A friendship story kicks off a brand-new chapter-book series.
Maddie and her best friend, bespectacled Emily, are two peas in a DIY pod. The two girls have a shared passion for crafting. Maddie is a pro with jewelry, and Emily has an affinity for wood crafts. All is well and right in the world for the girls until a new student, Bella Diaz, comes to Birding Creek Elementary and disrupts the equilibrium of their friendship. Emily seeks refuge in the art room and with a new, male friend, Sam, whose prowess with paint and pencil, as well as sage advice, is just what Emily needs to mend fences. Soon all four children are combining forces on a new project: creating a craft studio out of the old shed in Bella’s backyard. From coding to sewing, Emily, Maddie, and their new friends are fully engulfed in the STEAM and maker ethos of the moment. The simple text moves quickly and will readily engage other burgeoning makers, who are sure to find kindred spirits among the studio members, who are diverse culturally as well as by gender: Maddie is black, Emily is white, Bella is Latina, and Sam is South Asian, all communicated via illustrations and naming conventions. Yan’s illustrations add interest and context clues for early readers, and backmatter includes instructions on how to make a friendship bracelet of one’s own.
Inviting, sweet, and timely. (Fiction. 5-9)