Jake and Lilly

by Jerry Pinelli, published 2012

“It was where I belonged. And–here was the best part–so did everybody else belong. Everybody who is and ever was. I wasn’t alone after all. I was connected to it all.  That star…it’s my neighbor.”

Jake and Lily Children's BookAt first glance this is a children’s book about twins, and about coming of age, learning to find one’s own world. However, there is a second story in it, and that is the story of bullying, and how easy it can be to become a bully without even realizing it. This is a thoughtful and important children’s book, just like the other books that Spinelli has written, such as Stargirl.

Spinelli is quite an unusual author, who brings so much to his books. He has terrific insight into how children act and think, and conveys it beautifully. At the same time, he has a very deep understanding of the power of spiritual practices such as kindness, meditation, and connection, that he also brings in small doses, almost as medicine, for the children’s benefit.

I think this children’s book is ideal for young children between the ages of 10 to 12. It’s the age when boys and girls differentiate the most from each other, and begin to find more comfort with children of their own gender. Being comfortable with this change is an important stage of development for children, and Spinelli does a great job illustrating the conflicting feelings children have as they grow into this awkward stage.

ind this at your local bookstore