About the Holiday
Friendships and making new friends are so important to our happiness that this national holiday is actually celebrated three times a year—on January 19th, July 19th, and October 19th. Making friends is one of the first skills little ones learn as they begin, as babies and toddlers, to join playgroups, music groups, daycare, and other social activities. Sharing books with stories about friendship, that model good examples of talking and playing with others, and which depict an appreciation for people’s differences is a wonderful way to expand a child’s social and emotional development. Sharing life with good friends a joy to be cherished. Start your little one off on the journey with today’s book!
Will You Be Friends with Me?
Written by Kathleen Long Bostrom | Illustrated by Jo de Ruiter
As the story opens, two vignettes show a little brown boy greeting the dawn while a blond, bespectacled girl shows up to the breakfast table after everyone has finished. “I wake early,” the boy says. “You sleep late.” At the playground later, this same girl enjoys the swings with another girl. She observes, “My hair’s curly. / Yours is straight.” On a trip to the pool, this second girl meets a Black girl, who, wearing two types of floaties and a swimming cap, just dips her toe in the water as her new acquaintance jumps in, noting, “I say, ‘Now!’ / You say, ‘Wait?’” Then as they both dry off, she asks, “Will you be friends with me?”
At school the early riser notices that his tablemate likes to use different art materials than he does. Is one better than the other, he wonders, but it doesn’t keep him from asking, “Will you be friends with me?” A picnic and snack time during soccer practice are two more places where pairs of kids meet each other and discover different ways of doing things that don’t deter—and probably prompt—the repeated refrain, “Will you be friends with me?”
All of these children meet on a grassy hill to play a game of leapfrog, encouraging each other to soar as high as they can. As the early bird reads on a sunny porch and the night owl reads by flashlight under her covers, the boy reveals, “I like morning. / You like night. / We’re just different. / That’s all right!” And indeed it is as these new friends show readers how to play instead of squabble, share instead of judge, and embrace each other’s differences because they know—and readers discover—that “life is much more fun that way.”
Kathleen Long Bostrom’s delightful ode to making friends combines simplicity and intricacy in equal measure. Her endearing verses blend declarative sentences about various personality traits with questions kids commonly ask each other about their favorite things—questions that readers will enjoy answering as well. These pages give adults and kids an opportunity to talk about differences and similarities within their own family, classroom, sports team, and friends. The repeated phrase, “Will you be friends with me?,” is a joy to read aloud, and children will love chiming in each time. This simple, welcoming invitation is also one that kids can remember and use, whether they’re outgoing or more hesitant, whenever they meet someone they’d like to be friends with. The final line: “I’m glad you’re friends with me!” is a heartfelt sentiment everyone wants to hear and is just as appropriate for new friends as for old or even between adult reader and child.
Jo de Ruiter’s adorable illustrations sparkle with the actions, expressions, and emotions of children navigating their world while discovering themselves and those around them. Her fresh color palette and kid-favorite places make each page one that readers will want to explore. Kids will enjoy following the fluid pairings of friends and their varying interactions. Diversity within the group of friends in race and ability—the boy who’s the early riser wears leg braces and uses forearm crutches—reflects readers’ experiences at school and in their community.
Playful, charming, and enriching, Will You Be Friends with Me? is an inspiring book for home story times, classroom reading, and public library collections. The book can also spark discussions about making friends at the beginning of a school year or during any new experience. The bouncy rhythm makes this a book little ones will want to hear again and again.
Ages Birth to 5
WorthyKids, 2020 | ISBN 978-1546033806
Discover more about Kathleen Long Bostrom and her books on her website.
To learn more about Jo de Ruiter, her books, and her art, visit her website.
New Friends Day Activity
Beaded Friendship Bracelet
Little ones love to make, wear, and share special bracelets. In this easy-to-make bracelet, each color of bead can represent friends and/or family. Fill it all at once or add beads with each new friend made.
- Wooden or plastic beads in various colors—one color for each friend or family member. You can use medium-size beads for the center and smaller beads for the rest of the bracelet, if desired
- Elastic, embroidery thread, or string
- Plastic sewing needle with a large eye
- Determine the number of friends your child would like the bracelet to represent.
- Choose a different color of bead in both sizes for each friend.
- Determine the color pattern of the beads.
- Measure your child’s wrist and cut a length of elastic, embroidery thread, or string, leaving it long enough to tie onto the first and last beads (and make a loop clasp if using thread or string).
- Help your child thread the needle with the elastic, embroidery thread, or string.
- Thread the first bead onto the elastic, thread, or string, leaving about a half-inch at the end.
- Pull end of thread over bead and tie a knot with the end and the length of string.
- Approximate the center of your bracelet and thread several small beads in the chosen color pattern onto the elastic, thread, or string.
- Thread the medium beads onto the bracelet in the same color pattern.
- Follow with more small beads to finish the bracelet.
- Tie the last bead onto the elastic, thread, or string.
- To make a loop clasp on the end if using embroidery thread or string, loop the thread or string.
Children can make two or more bracelets to share with their friends.
You can find Will You Be Friends with Me? at these booksellers
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million
To support your local independent bookstore, order from
Picture Book Review