When the recess bell rang, Grace hurried toward the slide with Samantha.
Chloe came running behind them. “Grace, let’s play zookeeper on the jungle gym.”
“We’re playing on the slide,” Grace said. “Want to come? We can all play together.”
“No, we can’t,” Chloe said. “You have to pick Samantha or me.”
Grace frowned. “But I already told Samantha …”
“Fine!” Chloe said, and she stomped away.
Grace walked with Samantha toward the slide. They heard Chloe’s voice behind them. She was talking to the teacher on recess duty, Mrs. Haskins.
“Grace says she doesn’t want to play with me,” Chloe said.
Grace whirled around. “That’s not what I—”
“Let’s be nice, girls,” Mrs. Haskins said.
So Grace played with Chloe, and Samantha played with someone else.
Grace thought back to the beginning of the year when she met Chloe. They played together almost every day at recess. Now Grace was getting to know the other children in her class. But Chloe got upset when Grace played with someone else. Maybe Grace could hide from Chloe at recess or tell her she didn’t want to be friends anymore. But that wouldn’t be kind.
As Mom drove home from school, Grace sighed.
“That sounds like a sad sigh,” Mom said. “What’s wrong?”
Grace told Mom about Chloe. “Friends shouldn’t be annoying, should they?”
“Do you think Chloe is trying to be annoying?” Mom asked.
“No, I don’t think so,” Grace said.
“Do you think you should tell Chloe she’s annoying?” Mom asked.
Grace pictured herself telling Chloe. She imagined that Chloe’s face would look very sad.
“No,” Grace said. “That doesn’t seem right.”
“Maybe you’ll need to work on not feeling annoyed with Chloe,” Mom said. “That’s a hard thing to do. Maybe you can think of some ideas and we can talk about it again at bedtime.”
That afternoon, Grace sat thinking. She needed some ideas for being patient with Chloe.
Then Grace remembered something. Her teacher, Mrs. Rosario, had shown the class a fun way to think of ideas. Mrs. Rosario called it an idea web.
Grace grabbed a piece of paper and wrote Chloe’s name in the center. Then she circled it and drew four lines coming out of the circle. At the end of each line, Grace wrote one thing she liked about Chloe.
Fun to play with
Grace decided that when she felt annoyed with Chloe, she could think of the reasons she liked Chloe.
At bedtime, Grace showed Mom the paper.
“What a great idea,” Mom said.
“I just thought of something else,” Grace said. “I could give this paper to Chloe at school tomorrow.”
“Another great idea,” Mom said. “I knew you’d think of something.”
At recess the next day, Grace headed outside.
“Chloe!” Grace called. “I have something for you!” Grace handed the paper to Chloe.
“It’s an idea web, isn’t it?” Chloe said.
“Yes,” Grace said. “Those are things I like about you.”
“Thanks,” Chloe said with a smile. “This is so cool.”
Even though the wind was chilly, Grace felt warm and happy as she played with Chloe. When the bell rang, Chloe looked at the paper again.
“I’m going to make an idea web for you,” she said to Grace. “And maybe tomorrow we could show Samantha how to play zookeeper.”
Grace smiled. Tomorrow would be another great day.