The ebb and flow nature of a variety of friendships is captured in fourteen short stories from different parts of the world. Relationships change as friends face new and different situations as they grow and mature. In one friendship story, Jenny seeks a way to understand and cope with her friend's battle with leukemia. Another tale has Ali examining her long time friendship with Emma, who begins to seek membership with the popular crowd at school. Composition and dimensions of friends from childhood change with time. Laurie's childhood friendship and adventures with Ken refocus as she enters preadolescence, while Cam and Lauren's longtime association shifts as Ryan changes the dynamics. New relationships create new interests or discoveries. On a school trip without her best friend, Emma grumbles her way through the week and discovers the meaning of friendship. In a different tale, Carmela must find her niche in a new school. Each short story selected by Hollyer presents a different perspective and dimension of friendship portrayed by different writers.
Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
This collection of short stories, compiled from all around the world, focuses on the universal theme of friendship. Aimed at a young, female audience, this anthology examines the importance, strength, and substance of varying degrees of friendship. Many different facets are explored, including how friends are gained and lost, what makes a friend, and having no friends. Marcia Byalick contributes a standout piece entitled "Under the Influence," in which middle school girls Emma and Ali have a falling out when Emma is embraced by the popular girls. Ali can't stand her friend's new behavior and together they must decide if their friendship can endure the tribulations of 7th grade. In Jamila Gavin's "The Gardener's Daughter," Shalini is in India visiting her great aunt and befriends the gardener's young daughter. Despite being different ages, speaking different languages, and being of different classes, their friendship is pure and flourishes. Angela Kanter's "Dear Meena" tackles a more serious side of friendship. In a series of letters, Emma tells her best friend Meena all about a school trip she's on and how much less fun it is to be without her. She catalogs all of the reasons she's angry with Meena for abandoning her. It's only near the end of this tale that we discover Meena is gravely ill and Emma is scared for her friend. The collection is sure to be a hit with many girls, especially those of junior high age. The wide variety of settings and approaches to the topic ensure that there's something for every reader. The brevity of the stories combined with the appealing subject matter makes this a great suggestion for reluctant readers. KLIATT Codes: JS--Recommended for junior and seniorhigh school students. 2006, Houghton Mifflin, Kingfisher, 223p., $7.95.. Ages 12 to 18.
Gr 5-8-In this collection of stories about adolescent friendships, a few of the selections succeed in stirring up the tension, jealousy, and possessiveness of such relationships, but they're the exception. The sparks and friction that are so indicative of this age group are smothered by quick resolutions or older-but-wiser recollections of situations and relationships. Tessa Duder's story about a girl on an intercontinental flight gets it right, capturing the odd familiarity that develops when tucked in next to strangers. Sophie McKenzie's "T4J" and Belinda Hollyer's "The Middle Ground" explore friendships between males and females. While all of these stories offer sweet sentiments, many lack the courageous pluck and audacious attitude common among contemporary kids, and several assume a knowledge and a viewpoint that can only be gained through experience.-Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.