An acclaimed author and a Coretta Scott King Honoree pair up for this tender story about friendship and accepting change. Two best friends (one of whom is imaginary) are inseparable until the day when one of them unexpectedly disappears.
Others tried to tell me that she wasn’t real, that she was just imaginary.
But what did they know? She was real to me.
Then one morning... she was gone.
What do you do when your imaginary friend goes away? Did you dream up the entire friendship? Maybe... But you miss her laugh, her comfort, and her silly mischief. It all feels so real... you couldn't have just imagined those things, right?
Lush illustrations pair with touching text in this gentle picture book that illuminates the sweetness of first friendship, the sadness when it's lost, and the beauty in discovering new friends are just around the corner.
"When you have a great friend," Lê (The Blur) begins, "the rest of the world can seem to disappear." In digitally created spreads, Figueroa (We Wait for the Sun) imagines a Black child in a purple dress perched atop the head of a green, furry creature whose wide-eyed expression signals pleased anticipation. The two seem to launch a small, light airship that whizzes off into the air. "Others tried to tell me that she wasn't real, that she was just imaginary," musing lines continue, as the duo dash across a bridge in the moonlight, firework-like blooms glowing beneath them. "But what did they know?... My friend was always there for me, and I can't image anything more real than that." Following pages of adventures, the friend disappears one morning. The book's narrator grieves—whether or not the friendship was present for others, the bond and loss are real—until healing begins and new friends appear. To Lê's simply told, heartfelt reflection on childhood bonds, Figueroa adds two rich, unexpected dimensions: a dramatic, luminous visual universe, and a narrative twist likely to tweak readers' initial assumptions about the imaginary. Ages 4–8. Author's agent: Stephen Barbara, InkWell Management. Illustrator's agent: Natascha Morris and Tracy Marchini, BookEnds Literary.