Weekly Quotation: Charles Dickens

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There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.

— Charles Dickens


Book Review: Chopsticks

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Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrated by Scott Magoon
Published by Hyperion Books on January 24th 2012
Genre/Topics: Humorous, Friendship, Be Yourself 
Ages: 4-8, 40 pages 
Chopsticks were best friends who were always together and did everything together. Nobody could remember a time when they weren’t together. However, something tragic occurred when they attempted new skills together. Chopstick was whisked away for help. and luckily it was a clean break, so Chopstick would soon be better. Chopstick stayed next to Chopstick each day until somebody mentioned that it was time to move on and try new things without Chopstick. Soon Chopstick learned new talents without his friend. Finally, Chopstick was better and together they learned that being apart actually made them stronger yet they still remained great friends. 
I really enjoyed Chopsticks and it made me laugh as I read it. It’s a wonderful book to teach young children that it’s okay to work together, but also be apart. There are no pronouns (he/she) in the book, so the name Chopstick is used for both.

Book Review: Yoon and the Jade Bracelet

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Yoon and the Jade Bracelet 

Written by Helen Recorvits
Illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska
Published August 5th 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Genre/Topics: Realistic Fiction, Cultural, Korean, Bullying, Friendship
Ages: 6-9, 32 pages 

More than anything Yoon wants to fit in at school and make friends, so what she desires for her birthday is a jump rope. Yoon believes that the children will let her play jump rope with them and she’ll finally have some friends. When it is her birthday, Yoon’s mother gives her a Korean story book about a little girl who tricked a tiger. The special present Yoon receives is a jade bracelet that was her grandmother’s. Symbols inside the jade bracelet mean Shining Wisdom. Neither present is a jump rope, but Yoon pretends to be happy. At school a girl notices her jade bracelet and tells Yoon how beautiful it is. If she lets Yoon wear it the girl promises to be her friend and she can jump rope. Yoon knows deep down that she shouldn’t give such a special item, but she finally lets the girl borrow it for one day. However, the girl doesn’t give it back and Yoon’s mother believes she lost it. Yoon begs to have her jade bracelet back and tells the teacher it is hers. The teacher asks Yoon how she can prove it is hers. Yoon whispers that inside it is written Shinning Wisdom, but the other girl can’t tell what it says. Yoon gets her jade bracelet back and is the tiger who tricked the girl.

I really enjoyed Yoon and the Jade Bracelet, since you may not see this type of bullying often in books. It shows the cultural importance between her mother. Yoon is the same character from My Name is Yoon.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Friendship

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This week’s photo challenge is friendship, which is the perfect challenge. My sister graduated yesterday from the University of Washington. On such a special day you are surrounded by friends.  Check out her artist information HERE.

My sister is the one with great earrings and is smiling.

Book Review: Elephant & Dog Friendship

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Tara & Bella: The Elephant and Dog Who Became Best Friends

Written by Carol Buckley 
Photographs by Carol Buckley
Published: 2009 by Putnam Juvenile
All Ages, 32 pages
Topics: friendship, animals

If you haven’t already heard about this unlikely friendship then this will surely make you smile, even though there’s a sad mention in this post. Tarra performed in the circus as the only roller skating elephant. In 1995, Tarra came to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. Unlike a zoo where animals remain in cages, the elephants in the wildlife sanctuary roam freely throughout 2,700 acres. All the elephants except for Tarra found an elephant companion. However, that changed when Tarra awoke to find a stray dog next to her. Soon Tarra and Bella went everywhere together. One day, a caregiver found Bella injured in the grass and was taken to the vet. It was unsure whether Bella would be able to walk again, since she had a spinal cord injury. Every day Tarra remained in the same spot waiting for her friend and finally searched to find Bella. Tarra waited outside for her friend while Bella rested. When Bella discovered that Tarra was outside, she attempted to run to the window. Finally, the caretakers realized that the two desperately wanted to see each other so they carried Bella to reunite with Tarra. Tarra welcomed Bella with gentle elephant trunk pets. Tara returned each day until Bella was well enough to roam. Sadly, Bella died in October 2011. The friendship between an elephant and dog prove that we can look beyond any differences and understand each other. The back of the book provides information about the Elephant Sanctuary.

The Elephant Sanctuary Information

Book Review: Enemy Pie

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Enemy Pie

by Derek Munson, illustrated by Tara Calahan King

Ages 6-8, 40 pages

Realistic Fiction

It should have been the perfect summer with his sister away and a  new tree house, but it wasn’t turning out to be a perfect summer. Jeremy Ross was the reason for a not so perfect summer, because he laughed at him during baseball and invited everyone else to his trampoline party. Jeremy Ross becomes the first and only person on his enemy list that he posts in his secret tree house. Well, his dad understands enemies and explains that he has the perfect pie recipe, but in order for it to work you need to spend the day with your enemy and be nice. Jeremy and him ride bikes, play basketball, and even hang out in his secret tree house. However, he becomes frighten about the enemy pie when his dad offers some to Jeremy. It turns out that the ‘recipe’ for getting rid of your enemy is to treat them like your friend.

All aboard the Hogwart’s Express

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Do you have your ticket ready at exactly eleven o’clock on the first of September standing upon platform nine and three-quarters? I hope so. Many schools start  today, so I remembered what occurs on the first of September in Harry Potter. Travel back to the beginning as Harry boards Hogwart’s Express for the first time. Of course, since he lives with muggles they laugh when he mentions that the train leaves from platform nine and three-quarters when to them it doesn’t exist. Harry wouldn’t believe that so very soon he’ll begin his magical journey and lasting friendships.

Harry felt a great leap of excitement. He didn’t know what he was going to – but it had to be better than what he was leaving behind.

– J. K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, page 98)

We’ve all had similar feelings of excitement and apprehension about the journey ahead. Besides brief chats with Hagrid, Harry had no knowledge about the wizard world. What situations have put you into the unknown? Harry’s completely alone until he stumbles upon the Weasly family who help him through the brick wall and onto platform nine and three-quarters. What or who has led you through struggles of unknown? I love that this is where he meets Ron and during this casual conversation they become instant friends especially to Harry who’s had no true friends.

Here Harry and Ron share food in their compartment on the Hogwart’s Express:

You don’t want this, it’s all dry,” said Ron. “She hasn’t got much time,” he added quickly, “you know, with five of us.”

“Go on, have a pasty,” said Harry, who had never had anything to share before or, indeed, anyone to share it with. It was a nice feeling, sitting there with Ron, eating their way through all Harry’s pasties, cakes, and candies (the sandwiches lay forgotten).

– J. K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, page 101 -102)

It’s the people we meet along the way that make the journey worthwhile. Sure, Harry may have joined a different compartment but they may have made him a different person. Ron gained recognition, since Harry saw him as an individual and not the many from a large family. Hopefully, I’ll be meeting you abroad Hogwart’s Express as we buy sweets and start our journey together.

Fighting a troll = lifelong friendship

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But from that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend. There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.

– J. K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)

I like this quotation, because it marks the beginning of the strong friendship between Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Beforehand, Harry and Ron made fun of Hermione and didn’t want to associate with her, but that all changed the moment they fought the troll in the bathroom together. They could have easily gotten upset or blamed someone, but the struggle brought them together. Of course, they have no clue how challenging their struggles will be in the future.

So I ask you this, what friends have stuck by you through your difficult life situations? How far are you willing to go for your friends? What moments are so great and bold that you’re bound to become someone’s friend? Treasure those who stay near through all ups and downs.