I’ll Believe You WhenAuthor: Susan SchubertIllustrator: Raquel BonitaLantana Publishing/Lerner BooksAges: 7 to 8 I love idioms. They are probably the most playful part of any
Mónica and Hannah have a new teacher, Miss Shelby, and they have more in common with her than they think. Mónica is from Bolivia, and misses her grandmother, and the hummingbirds they fed together in the backyard. Hanna is from Israel, and misses the way the wind whooshes through the desert, and the tortoise that lived in the sand dunes outside her house. Together, Mónica and Hannah form the Homesick Club
William was a remarkable man born to parents who had escaped slavery. His parents made a gut wrenching decision to leave behind two boys in order to escape, a fact that haunted their freedom. William was the youngest of 17 children, two lost in the south. He grew up hearing the stories of his parents’ life in slavery and it propelled him to work towards the goal of abolition.
This book is a fantastic leap into the mind of a young child burdened with her older sibling’s doom-and-gloom predictions for the future. Upset, they go to grandma who assuages their fears and shows them that beyond all the predictions of bad things lies the possibilities of good things.
In delicate drawings and without providing a single word, Sookocheff manages to give the book an interesting central figure; unfortunately, it’s not the central figure the book set out to have. This is a case where the supporting cat, steals the show.
On one particular night, a little firefly, struggling to learn to fly, happens to land on his hand. She has tried and tried to fly but has been unable to accomplish this goal. Seeing the little firefly in his hand, the boy confuses her for a star, and we soon realize that the story is in fact about this special little firefly.
Arlo the lion is exhausted, but just can’t fall asleep. As he struggles to sleep, he meets Owl, who shows him a beautiful song that she sings when she has trouble sleeping. Can that help Arlo? Does the song help him relax and prepare himself for bed?
By the end of the year, the kids realize that Ms. Gupta had been right. They made some great friends in class. But what about the next year? Ms. Gupta to the rescue again!
Primarily a lesson in friendship and patience, Will You Be My Friend? highlights the beauty and essential nature of simple play. Too often children are scheduled within an inch of their existence and play is abandoned in search of “more meaningful” activities. McBratney highlights how much simple play can accomplish in simple, unencumbered moments.