Moms, by definition, worry about their kids. Whether it’s about their health, or how they’re doing in school, or about their feelings and relationships with other people, we can’t help but worry. We’re just made that way. I am no exception. In fact, if you ask my husband, I’m probably one of the worst. And when it comes to my youngest son, ever since he started school, one my greatest worries for him has been whether or not he will make friends and feel good about himself. Like other mothers all over the world, I want people to value and appreciate my son the way I do. I want him to be happy and confident. But wishing for it doesn’t make it so. I can only try my best to encourage him, teach him as many skills as I possibly can, and hope for the best.
Recently, I have had the pleasure of reading a wonderful new iBook from Electric Eggplant and author Annie Fox (creators of the Be Confident in Who You Are app) with my son and daughter, ages 7 and 10. It is one of those books in which the characters seem so real and the message so personal that it’s like it was written especially for us. The book introduces us to Raymond, who much like my youngest son, feels left out when his sister has a friend over to play and he is left alone with only a teddy bear as a playmate. Throughout the book, Raymond finds within himself the skills and confidence needed to make a friend of his very own and also to stand up for himself when he is teased by an older kid. In addition, the characters of Raymond and Sheila provide a positive example of siblings who love and respect one another and are kind to each other. It is a refreshingly positive message and one that I hope my children will learn to emulate. (They fight like cats and dogs, but I’m still hoping…) There is also a fabulous discussion page at the end of the book that allows children to discuss the feelings shared by characters in the story, as well as talk about their own feelings. Are You My Friend? is a fabulous story and a wonderful way for parents to talk to children about making friends, treating one another with respect, and sticking up for themselves.
Are You My Friend? is a very well designed iBook with delightful, full-color illustrations on each page by artist Eli Noyes. It also includes wonderful sound effects and highlighted text to make it easy for young readers to follow along. My children and I are all very impressed with the Voice-over Actor, Melissa Hutchison, who does a very nice job of creating a unique voice for each character. I think Electric Eggplant made a good decision in producing this book as an iBook rather than as an app. It has all of the wonderful read-along qualities we enjoy on the iPad without anything to detract from the characters and message of the story. For this reason, it makes a great story to snuggle up with together and read during the day, or at bedtime.
My children enjoy story time, and I love the magical way stories can help parents and children connect with one another in a meaningful way. The characters of Raymond and Sheila in Are You My Friend? really warmed my heart and offered us all a wonderful opportunity to talk about many of the feelings and situations the characters encounter in the book. What is it like to feel left out? What do you do if your friend is mean to your brother? How do we make new friends? Books can really open the door for parents and children to enjoy special time together while also learning valuable life lessons. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Are You My Friend? together with my children, and look forward to reading this and hopefully more Raymond and Sheila stories with my children in the future.
More information about Electric Eggplant can be found on their website.
A copy of this iBook was provided for review purposes.