page, fold-out spread finale when the entire class joins around a table to sample food from other cultures.

Learn about Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah HERE.

Learn about Kelly DiPucchio HERE.

Learn about Tricia Tusa HERE.

Activity with children – One night each week, prepare a meal from another country. At your library, check out a CD of music from that country to play during dinner. Look up the country in books or online to learn more about the culture of the people.

10 thoughts on “Diversity, Acceptance, and Friendship are Today’s PPBF Theme.

    • We have been choosing one night a week to explore meals from other countries for some time. It’s great when my daughter wants to make the meal all by herself. This mom loves a night off from the kitchen. And yes, the book is quite wonderful both the story and the illustrations.


    • Hi Julie! Lunch choices do speak volumes about people. The book is fabulous in that all the students decide to have a big outdoor lunch and celebrate the foods of the many cultures in their classroom. It would be a fun inspiration for classes to follow – maybe as an end of the year picnic.


  1. Love this story, Leslie…and I love your story as well…maybe you need to write a pb about your experience.
    And I saw that you won a book on Susanna’s blog…congratulations!!! I’m so glad you won Sylvia Liu’s wonderful new book!


  2. As much as I would love to write a book about those green, parsley stuffed braces and my friend and her liver sausage, peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches, I think the book I reviewed covered that subject brilliantly. However, I’ve got plenty other childhood moments to tap into.

    Thanks for the congratulations. I admit I scrolled up and down and back up again on Susanna’s post to make sure I hadn’t read it wrong. I can’t wait to add Sylvia’s Liu’s book to my collection of treasured picture books.

    Hope your writing is going well, Vivian!


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