What happens to the friendships that we make when we are very young? As we grow and change, some fall by the wayside. Others endure but are later challenged by life’s twists and turns, separating us from those whom once knew us so well. And then there are those that truly last: those that remain a part of our lives, around whom we can always be ourselves.
In ‘The Boys’ and ‘The Girls’, Lauren Ace explores the theme of friendship and its power in our lives. With likeable illustrations from Jenny Løvlie, she paints two relatable tales of the bonds made before the stresses of adulthood arrive.
I bought ‘The Girls’ for my nieces, hoping it would support them with primary classroom squabbles, with the quest to find the people they click with, with the confidence to be true to who they are. These girls – Sasha, Lottie, Alice and Leela – meet under an apple tree.
Four girls bring four talents to the table and their diversity is celebrated by each other. Girls fall out and they are no exception, but here, the girls learn how to move past their disagreements. Their bond grows stronger over many years and, despite living very different lives, their roots remain entwined.
‘The Boys’ introduces us to Rey, Nattie, Bobby and Tam who meet before they are born. Again, they each have their different strengths and interests and love each other’s company. However, just like men and women, this tale is different. As these boys age, something shifts for them and they each begin to have their head turned. Unlike the girls, they drift and almost forget their roots.
As we read, my son pointed out to me that it’s great to find ‘your thing’. We don’t have to follow the crowd. But this tale shows us that the power of friendship makes our strengths even stronger when they are shared with the ones we love.
We all bring something unique to the table. When we respect and celebrate diversity, feeling the joy and sorrow for those we love, life becomes rich. This is the powerful message that shouts from the pages of these beautiful books. I’ll keep my copy when my boys have long fled the nest – if only to dig them out when they need a reminder just how important friendship is.