A World of Friends

Literary Hill

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The mother-daughter writing team of Beverly and Alyssa Samuel helps kids navigate a new school year in “Make New Friends.”

Starting a new school year is very exciting. But it can also be a little scary. Happily, Ava remembers what her parents taught her: “Everyone is different. Don’t be shy, have no fear. Make new friends this school year.”

In “Make New Friends,” mother-daughter co-authors Beverly Samuel and Alyssa Samuel convey lessons in diversity, inclusion and equity through the story of a little girl trying to find her place in her new classroom, where she encounters a variety of students. They have different hair styles, come from different countries and even bring different food to eat for lunch.

Ava’s curiosity about her classmates presents her with many opportunities to learn. One little boy explains to her the meaning of his yarmulke, and a girl in a wheelchair who speaks Spanish teaches her some new words.

She keeps in mind not only her parents’ advice but the words on the poster she saw in her classroom on her first day of school ‒ “Treat others as you want to be treated: The Golden Rule” ‒ and before long, Ava finds herself with a whole new circle of friends. “My new friends taught me more about myself,” she concludes. “I learned so much that was new to me. We have so many things in common. Friends are fun. Do you agree?”

“Make New Friends” is a warm and winning introduction to the classroom for preschool and elementary-level children. Beverly and Alyssa Samuel say that the book was inspired by their family’s life experiences in school, work and the community, and they hope that readers will appreciate the lessons it has to offer. Find them on Instagram @makenewfriendsbook.