At Better Reading Kids we have so many wonderful memories of childhood that are based around books but one of our most vivid is of the remarkable friendships that our favourite characters shared. Often, they didn’t seem like normal friendships in normal circumstances but nevertheless they were something to be admired and envied. We reviewed a new series by author Felice Arena last week called The Besties and it got us thinking about all those friendships we had that were set amongst the pages of books rather than on the playground.
There are some obvious ones – the comradery between Harry, Ron and Hermione in the Harry Potter series and for those of us who grew up on a diet rich in Enid Blyton there were the Famous Five and Secret Seven amongst others. How about the friendship that emerges between Matilda and Miss Honey or Sophie and the BFG and more recently we see Greg and Rowley in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, series. Sally Rippin gave Billy B Brown best friend Jack and Polly has Buster. The girls in The Baby-Sitters Club were absolutely spoilt for choice. There are also whole raft of friendships between people and animals – Charlotte’s Web, The Jungle Book, Winnie the Pooh and the list goes on.
With friendship in mind we’ve compiled a list of the special friendships that we found between the covers of our favourite childhood books.
Melissa Wilson – Head of Marketing and Children’s Content
I had a few favourites: The Faraway Tree where Joe, Fanny and Beth made friends with all the wonderful characters that lived in The Enchanted Wood. I really wanted to meet the Saucepan Man and Silky and become part of their magical friendship circle. I also loved The Wizard of Oz – Dorothy had friends that would fight to the death for her protecting her from the Wicked Witch of the West and she would undoubtedly do the same for them.
Recently books like Songbird by Ingrid Laguna where friends go above and beyond and Ondine Sherman’s Snow where friends are there to support you through loss and what you believe in are great examples of real friendships.
Jane Tara – Lifestyle Editor
I was obsessed with anything and everything by Enid Blyton when I was young. I wanted to be a part of a gang like The Famous Five or The Secret Seven. And of course, The Faraway Tree… no adults, just magical friends. By the time I was in my tweens, I was obsessed with Archie comics. I loved that gang. But for me, the ultimate friendship series, as a reader and a mother is Harry Potter. Even thinking about how much this series means to me and my children makes me a little teary. One of the great gifts a book can give is friends to the friendless, or at least the child who thinks s/he’s friendless.
Bec Howard – Marketing Coordinator
It should come as no surprise that my ultimate friendship group is The Golden Trio from Harry Potter. I fancied myself as a Hermione and just wished I had Ron and Harry for best friends! Even when they have their arguments, you know they’re strong enough to get through it. I was also obsessed with The Baby-Sitters Club and their amazing friendships. I may have even tried to start my own club! And while not strictly a kid’s book, it was read to me as a child, so I have to include Sam and Frodo from The Lord of the Rings. That loyalty and honesty in a friendship is completely admirable and I try to be that kind of friend.