Sofia and Maddi are best friends who love to play in the park together. Sofia is a fast runner and Maddi is a great climber. But when Sofia goes to her friend’s house for an after school snack, she discovers the fridge is nearly empty and that Maddi’s mom does not have enough money for food. Sworn to secrecy, Sofia tries to help her friend any way she can.
Text addresses the serious issues of poverty and hunger, but with levity and humour in the children’s friendship. The repeated ritual of Sofia smuggling food from home to bring to Maddi, with mostly unsuccessful results, is increasingly ridiculous: “‘Yuck!’ Maddi said the next day. ‘Oh!’ Sofia said. ‘Double Yuck.’ Fish may be good for kids, but fish is not good for backpacks.” A playful tone prevails for the young girls, even as they face their problems.
Colourful illustrations rendered in digital tablet and pen add warmth as well. The girls have large goggle eyes and friendly grins. Cartoon-style drawings show Maddi peering into her bare fridge on one page, with her friend’s full fridge contrasting on the page opposite. The two images are connected by a strip above, showing Sofia walking down a city street pondering how to help her friend. Sofia ultimately breaks her promise and appeals to her mom for help.
Six steps for helping “Friends Who Have Empty Refrigerators” is included at the back, along with links to organizations that deal with hunger.
Elementary English Language Arts Activities
Draw a picture of a fridge with three things you would like to find there. Discuss how your preferences compare with what is actually inside your fridge. Notice the variety of foods people like to eat.
What does it mean to be a good friend? Find examples of how Maddi and Sofia are good friends. When is it okay or not okay for a friend to break a promise?
Read the back page titled “Let’s Help Friends Who Have Empty Refrigerators.” Carry out one of the suggestions, such as making posters for a local food bank or organizing a school-wide food drive.
Elementary English as a Second Language Activities
What foods are typically found in a fridge? What about in the pantry?
Based on the cover, make predictions about the story. After a read-aloud, compare your predictions to the actual text.
Discuss the problem found in the story. How do you think Maddi feels? How does her situation affect her life in school?
Research how you can help or donate food in your area. Organize a food drive at your school. Produce promotional posters that explain what is needed.
Discuss circumstances under which secrets should or should not be broken.
- To cooperate with others
- To exercise critical judgment
- To solve problems
- To use information
Broad Areas of Learning
- Citizenship and Community Life
- Health and Well-Being
- Physical Education and Health