Before I Leave
by Jessixa Bagley
Neal Porter Books, 2016
Jessixa Bagley’s latest book, Before I Leave, is perfect for a child encountering a move, whether the child or their best friend is moving.
Sad their ‘best friend’ is moving away, Aaron and Zelda decide to play one last time “like nothing is changing.” And so they do all their favorite things. At day’s end, Aaron waves good bye and says, “you’ll see me soon.” But Zelda is “not so sure.” As Zelda rides off with her mother and father, Aaron seems so far away…until she unpacks.
The surprise ending suggests things best friends moving apart can do. A sensitive, loving book. Jessixa does her own illustrations in pen and watercolor and fills each page with kid details a child can relate to. While the character’s expressions are minimal in size, they say so much about the emotions a child experiences when moving away.