My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay

mythreebestfriendsWritten by Cari Best, Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

In Class 1-3, there are 22 children. Four of them, Maya, Nancy, Chyng, Zulay are best girlfriends. As they skip down the hall, Zulay tells Ms. Perkins, “You have a new perfume!” And she says back, “Zulay you don’t miss a thing!” After a two-arm hug from their teacher, Ms. Seeger, class is ready to begin. Everyone’s desk has a name plate with their name and also with their name spelled out in Braille. Zulay feels with her knees where the chair fits under her desk. She opens her desk and pushes the folded –up cane to the back. Zulay is just like all the other boys and girls except for one thing—she is blind. The children help each other with math and writing and Zulay shares her writing machine. “The dots feel like goosebumps” some of the children say. Zulay tells them that is how she reads—with her fingers. Zulay is perfectly happy in class, until Ms. Turner comes to help her with her cane. Not an easy thing to do. But she keeps trying. When the teacher announces a field day is coming in three weeks, all the children cheer. Zulay says, “I would like to run the race in my new pink shoes” and the class is as silent as a stone. Except for Ms. Turner, who says, “You go girl!” Now Zulay must practice hard on the track with her cane. Will she be able to overcome her fears and run in the race? Find out when you read, “My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay.” This a really cute diversity book with happy and helpful teachers and children. The illustrations are very colorful and work very well with the brightness and cheer of the story. In the back of the book, it says the author, Cari Best, was inspired to write this story after actually meeting a little first grade girl who was blind and ran a race proudly in her pink shoes. I liked this book and it made me wish all children had such a wonderful experience in school as the children in this book.

Review by Renee Larsen, Hillside Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades K-3

My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay
Written by Cari Best, Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Farrar Straus Giroux
40 pages
Release Date: January 13, 2015

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