Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Same, Same But Different” as Want to Read:
Same, Same But Different
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Same, Same But Different

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,475 ratings  ·  383 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)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Same, Same But Different, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Same, Same But Different

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,475 ratings  ·  383 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Same, Same But Different
Apr 17, 2018 added it
Shelves: 2018, picture-books
I just

I hate books like this. So often they position western, urban cities with eastern or southern hemisphere rural environments, even though both of those places also have the other type of region. And often the person who is less privileged than the character whose background/country of origin matches the place where the book was published is portrayed as wide eyed and childish.

This is far from the worst offender in this "genre." And I actually really love how the illustrations come together
Nov 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 12-texas-2x2, picture
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
Katherine Tatum
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wow-books
I enjoyed this book because of its focus on the importance of understanding and acceptance of other cultures. The author, Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw, writes in a very positive tone. She celebrates the differences between the two characters and allows the reader to see the American and Indian cultures side-by-side.

This realistic fiction book would be great to read aloud to children in grades K-5, as it should spark many wonderful conversations about differences and similarities amongst cultures. I
May 24, 2011 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
Amy Forrester
Jan 17, 2012 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
Apr 19, 2015 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
Apr 19, 2015 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.' ...more
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.
Apr 21, 2014 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
Oct 18, 2016 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
Jan 15, 2012 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
Brandi M.
Jun 11, 2014 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
Lindsay Weideman
Apr 26, 2014 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 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
Aug 23, 2011 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
Jun 09, 2014 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
Betty Ortega
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
* Book Summary
Two little boys one from the United States and one from idea exchange letters to compare their world. They realize how similiar yet different they are. For example, the Indian student has pets just like Elliot but it is not a dog or cat his pets are cows, sheeps, and horses.
Ezra Jack Keats Book Award for New Illustrator (2012), South Asia Book Award for Grades 5 & Under (2012)

* Grade Level/ Interest level
2nd grade
* Appropriate Classroom Use
I would use this book when le
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Same, Same but Different, is a great book about two different boys from different sides of the worlds. They are pen pals through their schools and explain to each other their daily lives. The book's illustrations show how the two boys live similar lives just in different places. They describe how they live with their families, in towns and cities, and what they learn in school. I really enjoyed how the book shows cultural difference like how in America we shake hands to say hello but in India th ...more
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 28, 2011 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
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! ...more
Janine Darragh
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
I loved this picture book about pen pals who, in sharing about their lives, realize that they have many, many similarities (amongst their differences) despite living in two different countries. I am hoping to recreate a version of this book with children in Idaho and children in Nicaragua this summer, and as such, I have both the English and Spanish versions of the text-- a fun read!
Edward Sullivan
Aug 24, 2011 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.
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! ...more
Oct 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Beautiful artwork, nice story.
Oct 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This book helps young readers to know that even though our skin and culture maybe different, we are the same. Good book to help children learn about acceptance.
Kyle Sweezy
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: life
1. This book won the following awards: Illinois Monarch K-3 Children's Choice AW ML, Illinois Monarch Award: K-3 Children's Choice Award Master List, GA Picture Storybook Award ML, Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award, Texas Armadillo Readers' Choice, MD Frostburg State University Children's Literature Centre Award, Indiana Young Hoosier Award Master List.

2. This book is appropriate for grades Pre-K to Second Grade.

3. Same, Same But Different by Jenny Sue Kotstecki-Shaw is about a pen-pal relat
Makayla Harrison
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-31-40
This is a cute book following the lives of two students in different parts of the world. These two students write letters back and forth talking about their lives and their schools. They talk about similarities and differences in their lives.
This book was an interesting, and well written book. The plot could be hard to follow for younger students considering it is written about letters, but other than that it was great!
Teaching point:
This book could be used to teach students
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
(ages 4-7) While I sympathize with criticisms that this compares the life of a child in a Western city with a poorer child living in a more rural developing country, the fact remains that Kailash's life still reflects the reality of many kids. ( The population of Indians living in urban areas didn't rise above 30% until 2011.) Many children, like Kailash, live with extended families in semi-rural towns where livestock and bicycles mix with gas-powered traffic. I thought the author did a good job ...more
Christina/ The Blog for Teachers, Readers, & Life!
Ages: 2-6

Same, Same but Different is a look at two pen pals that live in two different parts of the world. Elliot describes his everyday activities living in America in his letters to Kailash who live in India. Although the two boys engage in similar activities, their environments look completely different. The vivid drawings make this book come to life.

Awards/Recognitions: Ezra Jack Keats Book Award
Find more children's books that support diversity and tolerance in my post https://www.teacher-li
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Culturally relevant 1 2 Sep 26, 2020 11:26AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • It's Okay to Be Different
  • All Are Welcome
  • Whoever You Are
  • The Name Jar
  • Maddi's Fridge
  • Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad
  • Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress
  • The Colors of Us
  • Happy in Our Skin
  • The Day You Begin
  • Those Shoes
  • Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Méndez and Her Family's Fight for Desegregation
  • Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin
  • Be Kind
  • The Invisible Boy
  • Last Stop on Market Street
  • Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music
  • The World Needs More Purple People
See similar books…

News & Interviews

Readers have a lot to look forward to this year! Just feast your eyes upon all of these debut books to check out and emerging authors to...
165 likes · 41 comments