A new children’s book that celebrates diversity, written and illustrated by Evanston author Lisa Blecker, has received a Mom’s Choice Gold Award as among the best in family-friendly media, products and services. 

Based on a song by Dick Grover, “Sweet Neighbors Come in All Colors” features a group of friendly fruit from the Farmers Market, which come in all shapes, sizes, and colors,telling a story about celebrating the diversity in everyone.

Earlier this year, the author shared the book with first-grade students at King Arts School, using humor and handmade fruit puppet characters to reinforce concepts from the book, such as unity and being open-minded about making friends. Inspired by the activity, King Arts first graders based their annual play on the book.

“The book helps children think about diversity, what makes the ‘sweet neighbor’ and what makes the ‘sour neighbor.’ It’s not our outsides that determine that. It’s what’s on the inside,” said Ms. Blecker. Included in the book is a page of sheet music, with the original music by Mr. Grover and adapted lyrics by Ms. Blecker. The song and video are available at sweetneighbors.org.