Forever Friends is a new Picture Book by Tabitha Page.
It is intended to be the first in a series called Fabulous Friends.
The story is about acceptance, inclusions and empathy. It focuses on the anxiety that can be generated because of a disability or just being a bit different.
Tabitha has created two characters that have similar experiences. One is Tia who has just been fitted with new glasses and the boys in her class tease her for her lack of coordination. The other girl is Claire who is reluctant to go to school, because she is in a wheelchair.
Both have started off the day badly. Claire has fallen on the floor in her bedroom and missed her wheelchair and Tia also lands on the floor next to her chair in the classroom.
Then Claire arrives at her new school and rattles into the classroom in her special wheelchair, a ‘very pink and funky chair’.
Some of the kids are mean but Tia makes a space for her and they share a lot of fun during the day, reading, telling stories, making art and even playing hopscotch.
The final image is of them both seated in their chairs, looking just the same from behind, with their packs slung over the back.
This is a very uplifting book about acceptance and kindness. The illustrations are colourful and almost retro or Disney -like. There are cute repetitive images like the stripy and spotty socks that Claire and her mum wear that brighten up the page.
This book could be read to all children in a primary class and generate a lot of discussion.