It isn’t easy to make friends sometimes. Maybe you’re small, or loud, or just new. Where do you start? How do you meet other kids? These books might be the how-to some kids need.
Squish is lonely. He is just a little rabbit,and it is hard to make friends when you’re sometimes hard to see or hear. He attempts to make a pretend friend, but that really isn’t enough. Just when Squish finally gives in and starts to throw a tantrum, a friend appears who wants to play with him. The illustrations convey a great deal of emotion—particularly as Squish and his new friend meet. Kids are sure to relate to Squish’s loneliness and frustration. Parents and educators will appreciate the idea that a friend may appear when you least expect it. Readers of all ages will be charmed by Squish and his friend.
You might remember Lucy the bear from Peter Brown’s Children Make Terrible Pets. In You Will Be My Friend!, Lucy wants to make a new friend, but she finds that it isn’t that easy. She tries all sorts of strategies. She tries to be helpful, but the skunk didn’t want a bath. She tries to join the bees for lunch, but they don’t want her to eat their honey. She even resorts to threatening other animals into being her friend, which doesn’t work either. It isn’t until she relaxes that she finds a friend in a flamingo. This is a funny story with lots of silly action that will have kids laughing in a storytime, but it also offers some great advice on what not to do when you want to make a friend.
In Neville, a new picture book by Norton Juster, we see a young boy who has just moved. He is lonely, and his mother suggests that he might meet someone if he takes a walk around his new neighborhood. He takes his mother’s advice, but he does something odd. He walks to the corner of his block and yells “Neville!” at the top of his lungs. Soon other children are curious about his yelling and join in. Most readers will likely guess that Neville is the boy’s name before it is revealed, but that doesn’t spoil this amusing and poignant look at childhood friendship.
Here are a few tips I gleaned from these stories:
- Be patient—a friend might appear when you least expect it.
- Be yourself—people can tell when you’re faking it.
- Start something—you might be surprised that other people want to join in
Share your favorite friendship advice you’ve gleaned from children’s books over the years in the comments. We’d love to hear from our readers!
Neville by Norton Juster. September 2011.
Squish Rabbit by Katherine Battersby. June 2011.
You Will Be My Friend! by Peter Brown. September 2011.