Official Website of Children's Book Author
William R. Mrazek
THE INSPIRATION FOR 'WE'
In the Spring of 2006, my wife and I, our teenaged daughter and son were enjoying a Spring Break vacation at one of the sea side resorts in the Dominican Republic. The weather was absolutely beautiful, but by the fourth day I felt the need to escape the afternoon sun. I went back up to our 4th floor room to sit on the shaded balcony and enjoy the refreshing sea breeze. We were fortunate that our room over-looked the beach, the pool, and all the outside activities the resort had to offer. I sat back in the chair and closed my eyes in anticipation of what could turn into a quick nap.
As I sat there, my mind focused on the the excitement-induced screams of young children and teenagers, and the constant hum of adult conversation mixed with unrestrained laughter.
I opened my eyes and stood up to lean on the railing and visually take it all in.
It was at that moment that a realization came to my mind; that here are all of these people and families together, children and adults of different races and ethnic back-grounds from numerous countries, speaking a variety of languages, with most of them having never met each other before this particular week in time!
They were all getting along, communicating through language barriers, and enjoying every minute of it! I asked myself, "Why can't this universal social interaction of mutual respect be the standard on how we view each other? What would be the key and catalyst that would inspire future generations to view each other with open minds to acceptance and friendship?
The answer came to me quickly. It is through our children, and teaching them when they are young about the importance of diversity and acceptance, and that it is normal that we are all different in many ways. It was exactly at that moment that I decided to write a universal children's book about Acceptance and Friendship.
As I viewed everyone below, the first verse immediately came to me:
Bill is a member of
the Society of Children's
Book Writers & Illustrators
"Have you noticed that there appears to be, many more people than just you and me?"
Our faces are all different;
in size, and shape, and color, too.
(Illustration & verse #7)
If we all looked the same, we'd wonder;
"Is that them, or me, or you?"
(Illustration & verse #8)
INTRODUCTION TO "WE"
There are many people who influence us when we are children: parent(s), grandparents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, teachers, friends, guardians, babysitters, daycare personnel, and playmates. We are cared for, fed, clothed, protected, educated, and guided in how we think, speak, feel, act, and react to those around us early in our childhood. It is during this formative time that the foundation is established for our thoughts, opinions, fears, self-confidence, self-doubt, strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately, our actions toward ourselves and each other.
I wrote 'WE' because I believe that we can guide children early on in life that it is OK and normal that we are all different, and provide it in a simple, rhyme style verse that will be memorable and lasting, like a song verse. I think it is also important that the children visually associate the verses with illustrations that are not cartoon-like or distorted; but rather with soft, colorful illustrations that are stimulating, interesting, and realistic so that when they do see someone with a characteristic represented in the book, they can identify it with the illustration and not see them as someone who is strange, inferior, one to be ridiculed, or bullied.
I also believe that 'WE' will help children raise the level of their own self-confidence when they see characteristics that they have and are illustrated in the book; whether it is a physical characteristic as common as hair and eye color, or their height and/or body shape, skin color, or other identifications such as a child in a wheelchair participating in the Special Olympics. Elevating and improving a child's self-confidence and their perception of others who are different from themselves is instrumental in helping to diminish both bullying during childhood, as well as more serious acts of physical violence and mental cruelty later in life.
A term that I feel is most appropriate to inspire change is Acceptance. Acceptance demonstrates a true and definitive change both in our perception and in our beliefs. What we demonstrate through our actions and how we communicate with our children can inspire and create universal acceptance, understanding, and mutual respect throughout the world.
Lastly, but certainly no less important, is the positive impact I hope 'WE' will have upon the person reading this book to a child. It is my sincere hope that if they have their own negative viewpoints and perceptions of others that are based solely on race, color, gender, physical characteristics, physical and/or mental limitations, or chosen personal relationships, that they reconsider their views after reading this book.
"No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate,
and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."
(The Introduction above is a condensed version. Please read the complete Introduction in the book, which provides more details about the book's design and features.)
But we need to see
with our minds,
as well as with our sight.
Symbolic Universal Rainbow presenting
inclusion of skin tone colors
(Illustration & verse #9)
Color is the reason why,
there is more than black and white.
REVIEWS OF 'WE'
'We' is a wonderful story for any age, demonstrating that differences make everyone important and valued. The
realistic illustrations and delivery of the message transitioning from 'ME' to 'WE' connects to any audience I've
shared this with. I read this book over the school PA system to all of the students on the first day of school each year to kick off our pursuit of building community.
