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I Have Missed Books

A Sharing of My Best Friend by Julie Fogliano & Jillian Tamaki

This was a different kind of reading summer. Normally, I go to local libraries on hot days, browse the recent releases in the children’s section for hours, and check out stacks upon stacks of beautiful books. I visit small, local bookstores and linger over the staff picks and recommendations. I read book blogs and pop titles into my online library request cart and feel a little thrill when I’m notified that my requests are ready for pick up. At the beginning of every school year, I am armed with a selection of new titles I can’t wait to share with my colleagues and our collective students.

However, this summer has been different. The libraries have been closed to visitors since March, and while curbside pickup and shipping has been available from many local bookstores, going in and leisurely browsing has not been an option in our COVID world. I have missed those moments of new book discovery.

Three weeks ago, I received my first notification of the summer that my first interlibrary loan was ready for curbside pickup. My heart did a little dance of joy. I rode my bike to the library at my designated time to pick up my treasure and rushed home to read it… and it was a moment of sweet book-loving joy.

The book was My Best Friend by Julie Fogliano & Jillian Tamaki.

It’s told from the perspective of a young girl about her best friend. The language is ohmygosh incredibly sweet and lovely, and the writing perfectly captures a little one’s voice. Complimentary colored illustrations are just beautiful. The expressions on the characters’ faces captured the happiness I felt as I read it.

There is a particularly beautiful illustration of a hug that in this time of not being able to hug that made me feel a tiny lump in my throat.

There’s also some solid thinking and interpretation work for our youngest readers/learners to do as they turn the last page. They will want to quickly flip to the beginning to read it again to notice all the things they might not have the first time through. (Although I know I’m not a young learner, I totally did!)

This book totally warmed my heart and helped fill that new book discovery loss I’ve been feeling. It also reminded me that most children have an uncanny knack to make friends quickly and with their whole heart. This gave me a spot of hope for new groupings of children in the rapidly approaching and still uncertain fall.

Once again, a picture book has helped to light my path.

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