Discover Friendship with Jessica by Kevin Henkes


by Kevin Henkes
Greenwillow Books
Copyright 1989
Laptitme - 3 - 5 years
Story Circle - preschool - Kindergarten

When my daughter was little I thought for certain that she had an imaginary friend named Lina. She talked about Lina all of the time but I had never met her. Of course, I played along because having an imaginary friend is a wonderful part of early childhood.  I was so surprised one day to walk into the church nursery and have my daughter introduce me to a real little girl, her favorite friend, Lina.

In this sweet book about friendship, Ruthie and Jessica are inseparable. The only problem is is that only Ruthie can see Jessica. Ruthie's parents try to convince her that there is no Jessica but Jessica continues to be Ruthie's constant companion. On the first day of kindergarten Ruthie takes Jessica along but is surprised to find friendship in a real girl named Jessica.

Laptime Lesson Plan Ideas:
Have an Imaginary Friend Tea Party
  • Invite two or three of your child's friends over for a party.
  • Help your child to create an invitation for each guest. Include on the invitation that they are to bring an imaginary friend with them. 
  • Before the guests arrive discuss with your child what kind of questions that they can ask to get to know each imaginary guest:  what do the imaginary people like to do, what is their favorite food, what do they look like, how old are they?
  • Spend time in the kitchen together baking something delicious to serve at the party. Be sure and make enough to serve everyone, imaginary guests are often very hungry
  • Have your child set the table for each guest and their imaginary friends and make place cards for each guest, filling in the name of the imaginary friends when they arrive.
  • When the guests arrive be sure and greet and introduce each visible and invisible friend. 
  • Encourage everyone's imagination to play along: include the invisible friends in conversation, play a game like Duck Duck Goose and be sure and choose both kinds of friends to be 'goose', be careful not to sit or bump into anyone. 
Start a Friendship Album
  • Take pictures of your child's friends and include them in a scrapbook with a page for each friend.  Add pages as needed.
  • Whenever your child does something fun or special with a friend have your child dictate or write a few sentences about their adventures.  
  • Include memory items such as movie tickets, bookmarks from the library, napkins from restaurants, a leaf from a walk together. Items with print on them are especially good for letter and symbol recognition. 
  • After a few months your child will have a full Friendship Book that they can read on their own or to you.
Story Circle Lesson Plan Ideas
Gallery of Imaginary Friends
You will need:
drawing paper for each child
crayons or markers
writing paper
  • Brainstorm: Ask the class about the characteristics of a good friend, discuss what they like to do with their friends, if they could travel anywhere with their friend- where would they go. Encourage their imaginations.
  • Give each child a piece of drawing paper and have them draw a picture of their imaginary friend.
  • Give each child a piece of writing paper and have them write or dictate* a short story about their friend using a prompt such as: One day my imaginary friend and I went....   My favorite game to play with my imaginary friend is.....    I like my imaginary friend because.....
  • Hang the pictures and stories on the wall or bulletin board in a Gallery of Imaginary Friends.
*Writing down dictated stories is a great job for a parent volunteer or an aide. 
    Teach Your Story Circle the Best Friends Forever Song (The BFF Song) by Bryant Oden from
    This is a fun and lighthearted song about friendship with an easy to learn chorus. Right now the site is offering a free download of the vocal recording and the instrumental karoke recording. The lyrics and guitar chords are also given on the site. While you are there be sure and check out the other fun kid's songs on Songdrops.

    If you would like to add Jessica by Kevin Henkes to your own library, I have one hardback copy for sale at Wondersome Storytime Vintage Books,  click this link - Jessica.

    We'd love to hear your ideas for teaching about friendship. Leave us a comment or share a Reader Review.

    Happy Reading,
    Dee Ann

    1 comment:

    kay said...

    I absolutely love your idea for the imaginary friend party. That's the best idea I've heard in a long time. You are such a creative person. Thanks for keeping up this wonderful blog.