Friends. It’s one of the most common themes in children’s picture books. In fact, it’s so common, it might even be considered overdone. “Not another book about friendship!”
Yet friends are always in fashion. Some people like lots of friends, others enjoy just one special friend. But we all need friends at some time in our life: someone to spend time with, someone to have adventures with, someone who always “has your back.” As James Taylor wrote in the song You’ve Got A Friend, “You just call out my name, and you know wherever I am, I’ll come running...to see you again.”
Although it might be a challenge, there are always new ways to write about a subject. Over the holidays, I discovered three new books about friendship that are excellent examples of this.
We Are Growing, by Laurie Keller and Mo Willems, is delightful and distinctive. Eight blades of grass are growing, all in their unique, friendly way. Each blade is special in some way as are all of us. Afterall, “We are all the SOMETHING-EST.”
Horrible Bear by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Zachariah OHora is a book I was not initially drawn to. The title disturbed me. You will never see a book from me titled Nasty Nan or Mean Little Gene (Hey! That last one’s kind of good.). Just not my style. But I kept hearing praise for the book and when I did read it, I applauded. First, the illlustrations and text work so well together, supporting each other as they tell the tale. The girl shouts “Horrible Bear,” but Bear is not horrible and the thought of revenge grew in his soul. An accident drew them apart. Another accident drew them together and allowed them to ‘patch things up,’ something all friends must learn to do.
Then there’s the totally imaginative, totally wonderful Best Frints in the Whole Universe. It portrays the ins and outs of friendship on planet Boborp. They are surprisingly similar to those on Earth. Author/illustrator Antoinette Portis has even created a Boborp language.
To me, it’s always a bonus when there’s a depth to a friend picture book. I think...I hope...that my last two friend books have that depth: Lost. Found. with Bear bringing quarreling woodland creatures and an unraveled scarf together, and Waiting for Snow where friends support and wait with Badger until the first snowflake arrives.
Friend stories always manage to snuggle their way into our minds and our work. I’m actually completing two new “friend” manuscripts now. One is simple and fun. The other is more complex, with a definite message. I hope both of them find a home in the future. We can never have too many friends...or friend books.
So feel free to take up the challenge too. Write that book about friends you’ve been thinking about. Just be sure to make it unique.
Marsha Diane Arnold loves reconnecting with old friends as well as making new. Her popular course Writing Character-Driven Picture Books can be found at http://www.childrensbookacademy.com/writing-character-driven-stories.html.
1/13/2017 10:37:42 am
Love your examples of the friendship theme told in unique ways. I have yet to get my hands on Waiting for Snow. I'm going to suggest the purchase for our library system.
2/1/2017 07:20:21 pm
Thanks so much, Amanda. I think you'll enjoy the sweet, supportive friendship in WAITING FOR SNOW too. :)
1/13/2017 02:43:50 pm
Well said Marsha -it is the depth that makes friendship books resonate. A truly evergreen topic!
2/1/2017 07:21:26 pm
True, Cathy. I must keep that in mind for the friendship book I'm working on now. Thank you.
3/21/2017 04:20:04 am
Without friendship, your life becomes dull and boring. Friends help you when you need it. It is the good story that narrates about the importance of the friendship. I consider that life is so beautiful with the friends and they fill the color of the life.
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7/6/2018 04:36:35 am
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9/30/2020 10:12:55 pm
These books with different interesting images are mostly liked by the small kids because they often like to learn watching with pictures so that they may easily imagine about the lesson
1/17/2022 02:06:46 am
I think this blog by Marshal could be a good Assignment Help USA based for me. My assignment that is due tomorrow is about a similar topic that how children make friends, what qualities the prefer and what not. Being a Psychology student, its our job to conduct researches on topics that explains the driven force for each of human behavior. This blog is going to be helping hand.
1/17/2022 03:52:34 am
So happy to see your comment and honored to be a "helping hand,"
1/19/2022 10:18:49 pm
Small children prefer these books with various attractive graphics because they prefer to learn by viewing videos with pictures so that they can easily imagine the lesson.
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Meet the Friday Blogonauts
First Fridays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer , man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
Second Fridays will feature awesome multi-award winning author Marsha Diane Arnold who will be writing about character-driven and/or nature-based books and/or anything she likes :)
Third Fridays will feature independent Aladdin/Simon & Shuster editor Emma Sector who has helped bring many books into the world.
Fourth Fridays will feature the great Christine Taylor-Butler who has published over 70 award-winning fiction and non-fiction and nonfiction books including the acclaimed new middle grade series - The Lost Tribes.
Fifth Fridays will feature the fabulous Carl Angel award-winning multi-published Illustrator and graphic designer.
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