Where is it written that we all have to be the same? Why do some people so desperately want others to conform? Conform to what? Why are some people offended by those who are different from them? Why can't we simply accept people for who they are?

If you think about it, the world would be a very dull place if we were all the same. Imagine if we all looked alike, like clones of one another. Imagine if we all wore exactly the same clothes, had the same job, ate the same foods, if we all thought and acted the same way and so on. What a nightmare.

It is our differences that make life interesting, and we need to reassure children of that, both concerning themselves and in their perception of others and behavior toward them. Today's reviewed books address this in a variety of way.

What a wonderful thing to teach a child, and maybe in that pursuit, adults can learn the same.

Books to Borrow

The following book is available at many public libraries.

"Stand Tall" by Joan Bauer, Putnam, 182 pages

Twelve-year-old Tree is too tall - six feet, three and a half inches and growing. His height has many people expecting Tree to be a lot of things - a natural basketball player, which he's not; more mature than his twelve years; able to handle living in two houses now that his parents are divorced. It's not easy being Tree, but thankfully he has his Vietnam vet grandfather to help him understand how to tough things out. Not only has his grandfather experienced war, but he has recently had his leg amputated and is learning how to live without it.

As Tree helps his grandfather learn to walk again, he learns a lot of truths from his grandfather and his outspoken, new friend, Sophie. When tragedy strikes their small town, Tree discovers all kinds of things about himself, including what it really means to stand tall.

Unforgettable characters, humor, grappling with hardships, and self-discovery and self-acceptance are just some of what this outstanding novel has in store for older readers.

Librarian's Choice

Library: Carroll County Public Library, 136 Court St., Carrollton, Ky.

Library Director: Hillary Arney

Youth Services Librarian: Leslie Sutherland

Choices this week: "A Pig Named Pierre" by Elizabeth Spurr; "Little Raccoon's Big Question" by Miriam Schlein; "Who Will Tuck Me in Tonight?" by Carol Roth

Books to Buy

The following books are available at favorite bookstores.

"Lost in Bermooda" written and illustrated by Mike Litwin, Albert Whitman & Co., 2014, 140 pages, $14.99 hardcover

Read aloud: age 6 - 7 and older.

Read yourself: age 8 and older.

Nine-year-old Chuck Porter was a cow who lived on the tropical island of Bermooda. All of the residents of Bermooda were cows until the day Chuck came face-to-face with something he'd never seen before - a live hu'man! Chuck was terrified; he'd heard the dreadful story of hu'mans and how they were evil cow-eating monsters. Well, Chuck was not about to be this hu'man's next meal. But when Chuck asserted himself, the hu'man, an ordinary boy named Dakota, began to cry.

Realizing that the hu'man Dakota was not something to be feared, the two sat down, talked, and a quick friendship ensued. Chuck disguised Dakota as a cow to keep him safe, and was determined to help Dakota return home to his family. The problem with that plan was that Dakota didn't know where is home was.

Hilarious and heartfelt, this delightful short novel lends substance to being lost and found.

"Cuckoo!" written and illustrated by Fiona Robertson, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2014, 36 pages $16.99 hardcover

Read aloud: age 3 - 6.

Read yourself: age 7 - 8.

When Cuckoo and his siblings hatched, all seemed right with the world. Unfortunately it was not. No one could understand a word Cuckoo was saying, and in fact, he looked a little different, too. So Cuckoo decided it was best if he left his nest, and he went bravely "in search of someone who could understand him."

Cuckoo made great efforts at communicating with a host of other animals, but again, no one understood him. Then Cuckoo decided to go a step further by trying to learn the language of others. But alas - that didn't work either. But just when Cuckoo thought he might never find anyone who understood him, he heard the most wonderful sound: "Cuckoo!"

At once hilarious and gently thought-provoking, this superb story offers multiple layers of what it is to find a friend and a place to fit in.

Nationally syndicated, Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children's literature. She can be reached at kendal@sunlink.net.