Gong hei fat choy! Sun Leen Fai Lo! Xin Nian Kuai Le! Happy New Year! It is 2022 and the Year of the Water Tiger. Most January and sometimes even February babies can be born on a cusp of a year, like I was. Therefore, since I enjoy celebrating, I use both Year of the Tiger and Year of the Rabbit as “My Years.” And this year is my “official” Lunar Year and 2023 my “official” Western Year!
But regardless of the year, I love books. I love books on the New Year. And I love books about Friendship. Like Friends Are Friends, Forever by Dane Liu. This is one of the sweetest books I have read recently. I love how it is a book about friendship and the Lunar New Year, but it is also how no matter how much things changes, one this stays the same: Friends and Friendship.
When Dandan learns she will be moving soon, she not only must leave behind her home, the city she lives in, but her best friend, Yueyue. But friends know how to comfort friends and Yueyue gives Dandan a gift of red paper and spool of string so she can celebrate the new year with her new friends the same way they did. Of course, things are not easy at first, but the right friend in the form of Christina comes along, and Dandan is able to share both her American and Chinese worlds.
The best part of the story are the illustrations by Lynn Scurfield. Oh, the text is great, but we know the story. It is Scurfield that brings it all together and gives it life. They are bold, bright, detailed just the right amount, and fresh. They are a delight to view and help move the story and compliment the theme.
The afterwards give a bit more of a personal touch, by talking about local traditions, how this story is based on Liu’s own journey and more.