It’s Okay to be Different

Stories by Todd Parr

A Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia Production, co-Presented with Axis Theatre

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March 16 - 24, 2024
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Waterfront Theatre
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Age Recommendation
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Running Time
45 minutes

(Please check back soon for more updates !)

Vocal Eye Live Description
ASL Interpretation
Relaxed Performances
Mask Mandatory Performance
March 16, 2024 11:00 AM

Show Information

Todd Parr is the author and illustrator of more than 71 books for children. His books are available in over forty countries throughout the world. With his signature blend of playfulness and sensitivity, he explores important and timely subjects. It’s Okay to Be Different cleverly delivers the important messages of acceptance, understanding, and self-confidence.

Mermaid’s new show features a diverse cast, an innovative approach to puppetry manipulation and construction, combined with playful original music for which the company has earned worldwide praise.

School group bookings for performances from March 12 - 15, 2024 are available through Axis Theatre at

Show warnings: theatre will be dark

Show Schedule

Public Performances

Sat, March 16 | 11:00AM - Mask Mandatory Performance

Sat, March 16 | 2:00PM

Sat, March 16 | 4:00PM

Sun, March 17 | 11:00AM

Sun, March 17 | 2:00PM

Tues, March 19 | 11:00AM

Tues, March 19 | 2:00PM

Wed, March 20 | 11:00AM

Wed, March 20 | 2:00PM

Thurs, March 21 | 11:00AM

Thurs, March 21 | 2:00PM

Fri, March 22 | 11:00AM

Fri, March 22 | 2:00PM

Sat, March 23 | 11:00AM

Sat, March 23 | 2:00PM

Sat, March 23 | 4:00PM

Sun, March 24 | 1:00PM

Sun, March 24 | 4:00PM

School Performances

Tues, March 12 | 10:00AM

Tues, March 12 | 1:00PM

Wed, March 13 | 10:00AM

Wed, March 13 | 1:00PM

Thurs, March 14 | 10:00AM

Thurs, March 14 | 1:00PM

Fri, March 15 | 10:00AM

Fri, March 15 | 1:00PM

Cast & Creative

Author / Illustrator – Todd Parr

Director / Production Designer – Jim Morrow

Composer – Asif Illyas

Sound Producer – Shehab Illyas

Narrator (The Earth Book) – Rebecca Thomas

Narrators (It’s Okay To Be Different) – Students from Armbrae Academy: Laura Britton, Nicholas Wang, Lachlan MacSween, Lydia Muchangi, Milena Tucker, Anik Jeyakumar

Project Manager – Struan Robertson

Associate Designers – Deborah MacLean & Rosie Browning

Scenic Painter – Lisa Bedard

Supplemental Reading List

This Book List is generously created by our friends at Massy Books.
Please note that CTYP does not thoroughly investigate the books listed.

Hair Oil Magic
Anu Chouhan

Ages: 3 to 6 years

Local author!

Description: Meenu loves Magic Hair Days, when Mommy mixes sweet-smelling oils together and massages the potion into Meenu's scalp and hair. It always leaves Meenu with a fuzzy, magical feeling. And after bath time, when Mom washes the oils out, Meenu's hair is soft and shining.
When Meenu decides one day to mix the oils without any help, she discovers something's wrong: No matter how many oils she mixes, the magic just isn't there! What is she missing? But when Mommy comes to help, massaging Meenu's head, the fuzzy, magical feeling returns! Was it really in the oils, or something else?

Themes: Cultural traditions, family, memory, joyful traditions

Julián Is a Mermaid
Jessica Love

Ages: 4 to 8 years

Description: In an exuberant picture book, a glimpse of costumed mermaids leaves one boy flooded with wonder and ready to dazzle the world.

While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a butter-yellow curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes —and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself?

Themes: Self-love, individuality, self-expression, queerness, pride in being different

I Want to Be a Vase
Julian Glander

Ages: 4 to 8 years

Description: Former SNL writer and comedic rising star Julio Torres takes readers on a journey through the lives and intimate dramas of some of the unsung shapes of our time in this picture book inspired by his HBO special My Favorite Shapes.

Shapes. You’ve heard of them. You might have even interacted with a few. But do you really know them? From plucky Plunger, who wishes to defy his shape and become a beautiful vase, to other household objects with dreams of a life beyond their predestined roles, I Want to Be a Vase takes readers on an essential and visually stunning journey through the lives and intimate dramas of often-overlooked household appliances.

Very funny!

