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My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  461 ratings  ·  120 reviews
Zulay and her three best friends are all in the same first grade class and study the same things, even though Zulay is blind. When their teacher asks her students what activity they want to do on Field Day, Zulay surprises everyone when she says she wants to run a race. With the help of a special aide and the support of her friends, Zulay does just that.
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published January 13th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Chinook Zulay is blind and is learning to use a cane at school. She trains to run a race for Field Day.

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Average rating 3.90  · 
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Dec 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Yesterday Liz took Poppy to the library while the other girls were at school. Poppy saw this book while she was there and HAD to get it for El.

And since Gwen just got to write a review on her own, El was hoping to write one on her own today. So, my feed will be full of children's books for a while. But, I love children's books. So, it's all good.

Eleanor: It was a very good book... very interesting. And it had some similarities to my days at school.

Dad: Is that why you think Poppy picked it out f
Sep 06, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a children’s picture book about a young girl named Zulay who is visually impaired. It primarily focuses on her time at school and her accomplishments, especially regarding the challenges she faces using her cane.
Mar 03, 2022 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
3/3/22 Read with Naomi and Julia
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids
This was a great book for diversity - not just because it can be hard to find books about a disabled child of colour, but also because the book slowly shares clues that Zulay is blind rather than stating it outright. Since Kait and Maddie haven’t yet met anyone who is blind, it took them awhile and a few leading questions to realize and it’s a good skill to practice, taking context clues to form ideas about characters.
Apr 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes kids books about "differences" come off as too preachy or sacrifices good characters/storyline to make the point, but I felt like this one did a great job balancing. The goal of this book was to show that while Zulay was blind, she has friends, is well liked in her school, can do some things even better than some of the other kids, like math, AND is able to accomplish her goal of running at Field Day by the end of the book. It also touched on some of the fears and discomfort she feels ...more
Caitlyn Randall
Sep 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: exceptionalities
The book starts with the main character describing the familiar classroom, she brings us through the school day with the blindness that she has. The end follows up with the Successful running the relay with the progress and support of her friends and her teacher. I would recommend this book because of the book consist of supporting people. This book would be great for the age group 4-5 years old.
Stephanie Fujii
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
This wasn't really age appropriate for Amaya, but she chose it anyway. It was a good story, and I guess you are never really too young to read about people who are different. I like how it voiced Zulay's feelings about being isolated and singled out, and how her friends "helped each other and […] helped ourselves." ...more
Patricia Lamoza
My favorite thing about this book is that Zulay, the main character, is trying to achieve something she doesn't yet know how to do, and the fact that she happens to be blind has very little to do with it.

The story opens with a glimpse into the classroom where there are 22 of everything, cluing us to the fact that everything is equal here. Zulay is a first grader with friends, Hershey kisses hidden in her desk, and capable of cleaning her own carrots. Not until page 8 of the book do we see that
Jasmine Woods
This book is a realistic fiction that tells the story of a blind black girl named Zulay. Zulay has three best friends who she spends a lot of time with in school and who all help each other whenever one is struggling with something. Zulay speaks of her struggles she has had with being blind through the story. At school, Zulay feels insecure whenever she has to leave her class to go work with a Ms. Turner on learning how to walk with her cane. Though, Zulay gets better at walking with her cane an ...more
Kayleigh Goodman
My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay is a realistic fiction book about Zulay and her three best friends. They are all spunky little girls, and the only difference between them is that Zulay is blind. She does not let her blindness stop her and is determined to run in the schools upcoming field day race. With the help of her therapist, Zulay learns to run with her cane and her therapist by her side. This book shows children that you do not have to let a disability define you. It also shows childre ...more
Caitlen Thomas
Apr 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book for first or second graders. The words stayed in that reading level with only a few words like "braille" that would need assistance. Zulay is blind. She is also silly, has trouble staying quiet, and hates being called out. She knows when a teacher has new perfume and knows by the juicy fruit breath when her teacher is right behind her.
Zulay types on a braille typewriter. She uses her cane during outside time. She is nervous but she is always willing to try. She dreams of being
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay," is the story of Zulay and what she goes through at school. Readers meet her friends, learn about her teachers, and learn about her goals. It is about halfway through the books that many readers will infer that Zulay is blind and will learn about her working toward her goal of running a race.

This book was such a great surprise to find at my library. I read it to my students immediately and they became so invested in the story, especially once they realized
Amy Eibel
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Summary: My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay is about four best friends who are in the same class and love to be together during the school day. Zulay is blind and is learning how to write with the help of her tutor Ms. Turner and friends. Field day is coming up at their school and Zulay decides she wants to learn how to run around the track. She achieves this goal and runs around the track like her other classmates.

Theme: This book has themes of inclusivity, friendship, and facing fears

Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I super liked this book featuring a girl with a disabilty in a mainstream classroom. It was well written and illustrated. We had a great discussion after reading this book about disabilities. We talked about the things we learned from the book. We talked about her skills and adaptations. We thought some of the things she could do sounded really neat and some of the things she did seemed really hard. We talked about how she would be a good friend because she was kind, friendly, and helpful. We al ...more
Jasmine Na
Nov 01, 2017 rated it liked it
My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay is about Zulay, a girl who is blind and her life at school. At first glance, the illustrations does not show that Zulay is blind, but in the classroom the desks have the student's names written and in braille. The story is about Zulay's struggle of learning to use a cane to walk and she does not like using it because it is hard for her to learn. The only issue I had with this story is for the teacher to single out Zulay and share that she was going to go with ...more
Taylor Galloway
This is a beautiful story that takes readers along as Zulay learns how to use a cane, to help with her visual disability. Zulay hates being singled out due to being blind, and she feels like having her cane does exactly that. However, she does not let this stop her from participating in school's field day event. Zulay is determined to run in the field day event and works hard with Ms. Turner to be able to run.

