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Same, Same But Different
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Same, Same But Different

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  689 Ratings  ·  185 Reviews
Elliot lives in America, and Kailash lives in India. They are pen pals. By exchanging letters and pictures, they learn that they both love to climb trees, have pets, and go to school. Their worlds might look different, but they are actually similar. Same, same. But different!
Through an inviting point-of-view and colorful, vivid illustrations, this story shows how two boys
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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I am madly in love with this picture book about two pen pals (a boy in the U.S. and a boy in India). Vibrant, fun, and clever, clever, clever, I think it's a "must have" for any classroom. Wonderful!
Sep 23, 2011 Tasha rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Elliot and Kailash are new pen pals. As they share letters, they share the differences and similarities of their lives in Elliot’s America and Kailash’s India. Both boys like to climb trees. Their families are very different with Elliot living with his mother, father and baby sister and Kailash living with an extended family of 23. They both have pets, but the pets are different. Both boys take a bus to school, but the communities are very different except for the traffic. The boys discover that ...more
Aug 23, 2011 Bill rated it it was ok
I found this a quite odd work. It takes on a familiar topic in children's books: things/life/people/etc. in different cultures are similar in some ways and different in others. (So, it is at least perhaps a step better than those books that ridiculously try to point out how we are all alike.) But it feels like it is a work that is in a time warp. Perhaps 25 or more years ago when children in the US or other parts of the globe may not really have seen much of each other, this would have been a us ...more
Edward Sullivan
Aug 24, 2011 Edward Sullivan rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Are kids pen pals anymore? It seems like hardly anyone writes letters these days and it seems especially unlikely children would do it. Email seems more likely. Although the mode of communication Elliot and Kailash use seems anachronistic, the story is enjoyable and the illustrations are vibrant.
Sara K.
Realistic Fiction - I loved sharing this brand new book with my students. A great side-by-side story of a US child and an Indian child's day-by-day activities and experiences.

I have an Indian student and it is important to me that her culture was represented in our genre unit as well.
Elaine Bearden
Nov 28, 2011 Elaine Bearden rated it it was amazing
This is really a fabulous book - great art that extends the story of a pen pal relationship between two boys. The phrase "same same but different" repeats throughout the book, giving it shape and allowing for the reader/audience to repeat with the characters. This would be great with a unit on maps or worlds or letter writing. I would like to see this one considered for the Caldecott honor books. Pairs nicely with Alice McGinty's Thank You, World. Could also use with an older storytime (4's a
Jan 15, 2012 David rated it really liked it
Same, Same But Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw is the story of two pen pals, Elliot from the U.S. and Kailash from India. By exchanging letters and pictures they learn that their worlds may look different, but they are actually similar.

The straight forward yet clever text is in a large font, in several colors, making this a good choice as a storytime read-aloud. The boys learn through questions, comments and pictures that they both love to climb trees, have pets, and go to school where they
Amy Forrester
Jan 17, 2012 Amy Forrester rated it it was amazing
This is the story of two boys are the same, same, but different. Although Elliot lives in America and Kailash in India, the pen pals discover their similarities through letters and drawings. They both take the bus to school, although one is a yellow bus and the other powered by bicycle. They both live in cities, although the sights on the streets differ. The illustrations are combination of childlike drawings and paper collage. Pages are marked with an E (Elliot) or K (Kailash) to make it clear ...more
Judy Desetti
Jan 22, 2012 Judy Desetti rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-book-k-3
Cute idea and I think kids would like it, however children corresponding by letters and art seems pretty far fetched in our digital age.

It could be used to teach a bit about how we are the same but different in various cultures BUT I objected to the stereotypical images of a backwards society for India!! Yikes how egocentric is that?! A child in India who is in a great school corresponding with American students is more likely to live in a city. I would have liked a more accurate depiction of t
Emily H.
May 06, 2012 Emily H. rated it really liked it
Shelves: roser_top-25
Book type: Picture storybook
Intended audience: K-2

Same Same But Different (2011) is about two boys writing art postcards to each other. Elliot lives in America and Kailash lives in India. They both have animals, ride a bus to school, like to climb trees and exercise, but in very different ways. They are same, same but different. The students are called "picture pals" and they are told to paint a picture of their world and then mail it across the oceans. Of course, the American classroom contains
Nov 03, 2012 Angie rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture, 12-texas-2x2
Love the illustrations and the juxtaposition of two different (but the same!) worlds.

I remember having a penpal from Swaziland when I was a kid. We continued to write for a couple years then drifted from doing so.

I know there are epals and Skype chats (when time zones can match up) with classes from other countries. I just don't see anyone doing them in my circles. Dunno if it's because I just don't hear about it (I'm the school librarian ... so to do anything with kids I need to get the teacher
May 07, 2013 Heidi rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, read-2013
Two boys, one in the U.S. and one in India, are penpals, exchanging letters about their lives. They (and the reader) learn that despite living in two different places, their lives are similar in many respects. The colorful multi-media illustrations are superb and really add to the story. Parents and teachers might remember being penpals with a child living in a different country but students today have instant access through social media, so pre-teaching about the long-lost art of letter writing ...more
Oct 30, 2013 Heather rated it really liked it
Beautiful artwork, nice story.
Apr 25, 2014 Sarahi added it
Shelves: multicultural
Picture book #1 Same, Same but Different

1. This is a story about two boys who are “Picture Pals” instead of Pen pals; they draw art and send it to each other. One boy seems to be from a big city in America, the other boy seems to be from India (they never really say in the story). Throughout the story, they draw about their families, towns, languages and schools. The connection I made with this book is a text to self connection in part of the book where the boys send pictures of how they say “h
Lindsay Weideman
Apr 26, 2014 Lindsay Weideman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: multicultural
Same, Same But Different (Primary)

This book reminds me of my pen pal when I was younger!!! We met when both of our families were on vacation in Florida at a resort and wrote back and forth to one another through high school. She was from Chicago, so it was a very big city. We were the same age, but we always wrote about our different experiences. I think this book would be very beneficial to use in the classroom to teach students about different cultures.

