From a treasure trove of picture books gifted to me by a dear friend, there are two I want to share with you today. (There will be others as the blog year and the alphabet continue.) They celebrate the joys of family and friends, and so are perfect for this season.

friends-stick-togetherTitle: Friends Stick Together

Author: Harriet Ziefert

Illustrator: Rebecca Doughty

Publisher: New York: Scholastic, 2001

Genre: Picture book, fiction

Audience Age: 3 to 8 (and beyond!)

Themes/Topics: friendship, being a good friend

Opening Sentences: Sometimes it’s okay if she takes more than half.

Synopsis: This book is written and illustrated as if it were kids’ suggestions for how to be a good friend. Actually, the suggestions are good no matter how old you are – some of them are appropriate for learning to be a friend to a senior, such as “Be patient when she tells the same story for the fifth time.

Following the tenets of this book would go a long way to ending bullying and to promoting peace in our communities and in our world, actually.

Some are things we might not even have considered as being hurtful, but they can be. For instance, “Don’t say, ‘The last one there is a rotten egg.’” I still remember the train conductor who told me – in a teasing voice – that I was a bad egg because I wouldn’t take a nap. I was three at the time. We never know when something we say will impact a person far beyond what we meant at the time.

The best thing to remember is “Friends stick together.

♦  ♦  ♦

tel-me-a-story-mamaTitle: Tell Me a Story, Mama

Author: Angela Johnson

Illustrator: David Soman

Publisher: New York: Scholastic/Trumpet, 1989

Genre: Picture book, fiction

Audience Age: 4 to 8

Themes: Family stories, memories, love between parent and child

Opening Sentences: Tell me a story, Mama, about when you were little. What kind of story, baby?

Synopsis: With alternating plain text and italics to indicate the speaker, this book is a conversation between a little girl and her mama at bedtime. The little girl keeps urging her mama to tell more stories.

The twist is that the little girl is the one who ends up telling the stories! Her mama makes a comment or two here and there, but she can hardly get a word in to tell her own stories.

It’s a lovely, gentle book that shows the connection that can be built between generations by telling the family stories and telling them often. It touched my heart and made me remember our own family stories.

There’s a lovely review of this book in Publisher’s Weekly.

♦  ♦  ♦

The best activities I can think of for both these books at this time of year is to spend time with family and friends if at all possible, or call them on the phone, or email, or Skype. Make a connection. And tell stories. Ask “remember when?” Go around the table and tell your favorite memories of the people sitting with you. Cherish those links.

Happy ManyDays to you all! The blog will be on hiatus until January 9th. See you then!

Clouds in shape of the letter

And yes, F is for Friends and Family. I treasure both.

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