by D. Herman
This story takes the reader through a week and a half of Carla’s life. Quickly the reader sees that Carla loves to be different. She brings her own very unique lunches to school every day. Her meals include: the banana-cottage-cheese-delight on a baguette; chopped liver, potato chip, and cucumber sandwich; and even a lettuce, tomato, raisin, bean sprout, pretzel, and mayonnaise sandwich. As the week goes on, other students make fun of her lunch because they think it is weird and gross. The biggest bully is Buster. Eventually, no one wants to eat with Carla. One day, Buster forgets his lunch and Carla offers him one of her extra sandwiches. He reluctantly accepts the offer. To the surprise of the entire class, he loves it! The next day everyone brings their own unique concoction to school only to find Carla eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. When asked why she did not bring one of her own crazy creations Carla simply responds, “I like to be different.”
While the sandwiches are certainly unique, this book identifies how it feels for children to be different. Carla goes from being proud to be different to sad and alone at lunch. However, she does not change and eventually is accepted by the other students. Overall, this book utilizes food to deliver a positive social message. However, more emphasis is placed on different rather than healthy food choices.
After reading this book with your child:
Carla’s Sandwich by D. Herman. Flashlight Press, New York: 2004.