There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.
— Charles Dickens
Chopsticks 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.
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.
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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.
by Derek Munson, illustrated by Tara Calahan King
Ages 6-8, 40 pages
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.
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.
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.