Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

Write a Review Wednesday: So Close

Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. Last week we reviewed Hammond’s Princesses of the World. This week we review Tundra BooksSo Close (age 4-7), written and illustrated by Natalia Colombo. I have to thank Sylvia at Tundra Books for my review copy.

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Mr Duck heads to work every morning.Mr Rabbit heads to work every morning. Every morning they pass each other without saying a word. What a difference one little word can make: Hello.

Before going much further I have to say I fell in love with this book, So Close, before I even started reading it to my kids; I love how Natalia has illustrated Mr Duck and Mr Rabbit (the only characters in this short story), as well as her whimsical interpretations of trees and cars and the world that Mr Duck and Mr Rabbit live in. The story is short and very visually based.

But don’t let the size of the story in So Close fool you, the message itself is big. Mr. Duck and Mr. Rabbit pass each other every day, walking, in the cars, on their bikes. The see each other in different moods but never say a word to one another. Until one day. The simple greeting of Hello changes Mr Duck and Mr Rabbit’s lives forever. They walk together, eat lunch together, talk and play. What a difference one simple word can make.

So Close is a wonderful message for kids. Fortunately my kids are very extroverted and say Hello to anyone who will listen. And just like So Close, you can see the impact right away when you do simply say Hello to someone, a smile, a Hello back.

The story is aimed for kids 4 to 8, but my 3-year-old loved the two characters. And the message is a concept kids can learn and appreciate at a young age. So Close would be a great book to give to someone starting school too. Imagine how easily it would be to find a new friend with just this simple gesture.

Want to add a copy of So Close to your own personal library, visit your independent bookstore or Tundra Books. Looking for other great reads for kids? Checkout previous Write a Review Wednesday posts.

Trying to teach from my mistakes

Do you ever have those moments when you wish knowledge you gained now you actually had back during an earlier stage of your life? Me? All the time. But some things you can’t learn until you go through a situation and discover what does and doesn’t work. Sometimes you have to go through that situation many, MANY times.

Then you have kids and you hope they don’t make the same mistakes you did; that it doesn’t take them as long to learn what works and what doesn’t. We try to impart on to them life lessons that we’ve learned, trying to save them from embarrassment or frustration or sadness.

When my seven-year old was getting ready for school she became very agitated about brushing her hair. She has long, thick hair that’s prone to getting knotted because my daughter tends to twirl and spin and flip and stand on her head often so she doesn’t like when I brush it because it will probably pull. But this morning she started crying and I wasn’t brushing that hard, really.

When we talked, she confessed she was upset because one of her good friends didn’t seem to want to be her friend anymore. With a little more discussion I discovered that my daughter didn’t know why this girl didn’t want to be her friend. I remember school and the importance of friendship. I also remembering being so concerned about having and keeping my friends that I was always on guard for the slightest warning, a sign that my wonderful friendship community would crumble down around me. Why did my friend choose another library partner today? Why did my friend not ask me to be on his team at gym? Talking to my daughter was like a flashback.

So I gave her a hug and offered one of many lessons I learned later in life:

talk to your friend. Ask her if she’s upset with you and why. Perhaps you did something inadvertently to upset her, but you’ll never know. And if sadly it’s true she doesn’t want to be your friend at least you’ll know for certain and why.

When I met up with her at lunch she was in better spirits. It turns out her friend just wanted to play with someone different, someone she hadn’t played with before, but that they were still friends. My daughter was happy. I was happy. I’m glad those stressful, obsessive and embarrassing moments of my youth could benefit my daughter. Hopefully in the future instead of guessing and assuming and predicting the worst case scenario, my daughter will talk to people to get the whole story. If she can learn that in elementary school, she’ll be years ahead of me.

Now if only I could get her to learn the lesson of no mittens and cold hands.