My Best Friend

by Mary Ann Rodman and E.B. Lewis

Six-year-old Lily has a best friend named Tamika. Tamika is seven years old, has... read more

Six-year-old Lily has a best friend named Tamika. Tamika is seven years old, has beaded cornrows, and wears “a two-piece bathing suit with pink butterflies and three rows of ruffles” to the neighborhood pool. Tamika is just about perfect, except that she doesn’t know she’s Lily’s best friend. In fact, she’s not interested in being Lily’s friend at all; she’s much too busy playing with Shanice. Determined to win Tamika over, Lily offers her floating noodle, and tries to share her Popsicle. She even gets a two-piece bathing suit just like Tamika’s. Nothing seems to work until the day Shanice isn’t at the pool. Finally Tamika has time for Lily. They play mermaids, split Popsicles, and use the slide. Lily is “so happy I think I will pop”—but her joy is shortlived. The next pool day Shanice is back and Tamika ignores Lily once again. After many painful rejections, Lily at last opens her eyes to the friend who was there all along: Keesha. A first grader like herself, Keesha “is nice. Who cares if she’s not Tamika?” With a sure touch, Mary Ann Rodman uses the realistic voices of six- and seven-year-olds to bring to life an honest story about friendship. Whether they’ve played the part of Lily, or Tamika, or both at one time or another, young listeners resonate with Lily’s believable predicament and determination. Watercolor illustrations capture the African American children working out their relationships poolside, in light-filled pages where one can almost hear the splashing and feel the sun’s heat. Winner, 2006 Charlotte Zolotow Award (Ages 5–8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2006

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