Hello, My Name is Ruby
written and illustrated by Philip C. Stead
2013 (Neal Porter)
Source: Orange County Public Library
There are a few themes where you can't have enough books to use for teaching. One of those themes is friendship. Hello, My Name is Ruby is the story of a little yellow bird that is seeking friends and seeking to be a friend. Ruby meets a series of birds where she has varying degrees of success in making friends. Her first encounter, with a large stork-like bird, ends up in flight. A flight with a friend is something young Ruby had never considered. She is so taken with flying with friends that she asks the next bird if it would like to go flying. This bird has never flown and prefers to walk instead. Ruby notices that there are many interesting things to see from the ground as well. During these meetings with other birds, Ruby learns that birds come in all sizes and have different points of view and interests. Unfortunately, through one unhappy encounter, Ruby also finds out that not everyone wants to be a friend. In the end, Ruby finds friends that sound and look just like her. The beauty of Ruby is that she introduces these friends to the ones she has met on her journey. She seems to have learned that friends can come in all shapes, sizes, and interests.
Hello, My Name is Ruby would be a good book to share in the beginning of the year. This is the time where new friendships can be forged with a little prodding. It's also a good reminder that it's okay to have friends that are quite different than we are.