Like Calvin has Hobbes, children sometimes have imaginary friends. It can freak parents out, a child talking about someone who isn't there, about things their "friend" said, because let's face it - we want our children to have imagination, but where is the line between that and, say, voices? Relax, it's pretty common. And a helpful tool for them, too - I had imaginary friends to play games with, as an only child, and I turned out okay (hush up, you over there!).
But how do we handle it? Indulge them? Ignore it? Tell them not to be silly? How about asking them to let us in on their imaginary world, so we can get a sense of what's going on in there? After all, their minds are pretty interesting. You will, no doubt, be shocked to hear I have a few stories about imaginary friends that might be nice shared reading, but also just might open up the discussion for you.
Jessica, by Kevin Henkes
(Hey, I haven't had a Kevin Henkes on here for a while, plus, it's a good one about Just This Thing. Be quiet. Or should I say - Shhh!) Ruthie Simms has a best friend Jessica. She may be imaginary, but she's a terrific companion (and occasional scapegoat). Even though Ruthie's parents insist she's not real, she is to Ruthie. And so she goes to kindergarten with her, where Ruthie is suddenly faced with a dilemma. The problem is solved, however, when the real live girl in front of her introduces herself - as Jessica. And now she really does have a best friend.
My Dinosaur, by Mark Alan Weatherby
A young girl waits for her dinosaur at night and has a wild and magical romp through the forest, dipping into the river, reaching past the treetops, and playing games of hide-and-seek. As day breaks, she returns to bed, and morning finds her yawning over her Cheerios. The pictures in this book are just wonderful, suffused with moonlight, the dinosaur just gentle enough not to frighten, and the girl's face alive with joy.
Clara and Asha, by Eric Rohmann
Clara's imaginary friend Asha plays with her in a range of scenarios, including in the bathtub, at Hallowe'en, and at her tea parties. She is just the friend a girl needs, though we learn at the end that she is not Asha's only pretend friend... Gorgeously illustrated and sweetly low-key in tone.
Originally posted on MommyBlogsToronto/Better Than a Playdate.