"It bothered me like a scratchy tag at the back of my neck. How could I make friends with Blanca? She didn't understand when I talked to her."
Every time someone speaks to Blanca, the new girl from Argentina, she shakes her head and says, "No English." Second grader Diane is not sympathetic at first. She is jealous because their teacher, Mrs. Bertram, allows Blanca to draw instead of doing class work. One misunderstanding follows another until Diane feels compelled to makes things right. But how can Diane apologize when they don't speak the same language?
Awards and Honors
2012 Forward National Literature First Place Award for Picture/Children's Books
Recommended as a September Read Aloud by Reading Connection
2010-2011 Volunteer State Book Award Nominee
Delaware Diamonds 2008-2009 Booklist
"a lovely story of a cross-cultural friendship" -- Elizabeth Ward, Washington Post Book World.
"In a moving picture book, Jules explores the loneliness of an immigrant child, telling the story from the viewpoint of the child's American classmate. . . . Realistic watercolor scenes of the classroom and the schoolyard show Blanca as an unhappy outsider at first, then, later, as one of the crowd. Relayed through the insider's first-person perspective, the message about being kind to strangers is subtle but still easily understood." -- Book List.
"The story subtly explains how miscommunication and misunderstandings can happen on both sides, without being didactic. The watercolor pictures are realistic, offering varied facial expressions and lots of diversity in the classroom, and the pictures correlate well with the text." -- School Library Journal.
"This is a wonderful selection for all classrooms, especially those in which students speak different languages." -- Colorín Colorado.
"Guidance counselors, teachers, librarians, and parents could use this book as a conversation starter about acceptance and kindness to others. Recommended. -- Library Media Connection.
"a lovely story of how friendship can overcome the boundaries of language . . . . The text is accompanied by soft watercolor illustrations which clearly depict the students' emotions. An excellent addition to any elementary school library collection. -- Theresa Finch, Children's Literature.
"Recommended for libraries and schools to aid in reaching across language barriers. . . .This could be used to start class discussions about diversity and could lead to discussions on all sorts of diversity within the school and community." -- Tasha Saecker, Kids Lit.
"The story struck a cord with me . . . ." -- Mary Ann Zehr, Education Week.
"The story is especially strong in its portrayal of two youngsters being curious about, and helping, one another rather than showing the child of the dominant culture being the only one to provide assistance." -- Mary Quattlebaum, Washington Parent.