The Invisible Boy

by Trudy Ludwig

Other authorsPatrice Barton (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 2013





Knopf Books for Young Readers (2013), 40 pages


Brian has always felt invisible at school, but when a new student, Justin, arrives, everything changes.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Tammie14
I loved this book. I’m a sucker for a book with a deep moral lesson, and this book hits the spot. I especially enjoyed the illustrations, overall story, and message.

Patrice Barton’s illustrations bring this story to life. The way she draws Brian in faint black and white and the remaining picture in color in the beginning of the book makes Brian almost invisible to the reader. It is symbolic of the way Brian feels. As Brian begins to blossom with the help and kindness of Justin, Barton begins to gradually draw Brian in color, embodying Brian’s sense of self.

“The Other Side” addresses the subtle bullying of a child through isolation rather than through blatant teasing. I feel that this an important issue that needs to be addressed and am happy to see Ludwig address it in her book. When all the children are talking about the birthday party that Brian was not invited to, I feel and see his sense of sadness and isolation. Being left out is just as bad as being openly teased and hurts just the same.

The big messages of the story are that it is mean to leave people out and that the act of kindness from just one person can make all the difference in the world.
… (more)
LibraryThing member Ella.Kennen
Brian is very real, but he might as well be invisible. He doesn't get picked to play sports, he's not wanted at the lunch table, and even the teacher is too busy trying to reign in his more boisterous classmates to pay him any mind. And the one day a new boy comes, a different boy...

