Dream Friends by You Byun
What do you do when your most cherished friend isn’t real to anyone else but you? For Melody and her bestest buddy, “[t]hey had fun together every day and every night … but only in her dreams.” As the new kid on the block who is just too shy to talk to the other kiddies, Melody “wanted her dream friend in her real world.” Who wouldn’t?
When no amount of imaginative coaxing (including a toothsome cupcake trail, secret underground passageway, an unstuff-able tiny purple door, even a chemistry experiment!) brings her favorite buddy closer to reality, Melody closes her eyes and dances last night’s adventure solo. She’s interrupted – mid-pirouette – not by her dream friend, but a real-life little girl who asks, “‘Can I play with you?'” Soon enough, one friend becomes many as the playground fills with twirling, leaping, swirling children: “There was no magic like in her dreams, but it was … magical.”
First-time picture book creator You Byun has clearly found her magic wand, or at least her magic pen. Dream Friends, in both words and pictures, is a happy little fairy tale in which dreams come true all because of the power of friendship. The lesson works for anyone, everyone: One small moment of reaching out certainly begets rich rewards.
Byun’s backflap biography notes that “[m]oving around a lot as a child made it a challenge for her to make new friends.” Constantly rushing as we do in our daily lives pretty much guarantees making connections is going to be tough for us all, regardless of age. While the new year is still fresh and young, take a moment from your distracted isolation, look around, and make a new friend – or reach out to one you’ve been missing for far too long. Surely, we’re never too old for a simple “Can I play with you?”