Jenny Mei Is Sad by Tracy Subisak (9780316537711)
A little girl knows that her best friend is sad. She can tell even though Jenny continues to smile, share and make others laugh. Some days though, Jenny isn’t as happy. She gets angry and has to stay late to talk with the teacher. The little girl waits for Jenny to be done and they walk home together. The walk is quiet and they stop for popsicles. One blue and one purple, one blue tongue and one purple tongue. Jenny doesn’t answer when she is asked how she is doing, but her friend stays with her for all of the fun and not-fun times.
This picture book sensitively looks at how a child experiencing a difficulty at home, in this case an adult facing a health crisis, changes and acts. It also shows what a supportive friendship looks like, which really means just being there, asking once, and then listening when they want to talk. The main character of the book isn’t named and the book is told in her voice, making it all the more personal.
The text of the book never directly shares what is happening to Jenny, but the pictures reveal it when Jenny returns home at the end of the day. The illustrations are focused on the girls themselves and their relationship with one another, whether they are across the room or holding hands.
Full of empathy and kindness. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from e-galley provided by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.