This sweet, sensitive book is valuable to both those who feel invisible in their classroom and to those who might accidentally treat someone that way. Given how prevalent this problem is, it's surprising that more books don't tackle it in such a direct, earnest way, but THE INVISIBLE BOY fills that niche nicely.… (more)
LibraryThing member melodyreads
Nicely done classroom story, though maybe more to help adults see how things work for kids ...
LibraryThing member CarolinePfrang
“The Invisible Boy” focuses on feeling invisible, finding yourself, bullying, and friendships. This story takes place in a classroom where a boy named Brian is never noticed by the teacher or his classmates. This story focused on a more subtle form of bullying which is not often talked about. The author does this by having the teacher not pay attention to Brian and his classmates never pick him as a partner or teammate. One of the biggest, and most creative, ways the author showed Brian’s journey in finding himself and friends was through the use of color in illustrations. In the start of the book, Brian’s character is drawn in all black and white. As he begins to make new friends Brian’s character slowly gains more color and in the end when he makes friends with his classmates he is in full color. I found this to be a very creative way to show how a character feels internally. Another way the author shows how Brian feels invisible is by having side pictures with how he feels at that current moment. For example, when none of his classmates picked him to be their partner there was a picture off to the side with Brian jumping into a hole. These were two very creative ways that the author showed how being invisible felt to Brian.… (more)
LibraryThing member lpicke2
I liked this story. I really enjoyed the illustrations of the main character. The invisible boy was portrayed in black and white because he felt invisible and once he feels accepted, he is then portrayed in color. I also liked that it was a multicultural book because the young Korean boy and Caucasian boy became friends in the story. The big idea is that once someone feels accepted, that makes the person feel happy and joyful, rather than invisible.… (more)
LibraryThing member Madams21
The theme of this book is one of being ignored and unwanted. I enjoyed this book because I feel that every child has felt invisible at one time or another. I also think that it can be used in a classroom to talk about being kind. You can have students talk about how they think Brian felt when the other students wouldn’t pick him to play games with them. Then you can move on to how Justin found a way to include Brian and how that made Brian feel. You can also talk about how Justin found worth in Brian’s friendship like when they used him to illustrate their story. I also liked the illustrations of Brian. They started off black and white when he was being ignored but then progressed to having color as he was being seen as a person.… (more)
LibraryThing member MelissaPatek
The Invisible Boy is about a little boy, Brian, to whom no one isn school pays attention. The theme of the book is friendship. I really enjoyed this book. One thing that I really liked about it was the illustrations. The illustrations depict the idea that Brian is invisible, but as the story continues and he makes a friend, they change to show that he has become less invisible. When the book begins all of the illustrations are colored in except for Brian who is white and outlined in blue. As the story continues and Brian makes a friend, Justin, Brian becomes colored in like the rest of the illustrations. A second thing I really enjoyed about this story was the description of picking teams. The book says that the best kids were chosen, then their friends, then friends of those friends, and then Brian is the last one picked. I think this is one of the most accurate descriptions of picking teams that I have ever read. A third thing that I really enjoyed about this book was how Brian ended up becoming like the superhero he was drawing. His superhero had the power to make friends wherever he went. In one of his drawings, someone gives the superhero a cookie, and at the end of the story, Justin gives Brian a cookie. I loved how Brian was becoming like his superhero.… (more)
LibraryThing member EmilySadler
I thought this was a wonderful book about being kind and not excluding anyone. It is relatable to all students because they can see themselves in a character in the book. They might be the new student, the kid who is ignored, or the kid who makes fun of others. I really liked the character development. The author portrays the characters strictly through their actions. For example, the new Korean student, Justin, ate a Korean meal at lunch called bulgogi. The other students laughed at him, but one kid Brian sends him a note saying he thinks bulgogi is cool. The reader understands that Justin feels lonely and strange in a new environment and that Brian is trying to make a new friend. The illustrations really brought the concept of including others to life. Brian, the invisible boy, is all gray, showing that he is ignored by everyone in the class, including the teacher. He starts to gain color when Justin talks to him. By the end of the book Brian is completely visible because he works with the other students in the class and is no longer ignored. Overall, I thought this book was a great way to help students understand the feelings of others and the importance of including everyone in daily activities.… (more)
LibraryThing member awhite43
I enjoyed the book “The Invisible Boy” by Trudy Ludwig. Right from the start the illustrations and descriptions of Brian, emphasized his isolation and reminded me of times in my life where I felt overshadowed and pushed aside by others around me. The drawings of Nathan and Sophie that are larger than life compared to Brians small pencil sketched illustration early on help to make this more apparent. I felt Brian’s excitement as the author and the accompanying illustrations described his feelings when Justin arrives and befriends Brian making him feel as if he is wanted and appreciated. As Brian gradually gains color through each new positive interaction with Brian I felt like I have in similar situations, that feeling of slowly gaining confidence that made me feel able to participate without fear of being ignored or disregarded. The main idea of this book is made clear through Brian’s experiences, showing how alone and dehumanizing bullying can make a child and even adult feel.… (more)