Kurt Preble, Elementary School Principal
I make a point of reading to my 3 year old son at bedtime. 'WE' is his favorite book and he asks for it every night.
He loves the pictures and turning the pages. He has learned the names of colors from it, and I can't tell if he actually
has learned to read it, or if he has memorized it, but he now reads aloud the verses for each picture along with me.
Our younger son just celebrated his 1st birthday, and we bought another copy of 'WE' just for him. The day after his birthday, my husband and I saw the boys sitting next to each other, with 'big brother' describing the pictures while 'loosely' reading the new copy to his 'little brother'!
This book has been a great way to introduce and talk about differences among people to my 3-1/2 year old. She enjoys the book and the unique illustrations and it has served as a springboard for several meaningful conversations about acceptance and diversity. Sometimes it is hard to know how to bring these topics up to young ones. I didn't realize how much of it she would comprehend at her age, and have been so surprised by the questions she has asked while reading the book! I have recommended it to many and plan to gift it to her preschool teachers as I think it is a book that should be read in every classroom!
Thank you so much for writing this beautiful book! You did an absolutely fantastic job, and I'm so glad we're able to include it in our collection for our two daughters. It has such a positive, beneficial message and I'm excited to be able to read it continually as they grow older, and for them to become more aware of the beautiful differences in the world around them.
Our young son loves 'WE'! It's his favorite book for me to read to him, and even though he is too young to read, he will sit by himself and turn the pages, just looking at the illustrations. He calls it the "People Book"!
Beautifully done! We had the privilege of meeting this gifted author and find this book to be profound and simply beautiful. The messages are our universal truth; to see each other with a heart of acceptance and understanding. A must have, and a must read for ALL children (and for those who read it to them)!
K. Webster M.D. - FIVE STARS - Amazon Review
'WE' is a GREAT asset for allowing everyone in the family to focus on the fact that we are all different. The colorful illustrations are realistic and everyone can easily identify and or relate with at least one or more of the characterizations in the book. The foundation of the entire story is acceptance of the differences that we see in each other every day, and this helps the child (and the reader) recognize that differences are actually normal and to be viewed as a good thing. This book is truly one that I will read to my Grandchildren over and over again!
Gene S. - FIVE STARS - Amazon Review
Wonderful! This is a terrific book which I wish every family could read. Our children need to hear and embrace 'WE's message now more than ever.
Chris - FIVE STARS - Amazon Review
The verse with muted illustration #14 above:
"Everyone is different; it's the one thing that we all share.
Accepting we are not the same, is a better way to care."
(Smaller full color of this illustration is on the Contact page)
"You can never have too many friends,
I know that to be true.
But do not judge by how they look,
but by what they say and do."
(Illustration& verse #13)
'WE' is a must for all classroom libraries! It is a fabulous 'read aloud,' not only for parents to read to their children, but also for teachers to read to their students. In addition to the incredibly meaningful content of the text, this book provides different levels of understanding, which can be appreciated by children, teens, adolescents, and adults. This is not a book you will read only once to your child or student, but time and time again, and for different purposes and messages each time!
Teachers at Hollywood Elementary School
FIVE STARS - Barnes & Noble Review
This book offers the perfect balance of easy to understand text and a powerful message of inclusion that provides parents a great tool to share with any child. The illustrations are really unique in that they not only draw a clear relationship between the words on the page and the message offered, but they also generate side conversations with your child. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to those who want to teach their child/children about kindness and acceptance.
A. Lund - FIVE STARS - Amazon Review
'WE - A Universal Children's Book (and for those who read it to them)' is a MUST OWN! Not only does this book stress the importance of teaching children to accept all different types of people in the world, it also reminds us adults to do the same! The illustrations are very lifelike. "WE" is perfect for an at home read, as well as in the classroom.
Jana G. - FIVE STARS - Barnes & Noble Review
'WE' is a wonderful book for the entire family with true meaning. This book will definitely be on my gift list to welcome that first baby home or baby shower. What a great gift/book that can remain in their home for generations to come.
Pam S. - FIVE STARS - Amazon Review
A great book with a message that has never been more important. We are going through a time when positive messages around inclusion and love are rare. Bill Mrazek's book is a ray of light.
