Remarkable Friendships: Better Reading on the Special Friendships Our Favourite Characters Shared

Remarkable Friendships: Better Reading on the Special Friendships Our Favourite Characters Shared

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.

Reviews

Awesome illustrated chapter book for young readers: Read an extract from The Besties by Felice Arena and Tom Jellett

Review | Extract

8 May 2020

Awesome illustrated chapter book for young readers: Read an extract from The Besties by Felice Arena and Tom Jellett

A Bestie Start to the Year: Review of Felice Arena's New Series

Review | Our Review

7 January 2020

A Bestie Start to the Year: Review of Felice Arena's New Series

Inspiring, Heartwarming and Timely: Review of Songbird by Ingrid Laguna

Review

18 June 2019

Inspiring, Heartwarming and Timely: Review of Songbird by Ingrid Laguna

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Publisher details

The Besties Show and Smell
Authors
Felice Arena, Tom Jellett
Publisher
Penguin
Genre
Children’s Fiction
Released
07 January, 2020

Synopsis

From the author and illustrator of the popular Sporty Kids books comes an exciting new beginner-reader series that celebrates the everyday adventures – at school, at home, in the backyard, even in the living room! A funny, sweet series about kids being kids, where imagination and play rule! Oliver and Ruby have been besties forever . . . Ruby is so looking forward to Show and Tell, but the teacher is away and it looks like she’ll miss out. Plus, the besties won’t get to see what Zac’s talent is – it’s bound to be really funny and gross! Can they turn a very bad day into the very best?

Publisher details

The Besties to the Rescue
Authors
Felice Arena, Tom Jellett
Publisher
Penguin
Genre
Children’s Fiction
Released
07 January, 2020

Synopsis

From the author and illustrator of the popular Sporty Kids books comes an exciting new beginner-reader series that celebrates the everyday adventures – at school, at home, in the backyard, even in the living room! A funny, sweet series about kids being kids, where imagination and play rule! Oliver and Ruby have been besties forever . . . Oliver is trying to record Ruby’s awesome trampoline flips in slow-mo, but he captures something else too. Cutie Pie, the cat from next door, is pouncing on a bird’s nest! The baby bird is too young to fly. Will the besties be the best bird-parents ever?

Publisher details

Snow
Author
Ondine Sherman
Publisher
Pantera Press
Genre
Young Adult Fiction
Released
15 July, 2019

Synopsis

Sometimes you have to leave everything behind to find yourself.Sky is travelling to Alaska to meet her father for the first time.Far away from her friends back in Australia, she navigates the new relationship with her father and meets Jaxon, a local boy struggling with his own problems. In a cold, vast and beautiful place, they are isolated except for the wild animals who live there.As Sky gets to know her father, she finally feels she has a chance of having a real family again. But her father has a secret that threatens everything Sky holds dear. Will she have to choose between family and her love of animals?This is a heart-warming story in the coldest of places.Book 2 in the Animal Allies series.

Publisher details

Songbird
Publisher
Text Publishing
Released
07 May, 2019

Synopsis

Jamila has left her friends, her school and her home in Iraq, and now she has a new home. It’s safe in Australia, but Jamila is finding it hard to settle in. She misses her best friend and worries for her dad’s safety back in Iraq. It’s hard to speak and write in English all day. And Jamila has a secret she wants to keep hidden.When she joins the choir, Jamila begins to feel happy. Singing helps take her worries away. And singing will help her find her place in her new life, a place where she can shine.Songbird is a tender story about belonging, about the importance of friendship and asking for help, and about the parts of our lives we keep concealed.

Synopsis

Jo, Bessie and Frannie are fed up when Connie comes to stay - she's so stuck-up and bossy. But they don't let her stop them having fun with their tree-friends, Silky, Moon-Face and the Saucepan Man. Together they climb through the cloud at the top of the Faraway Tree and visit the wonderful places there, the Land of Secrets and the Land of Treats - and Connie learns to behave herself!

