Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Learning with Kidlit: Frenemies

Many people, at some time in their lives, might encounter a frenemy, a.k.a. someone who's supposed to be a friend but doesn't act like one. Sometimes it can be hard for a someone, especially a young person, to understand they are in a toxic relationship. Even if they recognize this, breaking free isn't easy. Thankfully, there's a bunch of kidlit out there on frenemies and bullies, more so now than when I was growing up.

Here are some kidlit and young adult books on frenemies I've read: 

DEAR BULLY Edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones (Young Adult- Harper Teen) 70 authors share their experiences, many of which are raw and heart-wrenching, of being bullied, of the complexities of so-called "friendships" they endured, and of their own role as the bully. Contributing authors include R.L. Stine, Lisa Yee, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Alyson Noël, