Tomatoes In My Lunchbox by Constantia Manoli, illustrated by Magdalena Mora

Published by Roaring Brook Press

Summary:  The narrator feels uncomfortable at school after moving from another country.  The teacher and other kids have trouble pronouncing her name, and the whole tomato in her lunchbox is different from what the other kids are eating.  She’s surrounded by girls with names like Emma, Olivia, and Chloe, but she can’t figure out how to make friends with them.  One day Chloe asks her where her name is from, and the girl tells her it was her grandmother’s name.  The next day, they learn that they both have the same favorite color, yellow.  When Chloe forgets her lunch, the narrator shares her tomato, and the friendship is sealed.  Includes an author’s note about her family’s move from Cyprus to England that was the inspiration for this story.  32 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  An immigrant story that will help readers build empathy for kids who are new at school, and whose name, language, and food may be unfamiliar to others.  Emphasizes the importance of friendship and reaching out.

Cons:  Those tomato stains seem like a nuisance.

July 28, 2022 at 04:13PM Janet Dawson