My Friend Maggie
Author and Illustrator: Hannah E. Harrison
Anticipated Publication: August 9, 2016 by Dial
Goodreads Summary: A sweet and heart-tugging story about bullying, friendship, and fitting in, perfect for readers of Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
Paula and Maggie have been friends forever. Paula thinks Maggie is the best—until mean girl Veronica says otherwise. Suddenly, Paula starts to notice that Maggie is big and clumsy, and her clothes are sort of snuggish. Rather than sticking up for Maggie, Paula ignores her old friend and plays with Veronica instead. Luckily, when Veronica turns on Paula, Maggie’s true colors shine through.
This moving friendship story has all the heart and emotion of The Giving Tree and Kevin Henkes’s Chrysanthemum. The gorgeous artwork and important message make this a book to treasure. It’s truly a classic in the making.
Ricki’s Review: I loved this book from the moment I read it, and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I read it to some family members, and they had tears in their eyes by the end. It is a very special book that teaches wonderful lessons to children about friendship and bullying. The characters are incredibly endearing, and the illustrations make them come alive. My son asks me to read this book over and over again. I received this book as a galley, but I will be buying it to have a hard cover copy to love forever.
Kellee’s Review: This text deals with such a true issue that is not often touched in picture books: bullying and lack of friends because of being overweight. But anyone who is in schools knows that this type of behavior is happening younger and younger which leaves a large portion of young students feeling excluded from their peers. Maggie’s story gives teachers and parents an opportunity to discuss this issue without it seeming “real” because it is with animals. But this story is more than a bullying story, it is a story about true friends and how they aren’t always who you are looking for.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This would be a fantastic book to share with students on the first day of school. The characters experience problems that are common to most humans as their friendships evolve. It shows the effects of bullying and the power of friendship. Teachers might refer back to this book whenever bullying or friendships seem to be affecting students and/or the classroom environment.
Discussion Questions: What choices does Paula make? Why do you think that she makes these choices? How do they affect her friendship with Maggie?; What kinds of qualities does Maggie portray? Do you think she made the right decision?; How have some of your friendships evolved as you’ve grown up?
Flagged Passage: “This is my friend Maggie. We’ve been friends forever. She’s great at splashing in mud puddles. She helps me reach the reddest apples. She even lifts me up when I can’t see.”
*Make sure to check out the book to see the detailed and perfect illustrations.
Read This If You Loved: You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang, Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson (Kellee’s Review | Ricki’s Review), Big Bug by Henry Cole, Horns to Toes by Sandra Boynton, Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae, Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea, The Magic of Maxwell and His Tail by Maureen Stolar Kanefield