Sunday, September 12, 2010

Friends - making them and keeping them, two books for girls (ages 6 - 12)

Kids deal with friendship issues all the time - how to make new friends, how to deal with an on-again, off-again friend, what to do when another kid hurts you or teases you. Two books from American Girl are great resources to for kids and parents to talk about ways to handle friendship issues. Best of all, they are easy to dip into and easy to read, personable and filled with examples from real kids. They're very kid-friendly, appealing and draw you right in.
Friends: Making Them and Keeping Them
by Patti Kelly Criswellillustrated by Stacy Paterson
WI: American Girl, 2006
ages 6 - 10available on Amazon or at your local library
This fun book is filled with short tidbits, quizzes, posters and true stories about how girls make new friends and have fun with the friends they already have. It's full of bright colors, modern multicultural illustrations, and fun posters. Its messages are upbeat but honest and helpful. It is not a heavy-handed book, but a great place for starting conversations.
"Having friends who understand and appreciate you for who you are is what it's all about - finding friends who are really right for you." (p. 3)
What an excellent message, just the one I want to help my daughters learn and think about. And this is a format they'll enjoy - much better than hearing Mom ask questions or tell them what to do!
Stand Up For Yourself & Your Friends:
Dealing with bullies and bossiness, and finding a better way

by Patti Kelly Criswell
illustrated by Angela Martini
WI: American Girl, 2009
ages 8 - 12
available on Amazon and at your local library
This book uses many similar features as Friends - quizzes, true stories, short pieces of advice - but it delves into more difficult issues. Many girls need help dealing with bullies and bossiness throughout their elementary school years. They need to deal with friends who talk behind their backs, or classmates who tease them. Maybe they have a friend who's warm and kind one day, and the next turns a cold shoulder. These aren't easy waters to navigate alone. As Criswell writes in the introduction,
"There's no one right way to handle bullying. That's why this book gives you lots of tips to try, such as clever comebacks. ways to ignore someone who bullies, and ways to get help from an adult you trust. You'll find advice from girls who have been there, and you'll learn how to stand up for other people, too, when they need it most. We can all do our part to make the world a kinder, safer place." (p. 3)
My daughter is quite soft-spoken at school (not at home!) and she was dealing with a difficult situation at school one year. This book helped her understand the hurtful words another girl was saying and name the behavior; it also helped her find some words and actions she could take to stop the bullying. Best of all, it helped her see that she didn't just need to absorb these hurtful words - she could and should stand up for herself.

Patti Criswell, the author of both books, is a Clinical Social Worker, speaker and author living near Kalamazoo, MI. She has been working with girls and their families for almost 20 years to help girls gain the skills they need to grow into strong and powerful women. She is a passionate advocate for those being bullied. Learn more at her website.

For more nonfiction books your kids will enjoy, head over toNonfiction Monday. This week it's being hosted by Rasco from RIF, written by Carol Rasco, the CEO of Reading Is Fundemental, America’s oldest and largest nonprofit children’s and family literacy organization.

The review books came from our personal collection. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion will go to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.


  1. Thank you for your contribution today to Nonfiction Monday....these are great. I long ago was a certified elementary counselor and have not kept up as I wish I had time to do with books like these that can be so helpful, appreciated exploring the author's website as well.

  2. What I really like about what I'm seeing here about Friends is that while no two people are the cover look alike, the implicit message is that they can all be friends. Sometimes, we don't need to talk about race. Sometimes we need to embrace our commonalities. We don't always do that.