cover image Flora La Fresca & the Art of Friendship

Flora La Fresca & the Art of Friendship

Veronica Chambers, illus. by Sujean Rim. Dial, $17.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-525-55629-9

Afro-Panamanian American 10-year-old Flora Violeta LeFevre and her Argentinian American BFF Clara Ocampo Londra have experienced everything together, including agonizing Saturday Spanish lessons and daring adventures at the local skate park. So Flora is devastated when Clara has to move from their Rhode Island hometown to California because of Clara’s mother’s new job. As the besties lament Clara’s impending move, they hang out as much as they can and create, using coding tool Scratch, a BFF-ometer test to help them make new friends. While Clara seems to immediately find a new friend group, Flora can’t imagine anyone replacing Clara. It’s even difficult to connect with her sister Maylin, who’s too preoccupied with planning her quinceañera to offer Flora comfort. But when Lebanese new student Zaidee Khal arrives from Paris, Flora begins to believe that maybe she won’t feel lonely forever. Pencil-like b&w sketches from Rim (Take a Chance) pepper vivacious prose by Chamber (Finish the Fight!), punctuating Flora’s moments of elation and sorrow as she works to navigate her shifting relationships. Realistic familial dynamics and a fair amount of tween antics from Flora and company add verve to this warm friendship story. Ages 8–12. (July)