A Friend For Henry

illus. by Mika Song. 36p. Chronicle. Feb. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781452167916.
PreS-Gr 1—Henry is looking for a friend who is quiet, shares, and likes to read. Making friends can be difficult for anyone, but it is especially hard for Henry. He misreads social situations, believing that because a classmate has rainbow-painted nails, she would enjoy having her shoes painted. He lines the reading carpet squares up perfectly and melts down when another classmate's rambunctious, imaginative play disrupts the squares. One by one, classmates are ruled out as potential friends—until Katie. Katie is quiet and likes to read, too. However, Katie slides down the big slide, something Henry would never do. Still, the two bond over their love for the class fish, and Henry takes a chance and asks Katie to play with him. They play together both indoors and out, leading Henry to the realization that friends don't have to be exactly alike to appreciate each other. The ink-and-watercolor illustrations show a diverse classroom. Henry is Asian and Katie is African American. It is never stated that Henry has autism, but his actions and thought processes will be familiar to readers who know someone on the autism spectrum.
VERDICT A simple, upbeat story that might inspire readers to seek out friendship, and a good addition to general picture book collections.

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