LibraryThing member CassandraQuigley
I enjoyed this book for a few different reasons. One thing I liked about this book was the illustration, because it helped to portray the emotions of the characters. An example of this was when the main character Brian, otherwise known as the invisible boy, was shades of gray and blue colors when he felt invisible and not accepted by his peers, but he became colorful and bright when the new boy in class started to include him in things. Another thing that I like about the book was the use of dialogue bubbles. I liked this feature, because it enhanced the idea that the characters where actually talking instead of just having sentence structured dialogue.
The main message that I concluded after reading the book was do not judge a book by its cover, because everyone prejudge Brian to be a nerd or not cool, but when they got to know him the realized that he was “cool” after all.
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LibraryThing member sarabeck
I thought this was a wonderful book. Brian was a young boy who was always left out. When picking teams he wasn’t just picked last, he was forgotten entirely. Other students never included him in their group, invited him to their birthday party, or asked him to do anything. When the new student Justin came to school, Brian was the first to welcome him. Justin took initiative to include Brian and other students began to see he was important. By the end of the book, Brian is no longer invisible. The illustrations are one of the coolest things about this book; they truly enhance the story and are very appropriate to the mood. At the beginning of the book Brian is drawn in only black and white with vulnerable, sad eyes, which emphasizes his isolation. All the other characters are full of color and exude happiness. But when Justin starts to notice Brian, bits of color begin to emerge in his character. At the end of the book, Brian is drawn in full color and coincidentally has become a part of the group. The language and writing used demonstrated the classroom dynamic. Brian’s teacher was too busy with the kids who “take up a lot of space.” This does not imply students that are physically bigger then others. Ludwig is referring to student’s who either take up a lot of time, cause problems, etc. I just thought that it was an interesting but also powerful choice of words and there were other instances of that throughout the book. By ignoring Brian, his teacher was sending a message. A student should never be left out because they are quiet; every child has strengths and teachers have to find out what they are. This book also encourages readers to think about similar situations in their lives and acting how Justin acted. The big idea of this book is that acts of kindness, no matter how small, are beneficial to all. It does not hurt to smile to the shy child in the classroom or ask how they are doing, but no one should be left out. One may not know what the other person is going through, but being nice can mean all the difference in the world for that person.… (more)
LibraryThing member NikkiDahlen
I absolutely loved reading The Invisible Boy. I loved the book because of the great illustrations and because of the characterization of Brian. The illustrations are so impactful because they are drawn. This makes the reader connect to children and their inner thoughts more than if they were just photographs. The illustration on the page that depicts all the children playing at recess while Brian stands by himself is a perfect example of the great impact that the illustrations have on the reader’s emotions. By the end of the book, Brian is drawn in color and it makes the reader feel a sense of joy for him. I also loved the characterization of Brian in general. Even when Brian is left out and invisible he still seems to be smiling and doing his own thing. He draws pictures of dragons and still seems to make the most of everything he does. Brian allows Justin to introduce him to new people and friends. The main theme of this book is to let people into your life and to not be afraid to open up to make friends. It encourages the readers to be themselves and to let people get to know what’s inside.… (more)
LibraryThing member vbarbe1
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I liked this book because the author’s use of the characters made the story believable and I could also relate to them . I know for me, I've been in similar situations when I felt left out because people made judgments about me based on the way I looked before getting to know me. The author did a wonderful job in detailing how often Brian was left out, as if he didn't exist, not only by the students but also by the teacher. He wasn't picked for games. He couldn't sit with anyone in the class at lunch. He wasn't invited to Madison’s birthday party. He was constantly being treated as if he didn't exist until Justin joined the class and was able to help others see that Brian had worth. He didn't pass judgment on Brian; he saw him as a person and realized his talents. Justin took the time to notice Brian. I think the big idea of this story is that everyone has value; you just have to take the time to get to know the person and take interest in them to realize it.… (more)
LibraryThing member CatherineWillett
"The Invisible Boy" was a book that hit home for me, as I'm sure it did with many other people. From Elementary school through Middle school, I was shy and reserved. It wasn't until a new girl came to school in 5th grade that I began to make a good group of friends. The only reason I was able to do this was because I reached out to the new girl. The big picture is to look out for shy people and try to include them. On the other hand, if you are shy, you should try to reach out to people.… (more)
