A heart-warming, inclusive, and whimsical picture book about a square trying to fit into a world of circles. This book celebrates what makes everyone unique and special.
Perfect for teachers and parents to teach kids the importance of inclusivity.
Great resource for discussing topics like acceptance, empathy, bullying, and more.
A universal message that applies to anyone!
In a world of circles, Square feels different! In public, Square wears extra shapes to try to fit in, but pretending to be a circle all the time is hard work.
When Square trips and falls at a big, beautiful circle party, everyone learns the truth about Square’s identity. In the end, Square realizes many friends are different shapes, too, and learns to celebrate the uniqueness of every shape (including the square!).
About the Author
Haruka Aoki (she / they) is a Japanese artist, poet, and award-winning illustrator. Her work aims to inspire individuals with both wit and sincerity as her hand-drawn characters engage the world around them. As a child of parents who travelled around the world, often unsure of where “home” would be next, Haruka found and continues to find comfort in nature and community, a constant starting point in their work.
John Olson (he / they) is a graphic designer, art director, illustrator, and performance artist living in Harlem. Originally from Poughkeepsie, NY, he spent seven years in Columbus, Ohio before adopting NYC as his home. John has an undergraduate degree from the Columbus College of Art and Design and a masters degree from Pratt Institute. Along with his love of design, John has a passion for LGBTQ activism and visual storytelling.
"Another 2022 release we loved (and that's a kid-favorite!) . . . [Fitting In] is a metaphor about the ways we feel pressure to change who we are to “fit in” when really it’s best to just be ourselves and allow others to do the same. . . . It’s also a gentle reminder to caregivers that our kids are not cookie cutter versions of ourselves, and they deserve the space to be true to themselves and become who they are." —The Conscious Kid, @theconsciouskid
"The illustrations are brightly colored and emotive, making the shapes easy to relate to despite not being human. . . . This book would be a great addition to any SEL collection, as readers follow Square’s journey from feeling different to a community that accepts them for who they are. . . . Readers feeling like they don’t fit in will connect strongly with Square; teachers and students alike will find Square’s journey endearing and enjoyable." —School Library Journal
"What a celebration of self! Aoki and Olson tell a beautiful story in word and art that will help readers of any age see they are beautiful just the way they are! Be you circle, square, or even octagonal, Fitting In is a celebration of standing out! Bravo!" —Andrew Levitt / Nina West, American drag queen, host of Storytime with Nina, actor, activist, contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race (2019), and winner of Miss Congeniality
"Everyone do yourself a favor and go and grab this amazing children's book!" —Shane Burcaw, author of Stranger's Assume My Girlfriend is My Nurse and Laughing at My Nightmare
"Accepting and becoming yourself is at the heart of all heroes’ journeys, and has probably been a theme in stories since, well, since there have been stories. And yet, Haruka and John, with deep simplicity and sweet, poppy artwork, have spun some entirely new and fresh gold from this timeless straw. Fitting In is a heartwarming and joyous book, and I found myself cheering along with the characters as I finished the story." —David Soman, New York Times bestselling co-creator of the Ladybug Girl series with his wife Jacky Davis
"With humor, warmth, and joy, Fitting In is a book that will give kids a message of hope that self-acceptance, connections with others, and our differences make us simply more human than not. For parents, a firm and light reminder that our children simply DO NOT fit into our circles; they need their own sandboxes to play in." —Brian C. Jo, PhD, Clinical Psychologist, Columbia University; Parent to a 6-Year-Old Daughter
"A beautifully illustrated, thoughtful, and playful story about what it means to let go of our social conditioning, become who we are, and give others permission to do the same." —Majo Molfino, author of Break the Good Girl Myth
"We spend our lives in pursuit of 'fitting in.' We forget that it is our inside looking at the other’s outside! Wonderful book by Haruka Aoki and John Olson exploring psychological impact of finding self identity." —Nidhi Goel, MD, Psychiatrist
"Everyone can relate to the struggles of trying to fit in. Haruka and John's friendly shape characters make great companions in this bright, heartfelt story about finally learning to let your light shine." —Vida Rose, Artist and Creator of @Comics_and_Selfcare
"Fitting In shares a wonderful and empowering message for all children struggling to understand themselves and the world around them! With it's whimsical and inviting illustrations, it gently validates the loneliness that many kids feel while highlighting the happiness and connection that comes by embracing our unique qualities. Through it's fantastic metaphor of living in a world of circles, it can help both kids and parents discuss their feelings and find their own shape!" —Casey O'Brien, PsyD, Columbia University
"Fitting In should be part of every child’s book collection and every adult’s too. It is a good reminder that no one really 'fits in' and to be true to ourselves." —Lisanna Wallance, author of The Natural Witch's Cookbook —Lisanna Wallance, author of The Natural Witch's Cookbook
"A magical book for children, along with the adults in their life, highlighting accidental courage and the celebration and freedom of not fitting in. It will be sure to spark conversations about self-acceptance, uniqueness, and the transcendent qualities of truly fitting based on our humanness. This book will foster the opportunity to teach children and their caregivers to celebrate what’s different about each of us." —Jonathan Liss, PhD, Columbia University
"What a fun, colorful book with a powerful message: be yourself." —Hannah Wnorowski, creator of The Deck of Character
"This children's book contains powerful therapeutic messages for all children and adults alike. Everyone, regardless of who you are, is invited to Haruka & John's colorful, warm, loving world. Start reading, and begin embracing just who you are!" — Yuko Parris, LMHC Psychotherapist