by Thomas Scotto
Illustrated by Olivier Tallec
Translated by Claudia Zoe Bedrick and Karin Snelson from the French.
Published by U.S. edition: Enchanted Lion, 2018
Raphael loves his friend Jerome, who holds his hand and chooses him for a buddy on field trips. Jerome, who is fun to be with and makes Raphael feel safe. Raphael’s parents think he talks and thinks too much about Jerome. “Now that’s enough,” says his dad. “Dad’s voice is like sharp fish bones in my hot chocolate.” But Raphael knows “Jerome” is not a bad word, and is determined to find the perfect gift for his friend, who is always up for an adventure, and would never hide his head in shame. “Raphael loves Jerome. I can say it. It’s easy.” Illustrations that are soft yet slightly quirky showcase the deep and genuine affection between the two boys, and the temporary dissonance and isolation caused by adult disapproval before Raphael affirms feelings that bring him such contentment and joy. This welcome picture book offers sweet and essential conformation of emotions that children are too often encouraged to deny or suppress, particularly when it comes to same-gender friendships/relationships, and especially between boys. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center