Beautifully Different by Dana Salim
The second children’s book in the Yousuf’s Everyday Adventures series, Beautifully Different tells the story of Yousuf discussing with his father what it means to be different from others around you. He tells his dad that some of the kids in his school are made fun of because they look different or have different interests. He wonders aloud if it would be better if everyone was the same. To dig deeper into this question, his father asks him to use his imagination to find his answer. Yousuf does just that, using his imagination to travel to an island to which he is guided by a captain baboon and then two colorful birds. Once he is on the island he discovers an abundance of beautiful flowers, all of them different and vibrant in their own unique ways. Before long, some ugly and angry weeds threaten to overpower and kill the flowers, but Yousuf gives them the courage to fight off the weeds. The flowers use their individuality and special beauty to stay strong and thrive on the island. Yousuf then comes to realize that being different is powerful.
With gorgeous illustrations and a plot with an important moral, Dana Salim’s Beautifully Different teaches children a crucial lesson while also being entertaining. Mostly suited for younger children under the age of 10, this picture book teaches kids that sometimes its okay to answer a question by using your imagination. While the book mostly succeeds at its message, the story does feel somewhat disjointed at times, and could have used further transitions between scenes to better connect the overall story together. Nevertheless, it is a fun ride to follow Yousuf on his journey to a faraway island as he comes to understand that being different from others is more than okay as long as you have confidence in yourself and who you are.