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Feature Story

Friendships Help Children Build Self-Esteem

Children’s Author Encourages Tweens to Learn the Benefits of a Best Friend

Remember 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 have.”

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.

Ryan, Me, and the Mysterious Book
By Nicole Rocheleau

202 pp., hard cover $19.95 US
Publish America, Nov. 2006
ISBN 1424134226

Available at www.barnesandnoble.com and www.amazon.com

 

About The Author:

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.’

Source: Event Management Services, Inc.


 

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