Half a World Away by Libby Gleeson

Having moved a number of times in my life, I have often felt very far away from my very best friends. However, the worst was when my childhood best friend Rachel moved across the ocean to England when I was 13.

I think about that a lot these days now that Rachel and I are back in touch, more than 20 years later, and talked on the phone, still across the ocean from one another. It’s in that spirit that I want to recommend another delightful gentle book, Half a World Away by Libby Gleeson.

Half a World Away

Half a World Away

It’s a quiet book, beautifully illustrated in soft but vivid colors by Freya Blackwood. It’s the type of book that makes you sigh when you are done, that makes you feel peaceful — perfect for that last book before bed. In it, Amy and Louie are best friends — children who do everything together, who climb through the fence between their backyards every day, who call each other to play by calling: “Coo-ee Am-ee” or “Coo-ee Lou-ee.” But then Amy, like Rachel many years ago, moves with her family to the other side of the world (presumably from the illustrations, New York) and they are separated.

Louie is despondant and wants to call out “Coo-ee Amy” but everyone tells him that she won’t hear it, that when it’s day for him, it’s night for her. Finally, his grandmother says that maybe Amy would hear it and Louie takes the chance. And that night, in a dream, Amy can hear Louie calling across the ocean: “Coo-ee Am-ee.” Soft and delightful and hopeful — a wonderful bedtime read.

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