Sunday, October 4, 2009

Zebert the Rainbow Striped Zebra

Zebert the Rainbow Striped Zebra by Janice Beier is a delightful new book for children that teaches about diversity and being comfortable in one's own skin.

Zebert is just like any other zebra, having black stripes on his white body. But after witnessing the multicolored beauty of a rainbow, Zebert wishes hard to have his own rainbow stripes.

The next morning, Zebert wakes up, covered in rainbow stripes. At first, he is excited and proud to look different. But no one wants to play with him, and the other animals think he looks weird. So, he desperately tries to cover up the rainbow stripes. Each attempt simply manages to draw more attention to his differences.

Zebert finally manages to prove to his friends that despite his different looks, he can still be a great friend and is a beneficial teammate.

The illustrations in the book are beautiful, yet simple. The muted backgrounds enhance the brightness of Zebert and his independence, while enhancing the murkiness of others being small-minded. Children will enjoy trying to recreate the illustrations.

The language is clear and easy for children to understand. The large print and spacing on the pages will allow early readers to easily practice independent reading or to read along with an adult.

The book was also accompanied by a read-along cd, including a cute little song about Zebert.

Janice Beier was inspired to write this book because she is raising three bi-racial children, and wants them to understand that everyone has inner beauty, despite their outward appearance. Families can use this book to celebrate their own special qualities. Educators will enjoy using this book to promote diversity in their classrooms. Follow-up activities can include creating their own versions of Zebert, listing ways in which they are alike and different, and even a study on the different animals featured throughout the book.

I shared this book with my class of 3-6 year-olds, and they loved it!

Zebert the Rainbow Striped Zebra is currently only available for sale through the author's website at

Andrea Coventry is a reviewer for

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