MY FRIEND by Elisa Amado


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 11
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An unnamed upper-elementary–age Latinx girl meets an unnamed white girl on her first day at a new school, and an instant rapport is formed.

She watches her new best friend’s favorite TV programs; the blonde girl’s favorite book is now her own: “cross my heart and hope to die…now it’s my favorite book, too.” After the Latinx child invites her friend over for a special dinner, it is extremely awkward; the resulting embarrassment and anger make the child yearn to return to her country. She wonders, if her friend really doesn’t know her at all, what will happen to her if no one in the entire school understands her either? Yet despite the disaster, when she sees the blonde girl waiting for her in front of the school, she realizes that they are still best friends. Amado’s portrayal of the special bond between an immigrant and a white North American is disturbingly unbalanced. The new girl, presumably from Mexico due to Ruano’s illustrations highlighting Otomí folk art in her home, absorbs the friend’s interests without any reciprocity. The invited girl has trouble finishing her dinner. “But that was okay. You’d never eaten our kind of food before.” The blonde laughs when the Latinx girl and her father sing a song that reminds them of home. “That was so weird!” There appears to be no real communication throughout the story—almost the entire relationship is inside the Latinx protagonist’s head.

An unsuccessful attempt to showcase the bridging power of friendship between cultures. (Picture book. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-55498-939-3
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Groundwood
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2019


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