TITLE: Before I Leave
AUTHOR: Jessixa Bagley
ILLUSTRATOR: Jessixa Bagley
PUBLISHER: Roaring Brook Press
EDITOR: Neal Porter
DATE OF PUBLICATION: 2016
SNIPPET: I found out we're moving. Mom said I need to pack. She said you can't come with us.
On the heels of A Boat for Papa, Jessixa Bagley again creates a simply stated, yet emotional portrait of loss. While this time the loss is just geographic, she still handles the topic with a careful concern and empathetic manner that points toward acceptance and coping with a glimmer of hope.
Despite knowing the inevitable will arrive, the main character, a little hedgehog named Zelda, enjoys all of her favorite activities with her friend Aaron Badger, enjoying the moments, "like nothing is changing." Good advice to young and old when dealing with any kind of loss.
Because of its careful handling of a difficult topic, AND because of its sweet portrayal of friendship and fear of loss, I simply adore this book's text AND illustrations of Zelda and Aaronr. I appreciate that it a boy/girl friendship because boys and girls can be best friends, too. And because it is both cute and hopeful in its ending, it is a book that a child will enjoy reading again and again.
REVIEWED BY: Lynne Marie. The opinions are my own.