Amazon Customer - FIVE STARS
Great Book. Great Message. Great Illustrations. This book has such a wonderful, and perfectly timed message for kids AND adults. And the illustrations are wonderful to look at and will capture the attention of your little one(s). Highly recommended!
J. Dubbs - FIVE STARS - Amazon Review
Awesome, awesome book - a great way to teach kids about love and acceptance in an interactive way. Must have for teachers and parents of all ages!
Megan Z. - FIVE STARS - Amazon Review
Fantastic book! Should be included in every family's library! William Mrazek states it beautifully when writing
"There's a special word for all of us, that special word is WE".
P. Lum - FIVE STARS - Amazon Review
I didn't want this book to end - it is a must read for young children developing their young minds on life. A well needed reminder for the adults who read it to them to be respectful toward diversity. Thanks Bill!
Sue P. - FIVE STARS - Barnes & Noble Review
This book is amazing. It reminds us as parents and role models how much we influence our children. His book helps us teach them and ensure them that being different and accepting each other's differences is okay. I highly recommend this book.
Rachel N. - FIVE STARS - Barnes & Noble Review
"I really adored the concept here and the message of self-acceptance was really a great choice. I think that this will be a valued addition to many family libraries in the years to come. The author has really done a fantastic job for genre of children's picture books, and I hope to read more from this author in the future."
- Official Literary Judge, 3rd Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published eBook Awards
The verse with muted illustration #10 above:
"People may walk, at times they run, some use a special chair.
It doesn't matter how they go, to get from here to there."
(A smaller full color of this illustration is on the Contact page)
BOOK SIGNING & PHOTOS
It was an honor to be invited to present a 'WE' book reading and signing
for students and parents as part of Literacy Night at Komarek School
in North Riverside, Illinois.
I had a wonderful time reading 'WE' to everyone, as well as providing
insight into the meaning, significance, and correlation of the text
to each of the wonderful illustrations by Ginger Triplett.
A very special "Thank you!" to third grade teacher Mrs. Badgzius for organizing an exceptional literary event
that also offered students time to write their own short story book! Well done, Mrs B!
I really enjoyed presenting a reading and question & answer session to students at Komarek school's annual Book Fair. It's always great reading 'WE' to students and answering their questions, as well as hearing them share their incredible and insightful observations of the meanings and illustrations in 'WE'!
I was invited by Principal Kurt Preble of Diamond Lake School in Mundelein, Illinois to provide a reading of 'WE' to nearly 300 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade students at their Introductory Morning Assembly for their first day of class on August 15th, 2018. The reading was purposely timed to promote acceptance and friendship as a starting point to the new school year. The students were all wonderful and very receptive to the reading and the illustrations!
I would like to extend a special 'Thank you' to Principal Preble for the invitation. It was an honor to present 'WE' and its messages to the students!
NEWS & UPDATES
Parent and Teacher Reading Guides Now Available for 'WE'!
'WE' is more than just a children's picture book with beautiful illustrations and rhyming verses. It offers a variety of important messages in its text, and details in its illustrations. To help in discovering and creating a complete understanding of the deeper meanings and relevant details, I have designed and written a 6 page Parent and Adult Reader Guide as a free supplement with each purchase of 'WE'.
Please include your email address on the order form when ordering the book
so that I can email you the Parent Guide as an attachment for you to print.
I also, together with Danielle C. Bagdzius M.Ed Reading & Literacy, have designed and written a 17 page CCSS (Common Core State Standard) Teaching Guide for elementary school teachers to use in their classrooms. This guide is available for an additional charge of $1.00 with the purchase of 'WE' on the 'Store' page. Be sure to click on the CCSS Teaching Guide image to add it to your order.
Please include your email address on the order form when ordering the book so that I can email you the Teaching Guide as an attachment for you to print out.
Click on the 'Store' page for ordering books and other 'WE' products!
Please feel free to contact me for availability and scheduling of a 'WE' book reading & signing for your school, classroom, daycare, PTA or other parent/teacher organization, youth group, anti-bullying organization and/or focus group, neighborhood book club, literary group or conference with a focus on Children's books, Diversity & Acceptance focus group, or any other event you would like to spread the message of Diversity & Acceptance that 'WE' provides.
I can be contacted by email at:
Illustrator Ginger Triplett can be contacted at:
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William R. Mrazek