Do You Want to Be My Friend? which was published forty years ago in 1971 is my favorite book. It has only eight words. But it’s not a simple book. It’s a guessing game: what animal is attached to each tail? And a mystery: why is there a green border on the bottom of every page? And it is a story about friendship. Friendship is very important to children, adults sometimes forget that.

When I was six years old my parents and I moved from Syracuse NY, where I was born, to Germany. Almost daily, I would ask them “When are we going home?”

Soon after our move to Germany, I received a letter from my friend Carlton Mayer in Syracuse. “Dear Eric,” he wrote. “I would licke to see you so bad wen are you koming back again?” Twenty years later, I arrived at his doorstep and he recognized me. “You’re Eric!” he said. I still have his precious letter and in my heart Do You Want to Be My Friend? is for Carlton.