Away by Emil Sher, illustrated by Qin Leng

Published by Groundwood Books

Summary:  A young girl (who could also be a boy, but is referred to as a girl on the book flap) is worried about her first summer at sleepaway camp.  She and her mother have a lot to do before she goes, but they find ways to stay in touch through post-it notes.  The entire story is told through these brief messages.  The girl’s grandmother, Mimsy, arrives, and shows her pictures of her mother crying before she went to camp.  The mom replies that her tears didn’t last, but her memories did.  Finally, the big day arrives, and the girls goes off on the camp bus, with notes from her mother to write and have fun.  The penultimate page shows three post-its with these messages, “So far I have two new friends.  And 3217 enemies [accompanied by a picture of a mosquito].  Next year’s goodbye will be easier!”  And the final page shows the happy girl hugging her mother upon her return.  32 pages, ages 4-7.

Pros:  Kids will want to pore over the busy watercolor illustrations to understand all the details of the story.  The post-it notes are an unusual but effective way to show how a mom stays connected with her daughter despite their busy lives.

Cons:  A notation on the calendar reading “hearing aid battery” made me wonder if one of the main characters had a hearing loss (which would maybe explain all the written communication), but I couldn’t find any other evidence for this.

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