Synopsis

The best friends you'll ever have!Kristy, Mary-Anne, Claudia and Stacey share their adventures in this awesome, eight-book collection! Relive the stories with all their original cover artwork.Boxed Set Includes:#1: Kristy's Great Idea #2: Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls #3: The Truth About Stacey #4: Mary Anne Saves the Day #5: Dawn and the Impossible Three #6: Kristy's Big Day #7: Claudia and Mean Janine #8: Boy-Crazy Stacey

Publisher details

Five on a Treasure Island (The Famous Five #1)
Author
Enid Blyton
Publisher
Hachette
Genres
Children’s Fiction, Classics
Released
11 September, 1942

Synopsis

The very first Famous Five adventure, featuring Julian, Dick, Anne, not forgetting tomboy George and her beloved dog, Timmy! There's a shipwreck off Kirrin Island! But where is the treasure The Famous Five are on the trail - looking for clues - but they're not alone! Someone else has got the same idea. Time is running out for the Famous Five, who will follow the clues and get to the treasure first.These classic editions feature Enid Blyton's unchanged text and Eileen A. Soper's original illustrations.#30 in Australia’s 50 Favourite Kids’ Books poll, 2014

Synopsis

Escape to Hogwarts with the unmissable series that has sparked a lifelong reading journey for children and families all over the world. The magic starts here. Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry's eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The magic starts here! These editions of the classic and internationally bestselling Harry Potter series feature thrilling jacket artwork by award-winning illustrator Jonny Duddle. They are the perfect starting point for anyone who's ready to lose themselves in the greatest children's story of all time.#1 in the Top 50 Kids' Books 2019 - Older Readers
Ann M Martin
About the author

Ann M Martin

Ann Matthews Martin was born on August 12, 1955. She grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, with her parents and her younger sister, Jane. After graduating from Smith College, Ann became a teacher and then an editor of children's books. She's now a full-time writer.Ann gets the ideas for her books from many different places. Some are based on personal experiences, while others are based on childhood memories and feelings. Many are written about contemporary problems or events. All of Ann's characters, even the members of the Baby-sitters Club, are made up. But many of her characters are based on real people. Sometimes Ann names her characters after people she knows, and other times she simply chooses names that she likes.Ann has always enjoyed writing. Even before she was old enough to write, she would dictate stories to her mother to write down for her. Some of her favorite authors at that time were Lewis Carroll, P. L. Travers, Hugh Lofting, Astrid Lindgren, and Roald Dahl. They inspired her to become a writer herself.Since ending the BSC series in 2000, Ann’s writing has concentrated on single novels, many of which are set in the 1960s.After living in New York City for many years, Ann moved to the Hudson Valley in upstate New York where she now lives with her cats, Gussie, Pippin, and Simon. Her hobbies are reading, sewing, and needlework. Her favorite thing to do is to make clothes for children.

Books by Ann M Martin

Felice Arena
About the author

Felice Arena

Felice Arena is one of Australia's best-loved children's writers. He is the author and creator of many popular and award-winning children's books for all ages, including Whippersnapper, the bestselling Specky Magee books and the popular Andy Roid series. For more information about Felice and his books visit his website at: felicearena.com

Books by Felice Arena

J.K. Rowling
About the author

J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling is best known as the author of the seven Harry Potter books, which were published between 1997 and 2007. The enduringly popular adventures of Harry, Ron and Hermione have gone on to sell over 500 million copies, be translated into over 80 languages and made into eight blockbuster films. Alongside the Harry Potter series, she also wrote three short companion volumes for charity: Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, in aid of Comic Relief and Lumos, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard, in aid of Lumos. J.K. Rowling collaborated with playwright Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany to continue Harry's story in a stage play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which opened in London in 2016 and is now playing in Europe, North America and Australia. In the same year, she made her debut as a screenwriter with the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first in a series featuring Magizoologist Newt Scamander, which was inspired by the original companion volume. J.K. Rowling has also written a standalone novel, The Casual Vacancy, and is the author of the Strike crime series under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Both have been adapted for television. She has received many awards and honours, including an OBE and a Companion of Honour for services to literature and philanthropy. She lives in Scotland with her family.

Books by J.K. Rowling

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