A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
Positive Role Models & Representations
Violence & Scariness
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Invisible Boy is an excellent choice for sparking open-ended conversations with children about friendship and empathy. It shows small but important ways to be a good friend and challenge the power of a group. It's equally helpful for teaching kids how to be an upstander and for kids who feel excluded by their peers. Its gentle message is conveyed clearly without being overbearing.
What's the story?
Brian feels invisible. He's ignored by his classmates and even overlooked by his teacher. When a new student named Justin arrives, some of the kids poke fun at his lunch. Brian, who loves to draw when he's alone, leaves a picture in Justin's backpack with a note: "I thought the bulgogi looked good." Later, when it's time to pick partners in class, Brian again is shunted aside. Emilio chooses Justin, but then Justin suggests adding Brian to form a three-person team. At lunch, Justin calls Brian to join him at a table, with a welcoming nod from Emilio. Sharing cookies with Justin, Brian feels like he might not be invisible after all.
Is it any good?
With THE INVISIBLE BOY, author Trudy Ludwig taps into the everyday insecurities and agonies of elementary school without making anyone a villain. Patrice Barton's illustrations show similar empathy: Her depiction of a room of children sizing up the new kid is painfully on-target. She cleverly introduces Brian, the invisible boy, in shades of white and gray. As Justin starts to draw him into his social circle, the first blush of color tints his cheeks. By the story's end, Brian shares the same soft hues as his classmates.
Ludwig's message is neither strident nor cloying. Brian gets Justin's attention only by reaching out to him, and Justin helps open doors for Brian through small, thoughtful gestures. The discussion questions at the book's end are a terrific guide for parents and teachers, and the author's website has links to more resources.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Author: Trudy Ludwig
- Illustrator: Patrice Barton
- Genre: Friendship
- Topics: Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Random House Children's Books
- Publication date: October 8, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 6 - 9
- Number of pages: 40
- Available on: Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
For kids who love picture books and empathy stories
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.