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I NEVER KNEW YOUR NAME by Sherry Garland


by Sherry Garland & illustrated by Sheldon Greenberg

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-395-69686-0

 New to the apartment complex, a boy troubled by his own losses observes an older youth's loneliness. Addressing the teenager (who, we learn at the end, has committed suicide), the narrator describes how he watched the older boy make friends with a stray dog, how he heard his own sister make fun of him, and how he sympathized with the other boy's despondency as classmates set out for the prom. The narrator thought of trying to make friends, but his own hopelessness discouraged him. The last night, he had backed off when he saw that, while feeding the pigeons on the roof, the older boy was weeping. Later, the ambulance came. In Garland's graceful text, each quiet incident telegraphs a failed connection. Although no one reaches out to this young man (or to the narrator), each failure to do so is clearly presented as a missed opportunity. Greenberg makes his picture-book debut with generalized impressionistic paintings that reflect the somber tone, characterizing the lanky blond suicide as shy and introspective, a nice, ordinary-looking youth whose gestures toward friendship are too tentative for his self-absorbed peers to notice. A disturbing, careful, and thought-provoking book. (Picture book. 6-10)*jus