LibraryThing member kburdg1
I believe “The Invisible Boy” was a very creative, well-written and illustrated story. The author clearly portrayed the feelings of a little boy that is constantly forgotten at school by his friends, and even his teacher. Children that yell, cry or complain constantly get more attention in a classroom setting than quieter children and I believe the author did a very good job with showing Brian’s feelings. Furthermore, the illustrations continued to help the reader understand Brian’s feelings. In the beginning of the book, Brian was drawn in black and white, while the rest of the picture was bright and colorful. As the story continued, Brian’s color increased little by little and he was in full color by the end. This really reiterates the feeling of being “invisible” while in school. The central theme of this story was that these children should not be forgotten; it is important to find a way to make sure that all children feel included, warm and welcome in the classroom.… (more)
LibraryThing member kjacob9
I really enjoyed reading the book “Invisible Boy,” because of its multicultural elements and the illustrations in the text. One of the boys in the story is Korean, so the book has a multicultural component. Many multicultural students could relate to the struggles of this student. Also, I really enjoyed the way the main character is drawn in black and white when he is “invisible.” However, as he gains friends and begins to be seen, he is then drawn in color. I think this is a very interesting way to represent the concept that the main character feels invisible. The main idea of this book is that everyone can feel invisible sometimes, but everyone deserves to friend that is there for them.… (more)
LibraryThing member mingra2
I liked reading this story. My initial favorite aspect of this book was the color symbolism in the illustrations. In the beginning of the story the boy was a gray/blue. As the story progressed and he began to have friends, he turned into color. I thought this book was a great example of friendship and how significant it is in our lives no matter how old we are. I also liked the plot of the story because it developed well by showing the boy lonely in school, how he reached out to the new student in the class, and then how this lead him to working with more students in the room. The main idea of this story is friendship.… (more)
LibraryThing member RoniDavis
I love this book, it is about a little boy named Brian. He has trouble making friends and no one seems to notice him. He is invisible to the world. The story goes on to a class project that Brian has to team up with a classmate. things start to change and Brian turns out to be a happy and a hero.
LibraryThing member sarahwarner329
I believe that The Invisible Boy is a great children’s story about the hardships of bullying among young children. I liked this book for a variety of reasons. First, the idea that children are ignored, bullied, and sometimes seem invisible may be something that children don’t even realize occurs within the classroom. Thus, I think this book broadens children’s perspectives because readers can see how children like Brian are left out and ignored and therefore feel like they don’t exist. Next, I feel that the illustrations within this book really move the story along and created depth to the story. The main character Brian appears without color throughout the book until he is finally creating friendships at the end and feels noticed and he is from then on drawn with color. These illustrations make the story relatable to young children and literally visible. Finally, I think the overall message to welcome diversity and differences so people don’t feel left out is an important one for children to understand. There will always be new students or diverse students in a classroom and this story helps children see why their peers should be included and not bullied or ignored.… (more)
LibraryThing member tricha11
I enjoyed this book very much and feel it is very appropriate story for all grade school children to read. One of the reasons I enjoyed this story was because of the illustrations. I thought they were very well done and fitting for the story. An example of this was how in the beginning of the story Brian has no color in his illustrations, but by the end of the story he is in full color to show how he fits in with his classmates now. Another reason I enjoyed this story was because of the character development. The author did a wonderful job of developing Brian’s character along the way. For instance, the author showing how being left out was impacting Brian and then you see the opposite of that by the end of the story. You were able to feel something towards the character because feeling left out is something everyone has been through at one point. The third reason I enjoyed this story was because of the plot. I felt that it was very fitting for grade school children and can help them fit in with their classmates. Like I said above, this plot is something everyone has been through and it shows how one person can make such a huge difference for someone (as Justin did for Brian). I felt the main message of this story was to show children that all it takes is one person to be kind and accepting of another person. Also, the difference that this can make in that persons’ life to maybe help them fit in a little bit better.… (more)
LibraryThing member kjacks26
