I Do Not Like Yolanda

Tundra. Mar. 2021. 44p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780735266513.
Gr 1-2–Bianca, a young girl with pale skin and curly black hair worn back in a ponytail, writes letters, lots of them, to far-flung family and friends. She loves everything about this correspondence: the creative demands, the stamps, the walk to the post office. The only thing she doesn’t like about her hobby is Yolanda, the post office clerk. In the past, Bianca had unfortunate experiences on Yolanda’s line and now gets so worked up in her imaginings that she projects a monstrous Yolanda, one who eats her patrons. But on the day this story takes place, a “five-letter day,” Bianca vows not to let it be ruined. She gathers her lucky charms, performs special rituals, and prepares. But it’s not luck that turns Bianca’s post office experience around—it’s her ability to transcend her fears and take the first step in developing a friendship with Yolanda, by asking, “How was your weekend?” Yolanda reveals her true appetites: friendly conversation, a good book, and the meal she made from its descriptions. Based on an anecdote from the author’s youth, this very funny story is a lovely little lesson on moving beyond things or people who scare us, and self-realization in tiny moments. Abbott’s sketchy ink, gouache, and colored pencil drawings manifest Bianca’s interior life through the details of her exterior life, full of little wonders that hold the reader’s attention from page to page.
VERDICT A book that will inspire readers to find their own pen pals, a good book, and a new friend, this is a perfect book for SEL curricula or for a new lesson on friendship.

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