A Rose Is a Rose


O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo? 

Deny thy father, and refuse thy name; 

Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, 

And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.


’Tis but thy name that is my enemy; 

Thou art thyself though, not a Montague. 

What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot, 

Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part 

Belonging to a man. O! be some other name: 

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose 

By any other name would smell as sweet; 

So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d, 

Retain that dear perfection which he owes 

Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name; 

And for that name, which is no part of thee, 

Take all myself. William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet


Juliete’s soliloquy from her balcony after she’s met Romeo is beautiful in itself, but the sentiments espoused in it still apply to the hatred going on in the world nowadays.

I don’t know about you, but the mayhem that is occurring in our country, is making my heart heavy and making me wish I could wave a magic wand to cure our ills.  Ah, would that that were possible.   Still, as writers we can try to do our part and encourage our readers to think through their thoughts and behaviors.

This issue isn’t just about the color of one’s skin, it’s also about our fear of the differences between us.  Do we really need a law specifically saying which public bathroom we use?  Seriously?  And how are we to determine who belongs where?  I expect all of us have had interactions with transgendered people with out even thinking about which sex the person was originally.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any books specifically about sexual differences, but I do have a number that address accepting people for who they are.

Thanks for letting me rant.  It keeps me from screaming at the injustices.


In this story the color of the little boy’s skin is what causes the problem when he tries to make new friends.

Chocolate Me!

Taye Diggs

Illustrated by Shane W. Evans

A little boy is teased by Timmy, Johnny, and Mark because he’s different.  He has chocolate colored skin, but theirs is white so they think he should wash his color off.  They wonder how he can comb his curly, poofy hair.  They tease him about his wide, flat nose and how shiny white his teeth are.  Since he’s only five, he wants to be like the other kids and goes inside feeling sad and bad.  His mother cheers him up by telling him his chocolate skin reminds her of rich fudge icing.  His hair is like cotton candy to her and she loves plaiting it into corn rows.  And his dazzling smile makes her cry with happiness.  She makes him look in the mirror to see how handsome he is and gives him a tee shirt that says “Chocolate Me.” Dressed in his new shirt and armed with chocolate cupcakes, the little boy goes back outside to make friends with the other boys.  Children often are teased about looking or being different, so it’s nice to have books that will make them glory in their individuality.  Good book for using in discussions of tolerance.

BIBLIO: 2011, Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan, Ages 4 to 7, $16.99.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Picture Book

ISBN: 978-0-312-60326-7



The message behind the classic story of Cinderella is one of tolerance and understanding.  In Emma Dodd’s usual humorous way, she keeps the message, but with a slight twist.  The drawings are cute.


Emma Dodd

Illustrated by Emma Dodd

On the first read through, this iteration of the Cinderella story didn’t seem anything special.  But subsequent readings brought to light its humor and the real message of the story, which is everyone is special and good things can happen if you but dream.  Though she doesn’t live with mean, slovenly and rude stepsisters, Cinderelephant does live with her two selfish, crude and rude cousins, the Warty Sisters.  When the warthogs dress up in their finery and prance off to the Ball, Cinderelephant’s tears roll down her trunk and almost drown her Furry Godmouse come to make her beautiful for the Ball.  Naturally, Prince Trunky is overjoyed to see someone his size with whom to dance and not worry about squashing his partner. This rest of the story enfolds with the usual bits: midnight departure leaving a shoe behind; Prince Trunky’s search for its owner, marriage and living happily ever after.  Of course Ms. Dodd’s illustrations are wonderful, with such images as Cinderelephant trying to squeeze her very large—shall we say enormous—self into the back of a stretch limo, with the Zebra chauffeur slyly grinning as he holds the door. Older children will enjoy the twists and humor of this version of a tried and true tale.  Younger children will enjoy the silliness and their parents will enjoy a new version of an old favorite.

BIBLIO:  2013 (orig. 2012,) Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, Inc., Ages 4 to 8, $16.99.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Picture Book

ISBN: 978-0-545-53285-3


Sophie Sleeps Over

Marisabina Russo

Illustrations by Marisabina Russo


Sophie and Olive are best bunny friends, so Sophie is thrilled when Olive invites her to a sleepover party.  She writes a list of what she’ll take to the party.  Her favorite rainbow tee shirt, her ping pong paddle and her tiara, because she and Olive are always dressing up in tiaras or playing ping pong.  Her mother adds pajamas and a toothbrush to the list and Daddy suggests a sleeping bag and pillow.  But Sophie decides against taking her favorite doll, Turnip.  Olive might think Sophie’s babyish if Turnip comes along.  When it’s time for the sleepover, happy Sophie packs all her stuff in a big pillow case and carries it in her right hand.  In her left, she carries Olive’s birthday present, carefully wrapped in purple tissue paper.  Purple is Olive’s favorite color.  What a surprise Sophie has when another girl opens Olive’s front door. Penelope claims to be Olive’s best friend, which confuses Sophie.  She thought she and Olive were best friends.  Then Sophie can’t play ping pong properly this time and as things begin to turn sourer for her, she’s tempted to call her mom to take her home.  Then she wins the “Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Raccoon” game and Olive insists to Penelope that Sophie would never cheat.  She decides to stay at the party.  When the bunnies snuggle into their sleeping bags, Olive falls right to sleep, but the other two bunnies are restless and they learn they have lots in common.  They accept the notion that it is okay to have two best friends.  This sweet story with cute illustrations will teach children to share and accept new experiences.

BIBLIO: 2014, Neal Porter Book/Roaring Book Press, Ages 5 to 8, $16.99.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Picture Book

ISBN: 978-1-59643-933-7


So let us all try to be more open minded and let go of our fears and prejudices.  We all have them, whether we admit to them or not. And please let me know what you think. Thanks for reading my blog. Sarah

3 thoughts on “A Rose Is a Rose

  1. Dear Sarah,
    I understand what you’re saying. We need to pray for our nation. What happened to talking about our disagreements? Thanks for writing about this topic. I pray for all of us to accept each other.


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