Friendships Help Children Build
Author Encourages Tweens to Learn the Benefits of a Best Friend
when you were a kid how it felt to have a best friend who would
do anything for you? A friend who giggled at your silly jokes, cheered
you up when you needed encouragement, and stood by you if another
kid didn’t like you? That’s the type of close-knit friendship
every child wants. But in today’s world, where kids are bombarded
with images and advertisements enticing them to focus on appearances,
material possessions, and ‘being cool,’ it’s easy
for kids to forget how to be themselves and forge strong friendships.
“Friendship is such an important element of childhood,”
says Nicole Rocheleau, author of the new book Ryan, Me, and the
Mysterious Book. “But nowadays, many kids feel pressured to
choose their friends based on things like who has the best clothes
or the most video games, instead of on the core values of trust,
concern and understanding. That’s why I want to offer books
with a positive message, where the main characters have a deep platonic
bond that will hopefully inspire other kids to develop strong friendships.”
Friendships are necessary for a child’s emotional development
according to the NYU Child Study Center. The Center cites research
that demonstrates how children with friends have better self-esteem
and a better sense of well-being. The research also shows that children
who have friends have fewer social problems as adults. Rocheleau
is a firm believer in the overall benefits of close childhood friendships.
Her goal is to steer kids away from negativity and encourage them
to slow down, enjoy their friends and enjoy their childhood. She
hopes more parents will nudge their kids in a direction that focuses
on reading books with upbeat and fun-loving characters.
“So many books for kids in the ‘tween age group feature
characters who’ve been dealt a tragic blow,” says Rocheleau.
“That can be frightening for kids and I want to introduce
them to kids that they can relate to; kids that they could picture
themselves hanging around with after school.” That desire
led Rocheleau to start writing the Emmy Bolan series. Emmy is a
middle-school student whose family is loving, supportive and is
quite often, laughing about Emmy’s latest mishap.
The second installment in the series, Ryan, Me, and the Mysterious
Book is a tale of good, clean fun, with a mysterious twist. The
story is told from the perspective of 12-year-old Emmy Bolan. Smart
and funny with a penchant for getting herself into some embarrassing
situations, Emmy and her best friend Ryan are inseparable. The pair
finds themselves facing typical middle school dilemmas, like how
to handle a rival student who’s out to make trouble for Emmy.
But they also find themselves entangled in a mystery that involves
an unusual bookstore and a very magical book.
“Emmy has a tendency to be a little accident prone,”
says Rocheleau. “But she’s not a one-dimensional character.
I think this book showcases even more of Emmy’s wit and personality,
yet you still get a strong sense of her vulnerable side. I really
hope that she has a positive impact and encourages young readers
to become the kind of friend that they themselves would like to
Rocheleau is currently writing the third and fourth installments
in the Emmy Bolan series. Her first book was titled “Ollie
Ollie in Come Free!” Rocheleau’s books feature strong
and modern female characters as well as meaningful relationships
between adults and children. Appealing to the young at heart, her
books are not only written for the 9-12 year-old reader, they are
also designed to make readers of all ages laugh out loud.
Me, and the Mysterious Book
By Nicole Rocheleau
202 pp., hard cover $19.95 US
Publish America, Nov. 2006
Available at www.barnesandnoble.com
Nicole Rocheleau grew
up as a military child who moved all over the country and overseas
as a kid. She is proud of her Spanish heritage; her parents are
both Puerto Rican. Married with young children, Nicole happily balances
her writing with her family’s needs and considers herself
an ‘at home mommy.’
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