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A Smile Can Start a Friendship in a Lesson Learned in Charming Picture Book and Story

Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

Smiles Can Make a Big Difference When Seeking a New Friend

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Finding a Friend With Just a Smile

Rebecca Evan's picture book and story Alone Like Me has a life lesson for young readers who want new friends. Many children have moved to new places and that is true for children in our society today, with immigrant families coming to new cities and towns, and families who move to new towns and cities in search of work and better housing options. Young children are often lonely in this situation.

Liling used to live in the mountains in China with her parents. Her family moved to a new city and now her mom works in a sewing factory. Liling goes to the factory everyday, but she feels that she really does not belong at the factory. She sees a little girl in a yellow coat at the market one day when she and her mom are shopping. They exchange smiles as their moms hurry them along. Liling watched for the little girl as they walk through the market, but did not see her again.

Liling stood on her balcomy back at their new apartment and could see all of the tall buildings, cars and lots of people. All of a sudden, there she is! The little girl in the yellow coat lives in the building next to Liling. They exchange smiles every night before bed. Liling has a wonderful idea as to how to introduce herself to the little girl. They discover a way to share and communicate with each other and a new friend is finally found.

The illustrations in Alone Like Me are done with interesting colors. Most of the illustrations are presented in neutral and light blues and grays. Liling's coat is illustrated with red, a favorite color of the Chinese. The little girl's yellow coat is highlighted in yellow. Liling's drawings are illustrated in color and the special notes that the new friends write to each other have red texts.

Alone Like Me has a special lesson for young readers for finding new friends. A smile can go a long way with children when they encounter loneliness in a new place.

Alone Like Me is recommended for ages 5-8. It was published by Anne Schwartz Books, a division of Penguin/Random House, and has an ISBN of 978-0-593-18192-8.

Intriguing Illustrations With the Use of Colors

Liling goes to the factory with her parents instead of school in the new city

Liling goes to the factory with her parents instead of school in the new city

Feeling lonely in the new city

Feeling lonely in the new city

The view from Liling's new apartment

The view from Liling's new apartment

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Liling has an idea to communicate with the little girl in the next building

Liling has an idea to communicate with the little girl in the next building

Drawing and writing notes to the new friend

Drawing and writing notes to the new friend

Creativity and a smile get a new friend

Creativity and a smile get a new friend

A new friend to play in the park

A new friend to play in the park

Bring Liling Into Your Classroom for Lessons in Friendship

It's almost back-to-school time, and Rebecca Evan's picture book and story Alone Like Me is a good choice to start the new school year when children might be attending a new school in a new city or town this year. Our society is very mobile when families move for new job opportunities, or immigrants move into the town or city, or military families move to a new area. Young readers will relate to Liling's feeling of loneliness in this charming story.

*Read Alone Like Me in a story time session. Introduce Liling as a young Chinese girl who has moved to a new city. Have a globe available for children to locate China. Are there Chinese immigrants in your town or city? Do any of your students have friends from the Chinese community?

* Why is Liling lonely? Take a class poll of the number of children who have felt lonely at one time or another.

*Provide drawing paper, crayons, and markers for children to draw a situation in which they felt lonely.

*Evans includes words from the Chinese language in some of the text. Young readers will be engaged in learning a few words from the Chinese language. Liling's drawing includes Chinese characters for writing. Provide resources for students to practice writing Chinese writing characters.

*Take side trip into the Chinese culture to learn about the importance of dragons in Chinese culture. Discover the importance of the color of red in the Chinse culture.

*Assign a creative writing activity for students who are learning to write. Have them write notes to a new friend.

© 2022 Cindy Hewitt

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