Tomatoes in my lunchbox by Costantia Manoli and illustrated by Magdalena Mora review

A beautiful book that is not what the title makes it seem. The story starts with a little girl narrating discussing how she feels when her name is called in class. She has a name that is difficult to pronounce in the new country. This makes her feel sad and anxiety effecting her interactions with other children. The story continues to say that she had to leave her country with her suitcase and now she is here. She also brings a different kind of lunch that adds to her anxiety. Halfway through she begins to try in small steps to make friends, first by smiling at another girl. This helps and the next day the girl talks more to her. Then over time they share lunch and all her new friends try to say her name correctly. She finds acceptance and relief from her new friends. This is a story of learning to look past differences and attempt to make someone new or different to feel at home. It shows it can be easier than you realize to make friends by a small gesture. This can encourage other children to be open to new kids or to new kids to try small things to make friends. A wonderful message in a beautiful book.

5/5 stars

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Lisa Jacovsky

Award winning children’s book author, Award winning podcast host: The No Limits podcast, book reviewer