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KEYANA LOVES HER FRIEND by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley


by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley ; illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow

Pub Date: Dec. 12th, 2023
ISBN: 9780316056885
Publisher: Little, Brown

A much-anticipated reunion between two pals gets off to a rocky start.

The protagonist, whom readers may remember from Keyana Loves Her Family (2022), is excited: Her best friend, Nia, who moved away last year, is back in town. Keyana has big plans for Nia’s visit. She’s hoping for the “biggest, most spectacular sleepover ever,” which will include activities that the two have enjoyed together in the past, such as bike riding. Nia has her own plans, however: She’s bringing a scooter instead of a bicycle and has arrived with a new hairstyle and different interests. Unsurprisingly, the girls’ diverging opinions about how they should be spending their time together lead to frustration, confrontation, and a tearful confession about friendship fears. Fortunately, Keyana’s parents are there to help the duo work together to create new traditions and embrace the next stage of their friendship. Tarpley has a strong ear for dialogue—the children’s banter rings true and also captures the intense emotions that often characterize young friendships. Created digitally and finished with a handmade watercolor texture overlay, the inviting illustrations convey the excitement of the text. Pinkney Barlow’s attention to detail, such as the Black dolls that the girls play with, continues to make this series an authentic and positive representation of Black families and communities, as well as the joyous childhood traditions that exist within them.

A loving example of how to navigate friendship challenges.

(Picture book. 4-9)