Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

When I was younger, New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day were the holidays that caused me the most anxiety. To a lesser extent, I also had issues with Halloween, but that was more because I had no creativity when it came to costumes, not because I'd worry about my social life. The holidays best spent with someone you love can be miserable when you don't have a someone.  I long ago realized that the best cure for this kind of anxiety is to focus on what you have rather than what you haven't. To me, love is, at its core, deep, meaningful and respectful friendship. Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate meaningful friendships. While I may not always have wanted to kiss my friends at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, there's no one I'd have preferred to be with to usher in a new year.  I hope my kids develop a healthy attitude when it comes to love and holidays. One of our daughters let us know that she and a friend agreed to send each other candygrams at school on Valentine's Day this year to make sure they each receive a bag of candy (I think they both feel pretty loved already - I really think it was all about the candy). Seriously, though, it all comes down to friends!

One of my favorite picture books about the meaning of friendship tied to the cycle of life is the Mo Willems-Jon J Muth collaboration, City Dog, Country Frog. The two develop a lasting and important friendship that forms, blossoms and strengthens when the city dog comes to visit the country. This book effectively and movingly deals with the lasting impact of friendship and acknowledges that, in the course of life, things change. The book is as beautiful as a lifelong friendship.

If I haven't succeeded in distracting you from the love theme, then your teen or tween may want to pick up a copy of Alexandra Adornetto's  Halo. One of our 12-year old daughters, in search of a satisfying love story, picked it up and couldn't put it down. She read it in just two days. The book was written by a teenager and, conceivably, nobody understands teen angst and teen love better. It is the first book in a trilogy and I can assure you there is at least one avid young reader counting down the days until the next one (Hades) is available. It's got angels from above, young love, Dark Forces - a pretty powerful and appealing mix - with one of my favorite book trailers in the last year. Check it out!

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