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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Books About Friendship

When I started first grade (I did not attend kindergarten as none was available in my town when I was five) I struggled terribly with the social aspects of school. I found it difficult to make friends. You might say I was shy, for that was the label everyone attached to me: shy. But I wonder now just what it was that made it difficult for me to go up to a fellow first grader and just say "Hi, my name is Kathy." The answer is I just don't know. But I do understand that there are many children today who, for one reason or another, suffer from this same "shyness". It upset me when out on the playground to watch other children play easily with their friends, and I tried my best to be a part of the group.

As the years rolled by I found that it was easier for me to make one or two good friends rather than to be a part of a large group. So that's what I did. And I found comfort in understanding that the group mentality is not for everyone. (I still wonder at the many thousands of football fans who cherish being part of the loud, crazy stadium full of screaming people. It would be terribly uncomfortable for me to do that.)

So, in writing my latest book "Mr. Philo And The Otter" ( I kept the "shy" child in mind. It's the story about Mr. Philo who hates being jostled and shoved by people, so he moves far away to a little cabin north of north. Here he finds peace and quiet. And he truly believes that this is all he needs, until one very cold winter day, when the fish stop biting his fishing line, and the supply of fish in his freezer is getting very low. When, too, he meets a starving otter that needs his help, and on a freezing day soon thereafter when Mr. Philo is alone and finds himself very near death.

I think the story points out that being alone may seem at first to be easier than trying to make a friend, but having at least one good friend can be the most precious thing in the world.