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I don't care - except about the important stuff

Cover of I Don't Care
A review of I Don't Care by Julie Fogliano, Illustrated by Molly Idle & Juana Martinez-Neal

This book opens with two kids drawn in graphite - one with teal highlights and one with yellow - arms crossed, facing away from each other, with text that defiantly states,

"i really don't care what you think of my hair or my eyes or my toes or my nose."

As the kids slowly start noticing each other, the text continues listing things that the narrator doesn't care about: "i don't care if you think that my lunches smell weird or if you don't like my dad's giant black beard." And then, as they begin playing together, "i really don't care what you do with YOUR hair," pointing out all the small differences between these friends that really don't matter. 

By now the kids are laughing and spinning in circles as we begin to hear about the things they DO care about:

"but I really do care that you always play fair and don't change the rules when i'm winning...and i care if you smile and i care if you're sad and i care if you're worried and i care if you're mad."

But most of all, with green illustrations created from overlapping teal and yellow, "i care that we're friends and i care that we're true."

As someone who cares a little too much about what other people think of me, I LOVED this book so much. It reads like a poem, with perfect gentle rhymes and simple phrases highlighting what's truly important to care about, and reminded me about the small things that we can let go. 

The illustrator note from Molly Idle tells the story of how she read the text and immediately pictured herself and her friend, Juana Martinez-Neal, as their younger selves. The two besties collaborated on the illustrations, each first drawing what they pictured for each page and sending their art traveling across the country between studios as they collaborated to combine their individual styles and their favorite colors, yellow and teal. 


May 22, 2023