I Wish You Knew

Roaring Brook. May 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250226303.
K-Gr 3–Kramer’s latest tells the story of Estrella, a young girl whose father was not born in the United States as she was. During the school year, he has to return to his home country and Estrella is left to deal with his absence. With a hardworking mother and a scared brother, Estrella is stressed out and wishes that others at her school understood what she was going through. Her teacher sets up sessions that allow her students to share “what I wish you knew” with her and their classmates, either anonymously or aloud. This gentle story embodies the social media movement #IWishMyTeacherKnew that has helped build community and strong school relationships across the country. An author’s note describes her childhood, and the inspiration for this true story. Mora’s soft watercolor illustrations depict a diverse student population. Estrella’s memories of her father and experiences with her brother and mother after her father leaves are duller grays, conveying a sadder mood.
VERDICT Estrella and her classmates’ experiences are all too common and children will relate, if not for themselves, for others, to this compassionate recommended purchase.

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