The Cutest Face (2010):
Celebrating Diversity and Equity in the Classroom
Today classrooms across the country are culturally diverse microcosms that bring together some of the most unique people. Within such an environment, both students and teachers are afforded rich opportunities to learn from one another.
Showcasing original oil portraits by the author, The Cutest Face is a story that takes place on photo day at school. The teacher narrator describes each student as they come into the classroom, affirming their individual beauty and uniqueness. While the text speaks subtly to the children’s similarities, difference is alluded to through the illustrations, evoking a message of inclusion. The teacher is not depicted visually, so as not to inadvertently suggest the superiority of the authority figure’s ethnicity. It concludes with an image of the class composite photo and a line that speaks to the beautiful picture made by everyone, all together
“In no small measure, The Cutest Face helps to open up critical discussions to learn about each other and ourselves, and to maximize the benefits that come with having a diverse schooling community.”
- George J. SEFA DEI
Professor of Sociology and Equity Studies, OISE University of Toronto
“I enjoyed reading The Cutest Face, and through it being able to meet Rebecca Codack Zak’s wonderful characters. Her magical children’s portraits are a joy to see.”
- John BIANCHI, Best-selling children’s author
“Beautifully illustrated, showing the richest of diversity that makes Canadian classes so special!”.
- Eric WALTERS
Best selling children’s author
10 books ($13 each): $130
Class Set Offer
25 books ($12 each): $300
As educators in the 2010s, we widely recognize the need for our classrooms and curriculum to reflect the diversity of Canadian society. The Cutest Face aims to meet the goals outlined in the ETFO document, Respecting Cultures and Honouring Differences (2002) of
(1) modeling socially acceptable responses to a wide variety of situations in school
(2) modeling skills to build positive relationships and citizenship
(3) emphasizing the variety of characteristics, skills, competencies, qualities and talents of others.
It was written in keeping with province-wide initiatives and current educational research on children’s literature, equity studies, and sociology.
Right click to download Cutest Face Teacher’s Guide PDF
“Literacy is about more than reading or writing – it is about how we communicate in society. It is about social practices and relationships, about knowledge, language and culture.”
- UNESCO, Statement for the UN Literacy Decade, 2003–2012
“We know that when students see themselves reflected in their studies, they are more likely to stay engaged and find school relevant.”
- Ontario’s Equity & Inclusive Education Strategy (2009, p. 15)