The Washington Center for the Book (WCB) has selected Seattle illustrator Suzanne Kaufman’s New York Times best-selling picture book "All Are Welcome" to represent Washington state at the 2019 National Book Festival sponsored by the Library of Congress.

Each year, during the National Book Festival in Washington D.C, the Library of Congress’ Center for the Book distributes a list of books representing the literary heritage of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This year's festival, sponsored by the Library of Congress, takes place Aug. 31. "All Are Welcome" will be featured at the Washington state booth and in festival materials.


"All Are Welcome" lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school. Written by Alexandra Penfold and illustrated by Suzanne Kaufmann (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2018), the story follows a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms.

The book began with an illustration that Kaufman did after an announced travel ban in 2016. "My daughters' school, Kimball Elementary [on Beacon Hill], is comprised predominately of immigrant families from all over the world, from many different religious backgrounds," Kaufman says. "I wanted the kids in my community and all children to know they are safe and welcome at their schools." Kaufman designed a poster and made it available for librarians and teachers to download at no charge. The poster and the illustration of the kids—all modeled after children Kaufman knows— spread quickly on social media. 

Around the same time, Penfold received a letter (as did all the other NYC school parents) about how the schools would protect students' right to receive an education and not turn over any immigration information. There are 25 different languages and dialects spoken in her son's school and 80% of children speak a language other than English at home. That night before she went to sleep, she saw someone had shared Kaufman's poster on social media. She also felt the strong urge to put something out there that's reassuring to these same kids, and woke up in the middle of the night with an idea for a story to go with the poster.

"The joy and celebration in this book comes through on every page," says Linda Johns, coordinator for Washington Center for the Book.  "The fact that it was inspired by a local community and has a universal message made it an easy choice to represent Washington state at the National Book Festival."


Author Alexandra Penfold

Penfold is a literary agent with Upstart Crow Literary representing children book authors and illustrators as well as select adult projects. She is the author of several books for children: "Eat, Sleep, Poop" illustrated by Jane Massey, "We Are Brothers, We Are Friends," illustrated by Eda Kaban, "Food Truck Fest," illustrated by Mike Dutton and "The Littlest Viking," illustrated by Isabel Roxas.

Penfold's other books include "New York a la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple’s Best Food Trucks." Her writing has appeared on SeriousEats, Real Cheap Eats, InStyle Magazine and in Time Out New York.

Illustrator Suzanne Kaufmann

Kaufman is an illustrator and author whose books include "Confiscated," "Take Your Pet to School Day," "100 Bugs," "Naughty Claudine's Christmas" and "Samanthasaurus Rex." She is the recipient of The Ezra Jack Keats/Kerlan Memorial Fellowship, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Mentorship and Portfolio Honors.

Her books have been awarded Bank Street College Education Best Children’s Books of the Year Honors, Notable Books for a Global Society, Mathical Honor Award and Amazon Best Children Book of the Year. She lives in Seattle with her husband and two daughters.


WCB is a partnership of the Washington State Library and The Seattle Public Library. It is a state affiliate of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress. WCB promotes literacy and a love of books, reading and libraries throughout the state, celebrating Washington’s robust literary heritage.