"You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing."

Sep 2015
"You're the best friends anybody ever had."

The blossoming of relationships is prevalent through most books; the way characters interact and learn about each other is largely what we, as readers, find so absorbing about our favourite stories; it is not just what has happened, but who it has happened with.

A number of our favourite characters have great friends and confidants who shape their view of the world and how they interact with it. September marks friendship month, the perfect opportunity to spend some time with friends and remind ourselves of how our relationships have developed.

And what better examples of friendship to give, than those from our favourite books.

The above quote is taken from Charlotte's Web by E B White (which features on the Kumon Recommended Reading List). The unlikely friendship here is between Charlotte, a spider, and Wilbur, a pig. Charlotte hatches an elaborate plan to save Wilbur from being slaughtered after he arrives in the barn where she lives and their relationship is both heart-warming and humorous.

In the infamous Hundred Acre Wood, adventures occur on a near daily basis. At the heart of most of these adventures are A.A Milne's much loved creations, Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo and Tigger. The relationship between Pooh and Piglet lies at the heart of the group:

"We'll be Friends Forever, won't we, Pooh?' asked Piglet.
Even longer,' Pooh answered."

The friendships formed in Harry's first week at Hogwart's prove to save lives! In all of JK Rowling's Harry Potter series, Harry, Ron and Hermione, among others, are better wizards because of their friendships. They work together, learn from one another, accomplish more than they ever could alive, and most importantly, survive a host of terrifying and often life-threatening adventures.

"From that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend. There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them."

In L Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz, friendship is pivotal to the story. In Kansas, Dorothy's only companion is Toto, her dog, and however frightening her journey to Oz becomes, she grows stronger and braver with every step thanks to her friends Scarecrow, Tin Woodman and Lion. Without the help and advice of her friends, she may not have successfully navigated the journey, and they too would not have found what they were looking for.

"Dorothy: Oh, you're the best friends anybody ever had. And it's funny, but I feel as if I'd known you all the time, but I couldn't have, could I?'"

Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden sees two very unhappy children thrown together under unhappy circumstances. Mary is spoiled, selfish and angry at the world having grown up with parents who didn't want her and servants who just tried to placate her and keep her quiet.

Colin is sickly and has spent his entire life confined to bed, locked away and alone. He too is selfish and bitter. Helped by good natured Dickon the children begin to nurture a garden which improves health, heart and happiness and ultimately the companionship Mary and Colin so desperately wanted.

"It made her think that it was curious how much nicer a person looked when he smiled."

Happy friendship month one and all!