Empty and Me: A Tale of Friendship and Loss

Lee & Low. Oct. 2023. 48p. Tr $21.95. ISBN 9781643796222.
K-Gr 3–This bilingual picture book tells a tale of grief. Upon the death of her mother, a fair-skinned young girl is joined by a large soft being called Empty. Empty travels through life as the girl’s friend and is with her everywhere, from school to an amusement park. As hope begins to grow in the form of a plant, the girl is able to find more joy in her life that she can share with Empty, her rescued kitten, and her father. Empty’s role in the girl’s life helps her move through the world of grief and plant a new beginning. The sepia and gray-toned images, although digitally rendered, mimic colored pencils and set a solemn tone that reinforces the girl’s loneliness in a vast world without her mom. The character of Empty is soft curves and bright white, the perfect complement for the sharp edges of loss. Additional characters are diverse in nature and scenes are generic, which helps to support the universal theme and build connections for readers.
VERDICT A strong purchase to introduce loss and, not incidentally, expose students to translated works.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing