Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Book Review: Friends


I have to say that 50% of my job involves working with individual students, small groups, and classrooms on social skills. Children struggle in all different areas of friendship, but they have one sole thing in common. They all want friends. There isn’t one child who can tell me that they prefer to be by himself or herself (at least not all the time).

I have had students say to me, “I don’t have any friends”, which is so sad to hear. Oftentimes, I will point out to them that this person or that person seems to like them. However, the child does not view it as a friendship. I often explain to children that when we are upset, sad, frustrated, and even angry, we sometimes look at our situation with “blinders”. We may only see the negative. Children who are frustrated with not feeling a close connection to another child may speak globally and say, “I have no friends”, which may in fact not be the case at all.

“Friends”, written by Patty Fee Yates, is a story about Jack. Jack is feeling sad because he does not feel that he has any friends. As he continues on his walk, he meets a frog. Although their differences are quite apparent, they still form an instant friendship and the differences do not matter. As Jack and his new frog friend continue on their walk, their group grows as they meet new friends along the way. These new friends are all animals and reptiles are feeling as Jack did – lonely and sad because they do not feel they have any friends. Regardless of the fact that there are major differences amongst them, this simply does not matter.

I thought this was a sweet book about friendship; however, I know that my daughter would not make the connection to the "bigger picture".  I know many students who think in black and white and would say, "I can't go for a walk and find animals to be my friends". This would be a nice book to supplement curriculum on tolerance, diversity, and friendship. It sends a great message to children about being more open-minded to those around them that are potential friends, but I am not sure whether students would be motivated by the story because it is not an everyday context for them. I thought the illustrations were nice, but I do wish that they were in color, instead of black and white. I think the cover, which is in color, is great and I simply think pictures in color would add so much more.

*Disclaimer: I did not receive monetary compensation for this post. I received a free sample for the purpose of this review as a member of the Dorrance Review Team. The opinions expressed here are my own.
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  1. This definitely sounds like a book I would be interested in. :)



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