May I Come In?

Illustrated by Jennie Poh

Published by Sleeping Bear Press

Dedicated to my husband, Frederick Oak Arnold, who always makes room for friends.

The Story Behind The Story

As mentioned in Waiting for Snow’s “Story Behind the Story,” this book came from my woodland animal phase. But I also wrote it because I believe one of the most important things to teach our children is to be inclusive – to invite others “in,” to let them join a play circle or group, to not ignore or turn our backs.

Some people think I wrote this story after Hurricane Irma hit Florida. I wrote it many years before, even though it was published after the hurricane. It can take a lot of years for some stories to find a home and usually at least two years for it to be made into a book.

May I Come In? resonates with me now because Hurricane Irma went right over my family’s home in Alva, Florida. Sheltered inside our home were 14 people and 2 dogs – my daughter’s family, friends, and our friends’ family. When they asked to “come in”, my husband and I shouted a resounding, “Yes!”  It was a scary, windy time with trees falling around us, but we felt comforted by each other’s company and good will.


“Come on in, the story says without saying it, which is always the best way, there’s always room for one more.” “Lovely artwork combined with goodwill toward men. (Picture book. 3-7)”

Midwest Book Review

“Entertainingly written by Marsha Diane Arnold and engagingly illustrated by Jennie Poh, May I Come In? is an especially recommended addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.”

School Library Journal

“The artwork is bright and inviting. Even the scenes where it is dark and Raccoon is afraid are not scary. While the story’s motif is not new, it is one that will work well for storytimes about friendship. VERDICT A solid general purchase for school and public libraries.”

Emile Coulter, Shelf Awareness Online

“The lesson in this is gentle but clear: don’t be stingy with your love. Discover: Turned away from several friends’ houses on a stormy night, Raccoon finally finds one friend who embodies the idea that ‘there’s always room for a good friend.’”

Ellen Feld, Feathered Quill

“May I Come In? is a sweet story that young readers will certainly enjoy. It will be easy for them to identify with Raccoon who is frightened by the bad weather. If read as a bedtime story, it allows several spots where parents can ask their children, ‘What would you do?’ each time Raccoon is turned away. The ending, which reassures children that good friends always find room to welcome others, is a comforting message that is perfect for a nighttime read during a bad storm. Quill says: Making room for friends is a win-win and so is this book. Sweet and charming.”