The We Belong Bunch: Pookie J. 's School Day Book Review and Interview with Authors Dr. Samuel and Angela Johnson

“When we’re talking about diversity, it ‘s not a box to check. It is a reality that should be deeply felt and held and valued by all of us.” Ava DuVernay

How many times have you talked about Diversity? When was the last time you suggested Inclusion? Diversity and Inclusion can affect everyone, but where can we start talking about diversity? Home and school are the best places, a  multicultural education is an important component. It is important just like reading, writing, science, history, and math. We might not believe in the same thing, but we can learn from one another and that is something to value.  The first time I heard about The We Belong Bunch I saw a drawing of The We Belong Bunch Friends. I was impressed by the diversity and of course the cuteness overload.

Together We Focus LLC presents, The We Belong Bunch: Pookie J.’s School Dayis a book all about celebrating and understanding differences. The book is told from the perspective of a little boy named Pookie J. who goes through a usual school day with his close friends, The We Belong Bunch. Pookie J. wants to be a professor like his father who also encourages him to follow his dreams and teaches him that everyone belongs. Pookie J. describes all his friends, not by their features or their beliefs, but by their dreams and aspirations. Even his teacher, Ms. Crawford, nurtures his classmates, encourages them to work hard, and tells them to believe in themselves. The authors Dr. Samuel Johnson and his wife Angela Johnson are showing that kids and adults might come from different backgrounds, but they can offer so much!

The We Belong Bunch also has their own song/book trailer titled You’re My Friend (which is below). I love the song! It goes perfectly with the story. It talks about being friends, loving each, taking care of each other, and embracing each other’s differences.

But mostly, I am glad that the authors Dr. Samuel and Angela Johnson were able to sit down and answer a few questions for Miss T’s Book Room. Please read, listen, and comment on the video and the blog!  

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I have been an educator of children for close to 18 years. I am a graduate of The Ohio State University, Wright State University, and Howard University. I am married to co-author of the “We Belong Bunch” Angela Johnson. 

What made you want to write books for children?
 With all that is going on in our society, there seems to be an uprising of disrespect or a lack of empathy for people. Our children learn from the adults concerning how they should treat others that don’t necessarily look like or share their same beliefs. This book was written as an effort for students, parents, teachers, and community members to communicate the idea that “We all Belong” despite our differences.

I love the "You're My Friend " song. How did you come up with that song? What made you put a song with the book? 
Thank you so much! I wanted to write a song that depicted the theme of the book that could connect with both children and adults. I wrote the lyrics, Rob Hittz composed the music, while Sid Johnson served as the producer. Sid Johnson co-wrote the 80’s hits called “Slow Jam” by Midnight Star and “Two Occasions by a group called the Deele which featured Babyface. The vocals were provided by Mark Scott from Cincinnati who did just a fantastic job on the track. Lastly, we released a song that would coincide with the book because music makes things come alive.  The song and animated video allow the opportunity for the characters to jump off the page while spreading a positive message.

What do you plan on doing next in terms of children's literature?

We are planning on releasing the second book in “The We Belong Bunch” series.

What was one of the most surprising thing you learned in creating this book/project?
We were trying to ensure that we wrote a book that would enlighten our readers and really tried to touch on the themes of friendship, embracing differences, grit, and the adults being role models for children. We really tried to attempt to tie all those themes together as best we could so the readers could really get something out of it.

Where can people buy your book?

Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


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