Same, Same But Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw: A Great Start To Introduce Cultural Differences and Similarities

Same, Same But Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw: A Great Start To Introduce Cultural Differences and Similarities. Every country has its own unique cultures and traditions. Cultural traditions are an important part of community, family, and personal identity, and they distinguish one group from another.  But while the specifics of each cultural custom may be different, many of the underlying purposes of them are the same.  Most cultures have rituals to celebrate birth, coming of age, death, and marriage.  However, in some traditions, the bride wears white, and in others she may wear orange or red.  In this way, different cultures are “same, same, but different.” Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw teaches this important concept in her beautiful book, Same Same but Different. The world and its inhabitants may seem different on the surface, but underneath, we are still the same.

cultural differences and similarities
Same, Same But Different by Jeny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

The story of Same, Same but Different introduces two different boys who grow up in two different cultures. When the two boys become pen-pals, they learn that they enjoy the same sorts of activities like climbing trees, having pets, and going to school. Through exchanging letters and pictures, they learn that while the world might look different, they are still similar. The story guides the children to understand other people living in places and cultures different from their own. 

Here Are The Ways This Book is a Great Start to Introduce Children to Cultural Differences and Similarities

Children learn to be aware of their own culture, values, and attitudes

The book teaches children that we have our own cultures, values, and attitudes. Being aware of their own culture can help children gain knowledge of how they behave and how to treat others with tolerance who come from different backgrounds.

Understanding cultural differences

In the story, the two boys live in different cultures but still find ways to connect. By sharing openly about their lives and cultures, children can grasp how to respect and appreciate each other. There might be cultural differences between different nations, but this shouldn’t stop them from communicating with one another.

Recognizing similarities despite differences

Despite the differences between the cultures of the two boys, they still discover that they have much in common. This teaches readers that beyond cultural differences, there are still similarities that everyone can appreciate.

Understanding other cultures’ differences and similarities and embracing them through respect builds connections between people, cultures, and nations. Cultural differences are not a disadvantage, but rather they are gifts and lessons for us to learn from. Many truths can be learned by looking at other people with openness and listening to what they have to say. Spend some time learning about other cultures by reading Same Same but Different with your children and then talk about the wonderful differences between people in your own lives.

You can get a copy of ‘Same, Same but Different’ from or link:

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More About the Author

Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw is the author and illustrator of Luna & Me: The True Story of a Girl Who Lived in a Tree to Save a Forest; My Travelin’ Eye; and Same, Same but Different, for which she won the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award and the South Asia Book Award. A graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute and The Illustration Academy, Jenny lives with her family in their homestead in the mountains of Northern New Mexico.

Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

“There is considerable usage potential here, from art projects to classroom community projects to diversity awareness projects… there’s also plenty of pleasure to be found just in sharing the thoughtful story and perusing the artwork.” ―BCCB

“Young readers will close the book longing to have a friend from another place; for schools with global partnerships, this will be a go-to book for introducing these projects to classrooms.” ―Horn Book Magazine

“The imaginative multimedia illustrations, drawn in an animated, childlike style, add vibrant color and rich details to the story. Kostecki-Shaw presents a meaningful message of inclusivity in this engaging title.” ―SLJ

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