In my opinion, this is a great book. This book really pushes readers to think about how easily it is to make someone feel “invisible.” The author does a really great job of showing the reader why Brain feels “invisible.” You always hear about students making other students feel left out, but you never think about how the teacher can make a student feel left out and invisible. The author does this, “Even Mrs. Carlotti has trouble noticing him in her classroom. She’s too busy dealing with Nathan and Sophie.” The author shows the students making him feel “invisible” because they never include him in activities, “I’m so glad you guys had fun!” says Madison. Everybody did except Brain. He wasn’t invited.” The illustrator also shows Brains invisibility by making him the same color as the tables, and other things that did not really matter; everyone else in the story was full of color. I also like how the author uses text bubbles. An example of this is when the new student is eating a strange lunch and the author uses text bubbles above the characters to show the conversation, “It’s Bulgogi.” “Bul-what???” The central message of this book is that one person can make a big difference in someone else’s life. Justin is the new student, and people begin to laugh at him, especially for his food. Brain notices this, “He sits there wondering which is worse—being laughed at or feeling invisible.” Brain decides to be kind to Justin, and in return he makes a friends, and realizes he is not invisible, “Maybe, just maybe, Brain’s not so invisible after all.”… (more)
LibraryThing member arodri13
The illustrations throughout this wonderfully composed book add to the overall meaning of acceptance and belonging. Brain, the main character of the story feels invisible throughout many circumstances and situations he undergoes daily. Eventually he finds a friend in which he can confide. This budding of friendship changes the color depiction in the illustration, which ultimately stands out to the reader. This is a wonderful story that is evident and apparent in all readers lives, a story of acceptance and friendship. This fiction picture book is a wonderful read!… (more)
LibraryThing member StephanieGrim
I loved reading "The Invisible Boy", a story that displays to readers the message of how hurtful bullying and excluding someone can be and how an act of kindness and friendship can bring so much happiness to a person. I enjoyed reading this book because of its creative and detailed use of illustration and how the author develops the characters throughout the story. The illustrations display the main character, Brian, who is excluded in black and white while the rest of the pictures are in color. I believe this conveyed a strong emotional message of how Brian feels to the reader and added a depth the the story that the text could not. It was a great way to display the change in Brian, for example, once his new friend Justin was kind to him and invited to be in a group with him, that Brian changed to color in the illustration. The characters were also well thought out in this story whose traits and personalities set this book apart from the rest. For example, the way the author included cultural differences in Justin that made him stick out from the other kids so he understand on a lesser level how Brian felt was a great decision of character development that was somewhat pivotal to the character's and story's progression throughout the story.… (more)
LibraryThing member KaraHankins
I thought this was a wonderful book and touches on subjects such as subtle bullying that school-age children may face on a daily basis. My favorite part about the book was the illustrations. In the beginning of the story, Brian, the invisible boy, is drawn in pencil while his peers are illustrated with lots of bright, vibrant colors. This shows great symbolism to the reader as colorless Brian is represented as the invisible boy who is ignored by his peers. As the story progresses, Brian befriends a new student named Justin. As the two form a friendship throughout the story, Brian slowly comes into color which represents him not being "the invisible boy" any longer; Justin begins to include him in activities and even invites Brian to sit with him at lunch. This makes Brian extremely happy and he finally feels a sense of acceptance among his peers. Another aspect of the book which I enjoyed was the critical thinking subtlety presented within the dialogue. For example, as Brian sits alone at the lunch table, "he sits there wondering which is worse- being laughed at or being invisible." This is a great question to get students and readers to think critically and to reflect back on their own personal experiences to see if there was ever a time where they felt invisible just like Brian. The big idea of the story is subtle bullying; sometimes blatantly ignoring someone can be just as hurtful as saying mean, rude things to their face. Another big idea the book portrays is the importance of friendship and acceptance. Sometimes it only takes the kindness and acceptance from one person to make a dramatic difference in another persons life.… (more)
LibraryThing member EmilyEgert
"The Invisible Boy," was a sad tale but it I personally thought it was very well written and I enjoyed reading it for several reasons. This book is about a little boy named Brian who is very shy, as a result of Brian's shy personality he is somewhat ignored by his peers at school. One thing that I liked about this book was how the dialogue was presented to its readers. When a character speaks, as opposed to having the text at the top of the page, a speech bubble was drawn above the character that was speaking. This is a small aspect of the book that I found to be engaging to its readers for it allows readers to make an easier connection to each of the characters. Something else that I enjoyed about this book was the word choice of the author, not only in the words she chose but the ways she presented them to the reader. For example, Brian is not a major fan of lunch time because he is consistently sitting by himself, Brian describes lunch as being, "l-o-n-g." The term, "long," is spelled out in this way to exaggerate how Brian feels about a lengthy lunch time. What I liked most about this book were the illustrations. At the beginning of the book Brian is drawn in pencil, somewhat in the background in a crowd of color. As the book progresses and Brian becomes more accepted as a friend at school, he is drawn in with more and more color.… (more)


Original language


Physical description

40 p.; 8.38 inches


1582464502 / 9781582464503


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