Same, Same But Different
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Same, Same But Different

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  424 ratings  ·  123 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...more
Hardcover, 36 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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2014 Monarch Nominees
12th out of 19 books — 10 voters
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Picture Books About Friendship
41st out of 103 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
Amy Musser
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
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...more
Lindsay Weideman
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...more
Brandi M.
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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.
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...more
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
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
Elaine Bearden
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...more
Shelli Holechek
Elliott is a young boy living in America and Kailash is a young boy living in India. The boys become pen pals and share all kinds of great information about their lives with each other. Even though their worlds are far apart and different, they also are very much the same. They learn many things they have in common.

I will be focusing on a text-to-self comprehension strategy for my skill lesson. After reading this story to my students I would ask them what things in the story remind them of their...more
Melissa Berke
Reflection on ONE: Text to text, text to self, text to world connection with the book
This book reminds me of a book/song "We All Sing with the Same Voice"

Write six discussion questions using all six stages of Bloom’s Taxonomy
1. Knowledge:
How many characters are in this book?

2. Comprehension:
How do the children in this book communicate?

3. Application:
What are other ways that the characters in the book could share information with each other?

4. Analysis...more
Allison Barry
Text-to-self: What a cute story! I remember having a pen pal in my Spanish class. We had to go onto this website and we would e-mail them. Unfortunately, they never replied back to any of our e-mails, but it was a great learning experience. We had the opportunity to talk to other students in an English class from Mexico!

Text-to-text: This isn't another text, but it reminds me of the movie, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Both boys become friends behind the line of a concentration camp. Their fri...more
Sarah Wheeland
Same, Same, But Different

Text to World: This book actually is a wonderful parallel to the “Danger of a Single Story” TED talk we listened to for this week. The story is about two pen pals who write back and forth between the US and India. They write about how they do a lot of the same things even though they might do them a little differently. It is a great way to teach kids that there is more to people of other cultures than stereoptypes. We are “same, same but different.”

1.Why did the two boys...more
Christen Tulli
Category: Multicultural Literature (this is one of two selections I have under the heading of "multicultural")

Publication date: 2011

Annotation is posted above via GoodReads

Themes: Point of View, Diversity, Friendship

Ways to Use Book:

* After reading this book out loud, have students start a pen pal program with students at a school in a different place! Ask them to share their daily life, likes, and dislikes.

* I love the idea I found from this website:

Edward Sullivan
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.
Apr 29, 2014 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: asian
In this book there are two pen pals, Elliot from the United States, and Kailash from India, that write back and forth to each other, sharing aspects of their cultures. Through their writings/drawings we see that both boys enjoy the same things just in different ways. For example, they both go to school but have different classes they attend or they both have families but they are composed differently, hence the title Same, Same but Different. This book is appropriate to use with grades K-2 to sh...more
Kristina Moss
Same, Same But Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki- Shaw is a story about two boys living in two different parts of the world. After being pen pals they soon learn despite the distance in which they live, they share many similarities such as climbing trees and being pet lovers. I would use this book in my classroom to introduce students to diversity. I would inform my students that although we may come from different parts of the world, we're all alike. I would also use this book as a in class activ...more
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!
Crystal Sleeman
Text to Self: I love yoga which happens to be Kailash's favorite class in school.
Discussion Questions:
1. Who are the main characters in the book?
2. How would you compare Elliot's school to Kailash's?
3. What facts would you select to show that Elliot and Kailash are similar young men?
4. What motive is there for the boys to keep writing to one another?
5. Imagine if Kailash lived in another state instead of another country, how would this change the outcome of the book?
6. Why was it better that Kai...more
Heather T.
Beautiful artwork, nice story.
Crete Public Library District
Reviewed by Miss Judy (Youth Services) This beautifully illustrated picture book is the story of two pen pals--Elliott from America and Kailash from India. Elliott’s teacher mailed his picture of North America to Kailash’s school and they began a correspondence that compared their two lifestyles—city living vs. village. The illustrations clarify any questions the young reader might have about each other’s culture. This book was a 2014 Monarch Award Nominee. This book would appeal to the Kinder...more
I enjoyed reading and sharing this book. Not only is the language simple and straightforward, but the illustrations compliment the writing perfectly. The illustrations are bright and colorful and highlight the similarities and differences between the two boys. I've really come to love collage as an art form and this book demonstrates the characteristics that make collage so unique. I had a fun discussion with a group of kindergartners about the different materials used in collage I had a fun dis...more
Oct 07, 2013 Kelsey rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: k-3
Same, Same But Different is a simple story of two pen pals who live in the same world, but who are part of two completely different cultures. Elliot (from the U.S) and Kailash (from India) write back and forth about different aspects of their life, such as family, school, and their hometowns. Even though their lives are different in many ways, they are still able to find similarities and come to find that even though their ways of life are different, they are still part of the same world.

This s...more
Emily H.
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...more
Elliott lives in America and Kailash lives in India. They start a relationship by being pen pals, learn that they love to play outside and climb trees, have pets, and ride a bus to school. They learn that many things in their lives are the same, same but different. It’s a terrific book to begin conversations about differences being interesting and similar, just a little different. The illustrations are happy pictures, showing fun in both places to live.
Kassie Houston
Grade: Pre-k to 2
Genre: Multicultural
Award(s):2014 Monarch Award Nominee, Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award, 2012 South Asia Book Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature

This book would be a grade addition to my class library because not only does it shows the similarities between two foriegn worlds, yet it will embrace an ESOL students feel embraced and connected with the class. These young characters shows us a different perspective on how we can communicate through pen-pal. For a...more
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