Themes: Being different, finding your place in the world, dreaming, uniqueness

Dancing the Tinikling
Peyton Bobbie & Diobelle Cerna

Ages: 5 to 8 years

Description: "Jojo, come dance!" Lola (grandma) calls, inviting him to leap between the clapping and slapping bamboo poles and dance the traditional Filipino dance, tinikling, with her. Whirling, twirling, and singing in Tagalog, Jojo tries but trips. Lola dances between the two poles easily, the same way she dances between their American and Filipino cultures--Jojo knows that dance! And finally, spinning and hopping to the rhythm of his life, he's dancing the tinikling and learning what it means to celebrate your roots and also find your place in a new homeland.

Themes: Migration, belonging, identity, intergenerational relationships, fitting in

Same My Name
Joanna Ho & Khoa Le

Ages: 4 to 8 years

Description: Names are more than just names.  Names reveal generational ties and histories, weaving an intricate tale of the past. Names—and correctly saying them—are important. Names carry hopes, dreams, traditions, personality, ancestry, and legacy.

This book presents 6 children who each introduce themselves by name, and what their names mean to them. These captivating kids of Chinese, Tongan, Persian, Navajo, Mexican, and Ghanaian descent also honor their ancestors and cultural histories.

Includes a pronunciation guide!

Themes: celebrating diversity, pronunciation, empathy, culture, heritage

Sankofa: A Culinary Story of Resilience and Belonging
Eric Adjepong & Lala Watkins

Ages: 4 to 8 years

Description: Inspired by the author’s own childhood, this is the powerful story of a young boy’s culinary journey 400 years into the past to reconnect with his African roots. For Kofi, a first-generation Ghanaian American boy, home is a country called Ghana. But it’s a place he’s never been. When tasked to bring a dish that best represents his family’s culture to school for a potluck lunch, Kofi is torn. With the help of his grandfather, Kofi learns the hardship and resilience his family has endured—and how food has always been an integral part their story and culture.

Author is an acclaimed chef! Includes a recipe!

Themes: Reclaiming culture & identity, first-generation children, food, celebrating one’s cultural identity

The Truth about Dragons
Julie Leung & Hanna Cha

Ages: 4 to 9 years

Description: A young child discovers the magic of his own uniqueness through the storytelling of his two grandmothers from different sides of his family.

He quests into two very different forests, as his grandmothers help him discover two different, but equally enchanting, truths about dragons.

Eastern and Western mythologies coexist and enrich each other in this warm celebration of mixed cultural identity.

Themes: Cultural heritage, identity, celebrating our unique backgrounds

Too Much: My Great Big Native Family
Laurel Goodluck & Bridget George

Ages: 4 to 8 years

Description: A little boy wants a chance to shine on his own but discovers that being apart from his large and lively Native family isn’t necessarily better in this heartwarming and humorous picture book.

When Russell gets a part in the school play, he lights up like a shining star—and he can’t wait to tell his big, boisterous Native family the exciting news. But catching their attention when they all gettogether feels impossible; no matter where they go, they seem to be too noisy, too many, and just too much!

Russell decides to keep his big debut to himself and fly solo for once…but being alone may not be the answer. After all, there’s no such thing as too much love, and when he needs them most, his great big family knows how to be just enough.

Themes: Family, need for validation, support, being different, belonging

Airlie Anderson

Ages: 3 and under

Description: In this colorful and touching board book that celebrates what makes each of us unique, a little creature that's not quite a bird and not quite a bunny—it's "neither"—searches for a place to fit in.

In the Land of This and That, there are only two kinds: blue bunnies and yellow birds. But one day a funny green egg hatches, and a little creature that's not quite a bird and not quite a bunny pops out. It's neither!

Neither sets out to find a new home and discovers a very different place, one with endless colors and shapes and creatures of all kinds. But when a blue bunny and a yellow bird with some hidden differences of their own arrive, it's up to Neither to decide if they are welcome in the Land of All.

Themes: diversity, uniqueness, fitting in, differencesbringing people together

Little Dumplings
Jekka Kuhlmann, Krissy Kuhlmann & Haley Hazell

Ages: 3 years and under

Description: A multicultural boardbook for little foodies,celebrating dumplings from kitchens all over the world.  Everyone is welcome at this dumplingcelebration!  A multicultural celebrationthat speaks to the ways in which food brings people together and teaches usthat differences are something to love and appreciate!  

Themes: cultural heritage, food, celebrating differences, sharing joy

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