Illustrated by Genevieve Cote
Publisher: Tundra Books
Interest Level: Ages 4-8
From the Book Jacket: Noni can do all sorts of things: tie her own shoelaces, recite the alphabet backwards, even walk to her friend Susie's house all by herself. But what Noni can't do is say no. When she finally finds her voice, the consequences are not what she - or the reader - expects. Many children will root for Noni as she learns that you can stand up for yourself and still be a good friend.
Why It's On My Bookshelf: Lots of kids put up with bad behavior in their friendships because they are afraid if they say "no" they will hurt the other person's feelings and lose them as a friend. As we read, a student pointed out, "Well, if they don't want to be your friend anymore because of that - they weren't your true friend in the first place." Ahhh....music to my ears!
Noni can't say no to Susie because she fears there will be a confrontation or maybe it will end the friendship. Susie on the other hand has no problem saying no. In fact, maybe she needs to learn to be a little more balanced and say yes. It even gets to the point where Noni allows Susie to cut off all of her hair! I kind of appreciated the extreme example. If you don't say no, you can be putting yourself in an awful situation. But Noni finally reaches her limit and has to say no. Before I turned the page to show Susie's reaction we talked about how a good friend should respond when they are told no. So do Noni's fears come true? No, they don't. Susie simply says, "Okay." Just like a good friend should.
This will be in my personal home library as well as at school. It's important to me to raise a kind child, but I worry that in the process some kids can become pushovers. A well balanced child should be empowered to say yes and no in social situations.