Deborah Lakritz. Say Hello, Lily. Illustrated by Martha Aviles. Minneapolis, MN: KAR-BEN, 2010. ISBN: 9780761345114.
When five year old Lily joins her mother on a volunteer trip to Shalom House she shyly meets her former neighbor Mrs. Rosenbaum in her new home. On their way in Lily’s mother introduces her to other residents at Shalom House including Mrs. Seidel and Dr. Berman, who make Lily feel welcomed by telling her about their earlier work as a shoe saleswoman and a dentist. Remembering Mrs. Rosenbaum’s art studio filled with paintings, Lily reluctantly approaches Mrs. Rosenbaum asking her mother, “Do you think she will still have the painting of the lilies?”
On their visit to Shalom House the following week, although she is not ready to talk Lily joins Mrs. Seidel, Dr. Berman and Mrs. Rosenbaum in their exercise class. By the third visit while celebrating May birthdays with residents Lily smiles and talks. This inspires her to handcraft invitations for her new friends to join her upcoming sixth birthday party. When the day arrives, Lily and her parents bring the party to Shalom House with cake, punch and balloons for Lily and her guests to enjoy. Afterwards Mrs. Rosenbaum presents a memorable gift to Lily, her favorite painting of the orange flowers, her namesake. Lily excitedly asks Mrs. Rosenbaum to teach her how to draw flowers.
This uplifting story shows the power of intergenerational kindness as the older adults at Shalom House give Lily the time she needs to learn about them as individuals. Mrs. Rosenbaum speaks wisely early in the story to Lily’s mother, “She’ll be ready when she’s ready.” She empowers Lily to decide when she is comfortable talking and beginning art lessons. As Lily connects with the residents personally she begins to see them as friends with whom she can share something as special as her birthday.
With an uncommon perspective on intergenerational friendship matched with characterful illustrations and accessible narrative, this picture book is highly recommended for public and school libraries, preschools, daycares and other organizations working with children ages 3-8. Families can positively explore concepts with children including assisted living, aging, and multigenerational relationships.
Reviewed by Charity Leonette, Community Partnerships Coordinator, Allegheny County Library Association. This is a preprint of an article submitted for consideration in the Journal of Intergenerational Relationships © 2011 Taylor & Francis; the Journal of Intergenerational Relationships is available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/. The definitive version was published in Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, Volume 9 Issue 2, April 2011. doi:10.1080/15350770.2011.567923 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15350770.2011.567923).