Remembering: Where is Elliot from and wh
Jun 07, 2014 Kristin added it
Shelves: multicultural
A. Text to Self Connection: I love meeting people who are not from Omaha and especially when they are not from the United States. I find it fascinating to hear their stories. I notice our differences but, I'm amazed by our similarities. For instance, I was looking at a photo from a refugee camp in Thailand and was amazed to see satellite dishes fixed to the top of some of the bamboo homes and hear that many of these bamboo homes were wired for television!
B. Six Discussion Questions (Bloom's Revi
Jun 09, 2014 Maureen rated it it was amazing
Bloom's Questions:
1. Can you tell me three things that were the same between the two boys?
2. Explain why the author continues to use the title through the book.
3. What examples can you find to support the differences between the two boys?
4. How would you compare yourself with these two boys?
5. It states that they are 'best friends even though we live in two different worlds. Or do we?' What is your opinion of how the author ended the story this way?
6. What inferences can you make about cultures
Brandi M.
Jun 11, 2014 Brandi M. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: multicultural
Text to Self
Elliot and Kailash are picture pals who learn about their similarities and differences as they mail pictures to one another. This story reminds me of the pen pal I had when I was in elementary school. In third grade we were given the names of students, also in third grade, from another state. We were each paired up with a pen pal to whom we would write monthly. Through our letters, we were able to find things we had in common and also shared some differences about where we lived, wha
Mar 25, 2015 Madison rated it it was amazing
Two young boys become pen pals from complete different parts of the country. They express themselves and try to inform each other on the differences of each of the lifestyles. Elliot is from America and lives a very traditional lifestyle for American children, Kailash is from Indonesia. Although the boys have different looks and understandings of the world because of where and how they are brought up the children realize through all the differences they share many common qualities as well. The b ...more
Apr 19, 2015 Piyali rated it it was amazing
Living in two countries has made me appreciate this concept even more - same, same but different. I always say to whoever will listen that at some level there is not too much of a difference amongst us humans. The core values of goodness, kindness are truly the same. Living conditions, cultures, economics, indoctrination of some ideas may create divides but if one can look beyond the boundaries we will find we are 'Same, same but different.'
Apr 19, 2015 Julie rated it it was amazing
A library customer asked me to share this with my dear friend and colleague who is from Kolkata and just returned from a visit there. The concept - Indian and American pen-pals who find that so much in their lives is "same, same but different" - is realized through evocative illustrations and the sweet storyline, in which the boys compare families, pets, cities, alphabets, and even their favorite classes - art and yoga - where each boy "can be anything." The concluding pages made me a little tea ...more
I’m still on the fence about this one. There’s a lot to like, particularly the idea that, although these too two boys live far apart in very different places, they share some similarities underneath the window dressings. The book is written by a woman who visited India and Nepal and set up an picture pal program at a school in Nepal.

The thing is, I’m not sure visiting makes you qualified to write about somewhere. Because the book is clearly geared toward young children it isn’t particularly deep
Allie Crimmins
Sep 20, 2016 Allie Crimmins rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully illustrated book about a pen pal friendship between a young boy in America named Elliot and a young boy in India named Kailash. They write many letters to each other and teach each other about different aspects of their life. They cover topics such as their hobbies, their families, their towns, their schools and their languages. At first I was hesitant about the story line of this book, but then I saw that the Author and Illustrator had personal experience with the topic. S ...more
RLL22016_Alejandra Iturbe-Mendez
This colorful and inviting story, is about two pen-pals. One who lives in America and the other in India, two very different places in the world. They exchange letters, pictures, and they get to learn that although they live in different parts of the world, they are still "same, same, but different!" Soon they learn that they both love to climb trees, go to school, and have pets. Such an adorable book about friendship!
Sep 26, 2016 Kimberly rated it it was amazing
I used this book to talk to Kindergartners about pen pals and staying friends with someone who moves away.
Camille Tesch
Sep 26, 2016 Camille Tesch marked it as to-read
Ages 4-6
Allie Mueller
Oct 09, 2016 Allie Mueller added it
Shelves: 11-20
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Taylor Miller
Oct 07, 2016 Taylor Miller rated it it was amazing
I loved this book!
It's a sweet book with a theme of friendship and knowing differences. The two pen pals are form very different places, but they are able to still find similarities. The friends are showing how friendship has no boundaries. This book would be great for kids to realize that even though there's miles between two people, they aren't as different as they think. Especially for a writing activity, I think this book would lead to a great book for the classroom and could inspire kids t
Breanna Shofner
Same, Same But Different is about two boys who live on opposite ends of the globe. The boys become pen pals and start talking about the normalities in each of their lives. They soon realize that they have many things in common. These commonalities are shared, however the looks and procedures in life are different. This is an endearing book that shares an important message.

I would use this book to help students understand peoples from other countries. Even though they might have customs and tradi
Oct 18, 2016 Casey rated it it was amazing
Synthesis: Two children, Elliot and Kailash, live on opposite sides of the world and are penpals. The boys write back and forth and tell each other about themselves. Through this, they learn that although they have a lot of differences, they have just as many similarities. For example, they have different living situations, different transportation to school, and different alphabets. The boys keep referring to themselves as being the “same, same but different” until the end of the story when the ...more
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