Vii Putnam wrote, “The entire sum of existence is the magic of being needed by just one person.”
Such is the case with true friendship. There is a kind of ecstasy when two people can truly connect with another, really understand one another without criticism or demands, and are always ready to help one another.
Today’s books reflect friendship in a variety of ways. Ask your librarian and bookseller to direct you to others. Old and young alike can always use the gentle guidance a book on friendship can provide.
Books to borrow
The following book is available at many public libraries:
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, illustrated by Inga Moore (Candlewick, 279 pages)
Read aloud: ages 6 and older
Read yourself: ages 8 and older
Nine-year-old orphan Mary Lennox had come to live with her uncle in Misselthwaite Manor – an enormous house surrounded by beautiful gardens in rural England. Mary’s uncle was rarely at home, and the only other people at the Manor were the servants. Mary tried to busy herself outside, and one day she came upon a door that led to a secret garden. Having befriended a Yorkshire boy, Dickon, the two worked privately to restore the secret garden to its original beauty.
In the midst of their project, Mary discovered one more occupant of the Manor – her withered bed-ridden cousin, Colin. With the help of Dickon, Mary and Colin turned their lives around from being unhappy to lives filled with joy and purpose.
First published in 1911, this wonderful story, sensitively illustrated by Inga Moore (Candlewick 2008 edition), is a wonderful blending of the journey that transforms the hero and heroine in many important ways.
Library: Flenniken Public Library, 102 E. George St., Carmichaels
Library director: Linda Orsted
Children’s librarian: Tina Gresko
Choices this week: “Harold and the Purple Crayon” by Crockett Johnson; “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White; “Winnie-the-Pooh” by A.A. Milne
Books to buy
The following books are available at many bookstores:
Little Cub written and illustrated by Olivier Dunrea (Philomel, 2012, 32 pages, $16.99 hardcover)
Read aloud: ages 3 and older.
Read yourself: ages 6-7
Little Cub lives all alone near the forest. He doesn’t like being alone, and sometimes he wishes he had someone who could teach him things, such as how to fish so he wouldn’t be hungry. Little Cub also wishes he had someone so he would be alone and afraid at night.
Old Bear lives all alone in the forest. He doesn’t like being alone, doesn’t like the dark nights, and wishes he had someone to share his fish with. Being alone made Old Bear grumpy.
Then one miraculous day Old Bear hears a curious cry and discovers Little Cub, and in the magic of their meeting, both realize how very colorless their lives had been before.
Perfectly wrought in words and illustrations, this tender, joyful book is certain to warm the hearts of both young and old alike.
Road Trip by Gary Paulsen and Jim Paulsen (Wendy Lamb Books, 2013, 114 pages, $12.99 hardcover)
Read aloud: ages 9 and older
Read yourself: ages 10 and older
Fourteen-year-old Ben is looking forward to summer vacation and going to hockey camp. But just as vacation starts, Ben’s father has him up before dawn for a two-day road trip with their dog Atticus to rescue a border collie pup. Ben’s father is like that–adventurous, enthusiastic, and a spur-of-the-moment kind of guy. Dad assures Ben this will be a great way for them to spend quality time together. But moments into the trip, Ben learns a few things he is totally not happy about: his father has quit his job, wants to flip houses for a living, and until he becomes successful with that, money will be tight and hockey camp is out this year.
Disappointed and angry, things start to look up for Ben as an odd assortment of characters join them on their road trip; his new friend Theo who is on the run from some frightening people, a nutty mechanic, and a bigger-than-life waitress who is wicked smart and can read your aura. They are now all in a big old yellow school bus en route to rescue that puppy.
Told in alternating voices of Ben and the dog, Atticus, this story is ripe with humor, wild adventure, and is ultimately a tale of friendship with snippets of wisdom. Coming from award-winning author Gary Paulsen and his son, Jim Paulsen, it is little wonder, making “Road Trip” a book both avid and reluctant readers will devour.
Kendal Rautzhan can be reached at www.greatestbooksforkids.com