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  • Kim Bogren Owen

Friends Come in Many Forms

Friends don't always look the same, or like the same things, or come from the same place. Sometimes friends are found in the most unlikely places, during the most difficult times, and or when you are in need the most. As we start February's exploration of friendship and love, enjoy these books about friendships between those that are different.

Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animals Friendships by Catherine Thimmesh tells the stories of cross-species animal friendships. Ask your child to create their own made-up tale about a friendship between different animals or about their friendships with their pets. When reading this book to younger children, I recommend paraphrasing the text as you look at the beautiful photographs.

Different shapes explore what their friendship means in Friendshape: An Uplifting Celebration of Friendship by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. A very cute and simple book that toddlers and preschoolers will love!

During the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, a baby hippopotamus was separated from his mother and found by some people who spotted him trapped on a coral reef. Jeanette Winter tells the story with few words and wonderful illustrations in Mama. Rescuers name him, Owen, and bring him to an animal refuge where he befriends an old tortoise, Mzee, who up to that point had taken no interest in any of the other animals in the enclosure. A truly delightful example of friendship helping someone recover from grief, and that no matter what happens, life will go on and friends who care about us will be found. For another take with more details on the story read Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship by Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff, Paula Kahumbu, and Peter Greste.

After Hurricane Katrina, many animals were stranded or abandoned. Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurrican Katrina, Friendship, and Survival by Kirby Larson, Mary Nethery, and Jean Cassels tells the story of two such friends: Bobbi the dog and Bob Cat. The two stick by each during the hurricane, and, as a result, are able to survive. Months after the storm they are finally rescued and end up finding their forever home together in Oregon.

After reading these books, start a conversation with your child about the way their friends help and support them, and the ways they help and support their friends. Write Valentine's to their friends as thank you notes for their friendship. This week's blog was so long that I had to divide it up. Look for Part 2, next week!

As always, I hope you enjoy these recommendations. Feel free to share with credit to Words Reflected and Kim Bogren Owen on Facebook, your website, or in your newsletter. Please add your recommendations for additional books about diverse friends in the comments.

Finally, I want to update you on the progress of the publishing of Orchids and Art Parts: A Child's Introduction to the Elements of Art. We are getting closer, and are very happy to announce that we are using a US based printer! Keep an eye up for weekly updates in this blog as we keep moving closer to starting presales.

(This blog uses the Amazon affiliate program so when you click on the title and purchase through Amazon, you are supporting us! If you don't purchase through these links, please, be sure to support your local, independent bookstore or find them at your library!)

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