My Friend Mei Jing by Anna McQuinn, artwork by Ben Frey, photography by Irvin Cheung
Following My Friend Jamal, this book captures the friendship of Monifa and Mei Jing. The two friends both love art, the color purple, and they both plan to be veterinarians when they grow up. Even when the two friends are different, there are things that resonate in their cultures. Both of them have names that mean something in the language of their grandparents. Both have grandmothers that make really weird food like chicken feet and cow foot. And best of all, both of them are best friends!
McQuinn has created a series where our differences and similarities are celebrated side-by-side. The power of friendship is at the core of the book and that friendship is based on the fact that the girls are so similar in personality and what they enjoy, even though their backgrounds seem very different on the surface. The art in books is a vibrant combination of photography and painting. Though the girls are seen with their heads as photographs, usually their clothing is painted and so is most of their surroundings. This technique makes for visually interesting illustrations.
A book that will get all children seeing how they are more alike than they are different, this book should have a place on most school and public library shelves. Appropriate for ages 5-8.
Reviewed from copy received from publisher.