Lucia Matuonto’s Zoe the Crab: Lost on the Beach is a wonderfully unique children’s story designed to teach young readers about bravery, compassion, and ultimately inclusion.
The story follows an adorable crab named Zoe. Zoe is afraid of the beach because of potential predators, but she has always longed to make friends. One day, Zoe gets into an accident and suffers a claw injury. After her accident, Zoe gets lost and needs to find her way home.
Throughout her adventure, she meets different animals, such as Ned the rabbit and Sophia the snake. Zoe notices that the way she walks, sideways like all crabs, is completely different than the way Ned or Sophia move. They also share to each other the prejudice that they have experienced, such as how scary snakes can be. Nevertheless, the three different animals form a strong friendship and defy the stereotypes that they have always encountered.
An unlikely team, these three characters show how to include diverse types of individuals, which is a theme that more children’s books need to cover. They exemplify the value behind coming together and not fearing what is different. Zoe shows the reader that you don’t need to be afraid of being different, or be afraid of what is different. Instead, she teaches us how to be brave. The compassion that they show each other throughout the story is heartwarming and touching, and sure to be an incredibly positive influence on our young readers out there.
Matuonto has a natural talent of exploring complex issues for young readers in a way that never feels condescending, but rather, inspiring and respectful. This book would be an amazing resource for schools as well, to promote inclusion and to celebrate our differences. Overall, Zoe the Crab: Lost on the Beach is a fun and playful book which allows young readers to understand and relate to the idea of what it is to be an inclusive person.
Article by Maya Hafez