January 12 2021
Emmie and Friends series, by Terri Libenson
This is a lovely middle grade series that looks at a range of friendship issues faced by a group of friends and peers in a middle school. All 4 books have a lovely part illustrated text, part comic panel presentation, with a sweet and engaging illustration style and a lovely colour palette. The characters are all flawed and interesting, and face a range of authentic problems that would be recognisable by most 8-12 year old readers navigating their own friendship problems. I love that these books model the process of seeing things from another person’s perspective, and encourage a sense of empathy. I also appreciated the practical methods to dealing with conflict that are modelled by characters on all sides of the issues. Each novel in the series deals with the problems of a different protagonist, and they could be read individually but are interconnected. Each novel also has its own interesting “twist” at the end – I’m not gonna lie, one of them completely threw me, even though I was on the lookout for something to happen!
If you’ve got middle to upper primary children in your life, and you’d like them to read something sweet and engaging with some great lessons to learn about how to be a good friend and to deal with conflict, this would be a great option.