And, of course, school will be starting soon.
Even the boldest and most confident child harbors a small fearful spot in the pit of the stomach when thinking about the possibilities that lie ahead. For some, that spot looms large, a black hole of anxiety about making friends, being the last chosen, sitting alone at lunch, feeling lost in a new building, or forgetting names.
Unless I'm way off, adults heading off to a new job often feel the same.
|Schwartz and Wade Books, 2012|
Until the day Alice takes the Lonely Book home, creates her own last page ending, sleeps with it, and gives the lonely book a home on her bedroom bookshelf.
Library books must be returned, and Alice forgets to renew it. Thus begins a very lonely time for both Alice and the book. It languishes in the "to be sold" stack in the library basement, is passed over on sale day, and is nearly ruined when a sudden storm arrives- at the same time Alice does. Of course it's a happy ending. Alice never forgot the book, and the book always hoped to once again be loved.
Bernheimer's touching story is rendered heartfelt and sincere through Sheban's muted and subtle illustrations. Anyone who has ever felt a special bond with a specific book, made friends with a character, or recognized themselves in a particular story will have no trouble believing the truth of The Lonely Book.
Read more about THE LONELY BOOK in Kirkus review in January, 2012. and in a post from Gulliver's Quality Books and Toys, among others.
There are many potential touchpoints for this story beyond the surface. In a culture that often glorifies the bling-iest, shiniest things, looking beyond the newest and latest to discover lasting treasures (in people and in books) is a valuable lesson. The same is true for not judging a book (or person) by its cover, and valuing age. My favorite take-away from this story is the idea that books, new or old, rely on readers to come alive. The Lonely Book was not in need of a friend, it needed a partner, someone with whom to share its story, to even recreate what must have been the missing ending- happily ever after, of course.
|Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2011|
Eloquent text and setting-rich images infused with emotion and everyday experiences in distant cultures make this another book that works on many levels and for many purposes. It is an especially good example of normalizing daily life in widely distant cultures, suggesting visually that we are more alike than different.
A Kirkus review does justice to the visual tale enhancing this loving text. A video interview with Bryan Collier can be found at Reading Rockets.org.
Bottom line? Books can comfort, reassure, befriend and strengthen us, even on lonely days. If you know someone heading off to school with a pocketful of loneliness in tow, you just might tuck a familiar book in the backpack to offer the comfort of a friend.