You’re Mean, Lily Jean By Frieda Wishinsky




If you are looking for a book to start a conversation about how to be a good friend, look no further!


Carly and Sandy are sisters and they always play together. Sandy looks after her little sister, Carly and the two always have a great time. Then Lily Jean moves in next door.

Lily Jean thinks she’s pretty terrific and she doesn’t mind telling Sandy and Carly all about it. When she decides to play with Sandy, she instructs Carly that she can only join if she does what she’s told.

When they play ‘house’, Carly has to be the baby.

When they play ‘cowgirls’, Carly has to be the cow.

When they play ‘king and queen’, Carly has to be the dog.

But Carly is a bit fed up of mean Lily Jean and she and Sandy decide it might be time to teach the new neighbour a lesson!

Why I love it:

As the mother of an eight-year-old girl, I becoming quite familiar with the ups and downs of playground friendship. This is a terrific book for discussing how to be a good friend and how to play fairly.

As adults, it seems obvious to us to be kind and fair in our friendships, but often this is something that really does need to be taught.

It’s also just as important to teach our children the value in standing up for ourselves and our true friends and not letting anyone get away with unkind behaviour. These are tricky concepts, discussed in a light picture book; it’s certainly a great place to begin!

Themes/ideas to discuss with your child:

  • Kindness
  • Friendship
  • Empathy
  • Support
  • Resilience
  • Fairness
  • Listening
  • Looking after your friends
  • Standing up to bullies

Questions to ask your child:

Before reading:
  • What do you think this book might be about?
  • Do you think this is a fiction book (a story) or a non-fiction book (facts)?
  • Is this a book you want to read? Why/why not?
  • How many children are on the front cover?
  • How do you think the child on the left is feeling?
  • How do you think the child in the middle is acting?
  • How do you think the child on the right is feeling?
  • What do you think the three children are doing together?
  • Which child do you think is Lily Jean? What makes you think this?
After reading:
  • Did you enjoy this book? Why/why not?
  • Do you think Lily Jean was being mean?
  • How do you think it would have felt to be Carly?
  • How do you think it would have felt to be Sandy?
  • What could Sandy have done to stick up for her little sister?
  • Have you ever had a friend like Lily Jean?
  • If so, how have you dealt with the situation?
  • What do you think it means to be a good friend?

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