I Don’t Care by Julie Fogliano, Molly Idle & Juana Martinez-Neal

This sweet picture book on what it means to be a true friend is a delight for adults and children both.

The poem by Julie Fogliano tells the tale of two quite different children who don’t seem to be getting along. But as the book progresses, readers see that the kids, who seemingly began by declaring how much they didn’t care about each other, actually don’t care about aspects of each other’s lives that have no bearing on their relationship, like the sizes of their houses or the way their lunches smell. What the kids do care about is how they treat each other with kindness and consideration and respect, a wonderfully affirming lesson that gets past the superficial to talk about the meaning of true friendship.

Written in a bouncy manner that invites read-alongs, the language was perfect for my reluctant young readers, especially at bedtime when little eyes and minds are getting tired. My youngest loved snuggling with me and turning the pages as we took turns reading the poem aloud.

But I must say that the illustrations are the biggest standout here. Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal, real life best friends since childhood, collaborated on the remarkable art. Drawn mostly in graphite, with a pop of color — one in teal and one in yellow — for each child, the illustrations are outstanding, capturing all the emotions as the protagonists get to know one another and learn how to be good friends.

The afterword provides further insight both into the artists’ collaborative process and the author’s creative journey with this book. It’s a worthwhile picture book that will hopefully instill an appreciation and understanding of true friendship in kids (and the adults who love reading with them.)

I Don’t Care by Julie Fogliano, Molly Idle & Juana Martinez-Neal was published November 22 2022 by Holiday House and is available from all good booksellers, including

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