Throughout the illustration we see diverse characters within her classroom, along with
Carley Eiken
Oct 09, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked how this book was really positive and up-lifting. At first I did not know that the main character was blind until she was using a brail type-writer in class and a walking stick. The main character Zulay is an ambitious girl who may be blind, but that does not stop her from wanting to run in a race on field day. I was not a fan of how the teacher called out Zulay's name and secluded her out of the group. No one likes to be singles out, but I did like how the teacher worked one-on-one with ...more
Kelli Koeppen
Aug 12, 2022 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Zulay and her three best friends are all in the same first grade class. Even though Zulay is blind she is able to hang out with her friends and dance and participate in most of the same activities. She is not happy that she must learn how to walk with her cane, even though her aide tells her how easier her life will be when she can use one. It is announced one day that the class will take part in the school’s field day activities and Zulay surprises her classmates when she decides to run in the ...more
Mary Green
Aug 11, 2020 added it
Shelves: ed-438
So, suffice to say I love this book! It is about a girl named Zulay who is blind, but trying her best in general education classroom. Her accommodations are mentioned throughout the book, but they are not the focus; the focus in the book is how Zulay wants to run in her pink shoes and the people who support her as she does just that! Her announcement about wanting to run in her pink shoes was taken as a guarantee in her classroom that she would do it because she was Zulay. I really loved this bo ...more
Brianna Applegate
The first thing I noticed was how the illustrator incorporated braille on each students desk next to their name. This is a great example of how one small thing a teacher does can help so much in making a student feel like they belong. Also I loved how it not only showed Maya helping Zulay in drawing a pyramid, but it also showed Zulay helping Maya with counting tens and ones. This reinforces the idea that they are best friends and they all help each other even Zulay where she can. The repetition ...more
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Zulay and her friends, how they are the same and different in this school where they wear uniforms and are the same in many ways but Zulay must do things differently. This is a nice treatment of a multi-cultural classroom with many different children and Zulay who is blind and must learn to use a cane to move around. Zulay types on her Brailler and all the name tags in the room have the students name in Braille dots. Gives children a new perspective on children with a disability showing how the ...more
Diana Tran
Apr 06, 2020 added it
Shelves: disability
My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay is about four best friends who are in the same class and are almost always together. Zulay is blind and is learning how to write with the help of her tutor Ms. Turner and friends. I love how tin the book, it is not said directly that Zulay is blind. They give clues that Zulay is blind and it is a great book that has the themes of inclusiveness, friendship and facing your fears. I think this is a great book to read in any grade and it shows that nobody has to b ...more
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: inclusion
New york times reviewed this book and it was rated highly. This is one of my new favorite books. Zulay and her three best freinds all are in the same first grade class. Zulay helps her friends with classwork and her friends guide her. Zulay is blind. That does not stop her from anything. She even works hard to learn to use her stick so she can win a race on field day. This would be the perfect read aloud for 1st or 2nd grade class while learning about Helen Keller. I heard the story on youtube.
Anna Larson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Madison Heck
Mar 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: t-l-307
My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay has great common themes of friendship and inclusivity throughout the story. In this book, Zulay and her three best friends go through a typical day of school where they skip through the halls, sing songs, and help each other with their school work. Zulay is visually impaired so when her best friends go to P.E class she practices using her cane, but she doesn't let that stop her from accomplishing what she wants. This story is great not only because of its insp ...more
This special picture book tells the inspiring story of Zulay, a blind girl who is determined to run in a foot race at her school's field day. Zulay has lots of friends in first grade. But she still feels self conscious about using her cane. Her teacher works with her to overcome her reluctance to learn how to use it and participate in the race. This would be a great book to have on the shelf to learn more about inclusivity and children with special needs. ...more
Marie Arie
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: exceptionalities
Awesome book of a little girl named Zulay. Zulay loves school and loves her 3 best friends. Zulay is blind and is learning how to become more independent by learning braille and using her cane to walk. She is able to run in race with the help of her teacher. Great book for children with disabilities to keep trying, even though learning to work through challenges can difficult its all worth it at the end.
Sep 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
I feel like this book should be called:
"My Two Best Friends, this other girl we don't like, and Me, Zulay."

first off, For being 'title characters' Zulay's friends are given very little to do and have no personality, except the one they don't treat very well for no real reason? idk i appreciate the story of Zulay persisting and achieving her goal, i just feel some pieces were missing to make this a better story overall
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
It was an alright book that had nice illustrations. I really liked how the main character, Zulay, is blind and how the book shows how she had to adjust to the walking stick and different things at school. I never thought about how blind people would have to adjust to their walking stick and how they might not like it. This book opened my eyes to that and I'm thankful for that. I also didn't know the walking stick is collapsable! ...more
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Cari Best has written many award-winning picture books, including Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, and My Three Best Friends and Me, described by the New York Times as “refreshing” and “exciting.” Her most recent picture book is If I Could Drive, Mama, was described by Publishers Weekly as “a wonderful tribute to an imagination in perpetual motion.” In ...more

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