While reading Everyone Is Welcome, I stopped to think about the subject of the book. While it takes a minute or two to get to the big event, there are smaller events that hit on the racism and acts of violence against Asian people. The main event is a friend of the narrator’s grandmother was pushed into the road in front of the Asian market. Now, the friend and grandmother are afraid to go to market by themselves. Then, the narrator is unable to play with a friend because his father says all the bad things happening are because of people who look like her. The main thing I thought was that “You don’t hear about these acts anymore. But I am going to assume they still do.” And that is the sad part.
But the good part is, how Phuong Truong has the community come together to help each other. These acts are probably not just happening to Asians; therefore, these are great tips for everyone. The narrator’s older brother is organizing safe walks for students to school (do you have a GLBTQ classmate?), and the sister says maybe for the grandmothers as well. And when she tells her class what happened, they are appalled that someone would hurt a grandmother, so they all make her a get-well card. And I am sure that kids could do that for anyone who has even just had a regular accident, let alone been part of a hate crime.
Of course, the focus is on the young girl’s community, and that comes alive by the illustrations of Christine Wei. The artwork is both busy and cozy, lots of colors popping, and the right number of details. The diverse cast of characters brings home the idea that no matter who you are, or what you look like, you are welcome to play with each other, help each other, sign get-well cards, and be the awesome person you are. Due mid-late September 2023 (read via an online reader copy).