Illustrations by Vin Vogel
Publisher: Flashlight Press
Release Date: September 1, 2014
Maddi's fridge has nothing in it except some milk for her little brother. Sofia makes a promise not to tell anyone about Maddi's bare fridge, but she also wants to make sure that her best friend gets some good food. Every day Sofia tries to bring her friend some nutritious food, but it turns out that tuna fish and eggs really don't do well in a hot backpack. Finally, Sofia makes the tough decision to break her promise to Maddi and tell her mother. Together they help Maddi's family fill their fridge with all kinds of nutritious food.
As a child, I was rather oblivious. I also happen to be a rather unobservant adult as well, but that is not important. As a kid, the level of our poverty wasn't that clear to me. It wasn't until I was in my pre-teens that I began to hear stories about government cheese and people doing a secret Santa drop of groceries on our doorstep from my parents. I was aware that we didn't have a lot of money, but my parents went to great effort to make sure that we had food in the house, even if it was just macaroni and cheese and Kool-aid. I can also tell you that I never read a book about kids who were like me.
This book is a wonderful issues book that I think everyone should be reading to their children. I think most parents hope to raise children who are kind and caring, ones who will notice and help when a friend is in need. Children know other kids like Maddi. They live in your neighborhood and go to your schools. Whether it is pride, illness, or just not knowing what kind of resources are available to them, there are children all over this country who go hungry every day. I liked how Sofia tries to keep Maddi's secret, but also learns that there are some things that cannot be kept a secret.
All that said, I would not read this story out loud to a classroom or group of kids. Unless you know that all your students are affluent, this is only going to embarrass and hurt the children who may be in the same situation as Maddi. This book is not for the Maddi's of the world. This books is for the Sofias. There are a lot of great programs out there that are helping families in their communities who need a little extra help and I highly encourage families to become involved in them. Let children see generosity and kindness first hand.
For more information about local food banks and other programs check out the links below:
And two that I am personally involved in:
Durham Rescue Mission