Next Door

Written by: Deborah Kerbel

Illustrated by: Isaac Liang

Published by: Kids Can Press

Curated by: BGC Canada

A boy has some unexpected encounters in his neighborhood in this wordless book about celebrating differences and building bridges. In this wordless picture book, a Deaf boy and his mother enjoy a walk through their community. Together, they greet their neighbors, stop by the playground, spy a bird’s nest in a tree and buy cookies at the grocery store. Later, they visit their new neighbors, a woman and her daughter, who have only recently immigrated from another country. Although the girl is shy, and the two kids speak different languages – American Sign Language (ASL) and Arabic – find a way to communicate and become fast friends. This sweet story by critically acclaimed author Deborah Kerbel explores the art of appreciating the world and the people around us and finding points of connection. Deaf illustrator Isaac Liang lends his lived experience to the visual story, choosing details and perspectives that reveal the world as it’s experienced by the boy. At the heart of the story is a timely message about breaking down barriers and finding common ground, no matter our differences. Wordless picture books engage children’s attention to detail as they follow the narrative of the story in the pictures, building their visual literacy and critical thinking skills. This book has curriculum connections to social studies lessons on community building and immigration, as well as to the character education values of empathy and kindness. It also models the practice of welcoming newcomers to our communities. A few ASL signs are demonstrated and translated within the story.

Categories: Ability, Diversity, Friendship, Culture