By Nicole Testa
Self-confidence is hard to come by when classmates make fun of the things that make Lili Macaroni herself.
Butterfly-loving Lili opens by telling readers where her signature traits came from: she’s got Mom’s red hair, Dad’s freckles, Grandma’s eyes, and Grandpa’s “magical laugh.” She proclaims: “I am the way I am.”
When Lili starts school, not only does she learn the three R’s, she also learns “that a heart can ache” when her new friends tease her for those very special family traits. Lili tries to become a new girl, renaming herself Sophia, but how will her family members feel if she erases their parts? Luckily, Lili’s wise father has a suggestion for easing the ache that also taps into her passion. He doesn’t solve the problem for her; Lili herself takes the next step to let her class know why she has been so sad. And the next school day, everyone sports a polka-dot butterfly on their shoulder to help with their own heartaches. The tale ends with an older Lili, her bedroom ceiling a mass of butterflies. “My name is Lili Macaroni, and I am who I am.” Boulanger’s changing perspectives and use of shadows to stand in for other kids’ teasing set the mood, Lili’s exuberant brightness changing to more somber tones with her sadness.
WITS Connection: Talk it out, Seek help