When I was a child, I lived just two houses down from my friend Emily, and on snow days I would bring my sled over to her house. When my parents told me that Emily was moving away, I was so sad to say goodbye — but I was also scared of what was going to happen next. Who would move into Emily’s old house? Would I be able to make a new friend, or would I be sledding solo?
Chances are, you probably have a similar story. A friend moving away can be a difficult thing for many children to cope with. It’s comforting for them to know that they’re not alone, and that their sadness won’t last forever. Uzoma R. Ezekwudo’s wonderfully touching new book, Lee and Limbo, is the perfect story to help them deal with these turbulent emotions.
MOVING ON AFTER LOSS
Every morning, Limbo the cat walks over to her friend Lee’s house on 7 Lamar Lane. There, the two cats spend the whole day playing in the yard, splashing in the birdbath and chasing butterflies. They’re best friends, and Limbo can’t imagine doing anything without Lee there by her side.
That is, until Lee’s family has to move away. Limbo waits at Lee’s old home and meows for him to come out, but the house is empty. She returns to the yard every day, just in case he comes back — but he doesn’t. It seems Lee’s left for good.
Limbo wanders around Lee’s old yard, sad and confused, missing her best friend terribly. But one day, a new family comes and moves into the house. Even more exciting, the family has two pets: a cat named Eli and a poodle named Sugar.
At first, Limbo hesitates to introduce herself — after being Lee’s friend for so long and then having to say goodbye, she’s unsure of making new friends. What if they don’t like her? But despite her fears, Limbo is quickly welcomed into the group. Soon she’s back to playing with her neighbors and feeling happier than she has in ages. Limbo doesn’t forget the friendship she had with Lee, but her new friends bring her comfort and help her find joy once again.
The emotion in this story is so genuine, it turns out, because Ezekwudo was influenced by a true story. “I was inspired to write Lee and Limbo by the genuine friendship and love between two cats in Chapel Hill, a beautiful, small University town in North Carolina where love abounds. When Lee left and Limbo became sad, I realized that animals, like human beings, experience deep emotional bonds, too.”
This real-life inspiration shows just how relatable this story is — whether you’re a person or a cat, you’ve probably had to deal with a long-distance friendship, or even the loss of one. This book brings comfort by telling us that there’s nothing wrong with feeling sadness, and that the heartache is a testament to the love that you shared.
Zulfikar Rachiman’s beautiful, colorful illustrations mesh perfectly with Ezekwudo’s storytelling, creating an immersive reading experience that will capture any reader’s eye, young or old. Lee and Limbo also includes an original song celebrating friendship called “Make New Friends.” The author also provides questions for young readers, encouraging critical thought about the story and strengthening reading comprehension.
As the cover reads, “Friends come and go, life continues and gets better.” Lee and Limbo demonstrates this sentiment perfectly, reminding us that while our time with our loved ones may be temporary, the bond that is formed can last a lifetime. While we may still feel the lingering sadness of that absence, we shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to exciting new friendships.
Learn more about the author and her book in our Author Spotlight interview.