Lu is waiting to be picked up after school. She stands on the sidewalk, all alone, and it starts to rain. Ms. Smith walks by, and offers to take her home. Ms. Smith lives in Lu’s neighborhood—but does Lu really know her? Lu asks herself, what’s her first name? Does she dye her hair red? What’s her dog’s name? And she says, “I don’t know you, so I won’t go with you! And besides, Mama said I should wait.”
As other adults—all of whom Lu has met in some capacity before—offer to take her home, Lu continues to consider if she really knows them. One by one, she refuses to go with them. Until, finally, the person Mama said she should go home with shows up—though his appearance is a surprise to the reader!
This sensitively narrated story illustrates how clear rules and arrangements can help protect and empower children during an especially vulnerable time of day. The ending includes a prompt for readers to create their own similar “safe” list, and a list of resources for parents.