Together with kindness, confidence, curiosity, hope, belonging, and courage, friendship has a tremendous impact on the quality of one’s daily living. Cumulatively, these values comprise the 7 Strengths, a series of core ideas that our friends at LitWorld name as crucial elements for educational success, healthy relationships, and an overall happy and fulfilling life.
Friendship holds a particular weight for those of us at Story Shares as we have had front row seats when it comes to witnessing its power. From our crowdsourced library, to our successful December Kickstarter campaign, to the network of educators and advisers working with us each day in the benefit of teen and young adult literacy, we have seen the impact that friendship has, and we’ve seen it on a large scale.
Several of the stories in our collection focus on this theme and we’ve compiled five of them for you below. Much like our own tale, those we’ve listed spotlight the influence and importance of close, personal connections. We hope that these stories resonate with you and that you will find yourself celebrating those connections you’ve made in your life.
The Wailing by Jennie Ford is the story of a teenaged girl named Sunny struggling to care for herself and her younger siblings in place of her absent, alcoholic mother. With nothing but the crumpled dollars she finds in her mother’s jeans and a telephone number from an old holiday card, Sunny proves that some of the deepest friendships come in the form of family as she creates an opportunity for a better life for her brother and sister.
Chalk by M. Lang is a touching story about finding friendship in those who guide us. In it, a young protagonist struggling with depression finds solace in the compassion of her English teacher, and in the books assigned as part of the course. The narrative emphasizes not only the impact of a great educator, but the importance of finding understanding through friendship.
Walks With Augustus by L.V. Halo proves that friendship extends beyond gender, age, and even species. When Grandma Lollie, a well-known elderly resident of the town (“pillar of the community,” as Sofia’s Mom would say) has a stroke, she finds she is barely able to care for herself, let alone her terrier, Augustus. Sofia, at her Mom’s insistence, becomes the small animal’s day-to-day caregiver. What she anticipates as an unwelcome chore fast transforms into important lessons in love and life.
Skeleton Valley by Tom Rameaka is a work of historic fiction set in America’s late 1960s. During this turbulent time, the friendship between two life-long friends has grown fragile amidst the violent deaths of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. Each of different ethnic backgrounds, Timmy and Leon’s eyes are opened to the uglier realities of their time, something they’d been unaware of in their younger years. This story reveals the power of true friendship by thrusting it in the face of adversity, and is a powerful tribute to the importance of embracing diversity.
Snowman by Craig Merrow is one in a long list of stories featuring Davy and his crew of friends as they navigate unreliable transportation, never-ending pranks, and the many trials and tribulations of their high school years. This story, along with Davyology, Hole in the Floor, A Day at the Mall, Egg Beater, Little Jimmy, Monopoly, Novamotion, Pony Tales, Prom Date, and Suck It Up, shows that good friendships can turn even the most mundane moments into grand adventures.
This blog post is part of the 7 Strengths Blog Series created by Story Shares and LitWorld, two organizations who are coming together to spread joy and hope through literacy.
You can read the other posts in this series here: