With a Friend by Your Side

With a Friend by Your Side
written by Barbara Kerley
2015 (National Geographic Children’s Books)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

So, step right up. Don’t be shy.
Imagine what can happen with a friend by your side.

“How do you become friends with someone?” That’s the first question addressed by the photo essay With a Friend by Your Side. You do so by knowing that there is someone out there for you. All it takes is a willingness to be a friend. The second question is “Why have a friend?” As humans, it’s nice to have someone to share a laugh with. Literally as I type this, I can hear my two daughters belly laughing in the back bedroom. They are friends for life. You also want someone to share with. It’s good to talk to someone you trust who won’t tell your thoughts. Friends also are great for support. Whether it’s a hug, a “You can do it!”, or a holding of the hand, friends can provide the support we need to keep going in this big ol’ world.

With a Friend by Your Side would be an excellent way to start a lesson on friendship and/or kindness. It will set the tone for the values you want your students to consider. If you want to promote global awareness (Seriously, who doesn’t?), then find a copy of this book. Sarsy, Russia doesn’t look so far away when you see three kids reading a book together. “Hey, I do that too!” you say to yourself. When you see two kids from the Congo putting their arms around each other’s shoulders, that seems quite familiar too. Finding out what we have in common makes this sphere a little less big. In the back matter, you will find a thumbnail print of each photograph and a map showing their location. There’s also a brief essay by the author and quotes about friendship.

Combining simple but profound text by the terrific (look it up if you don’t believe me) Barbara Kerley with the usual spectacular photos by National Geographic will give you a winner every time and you cannot have enough good books about friendship in your classroom.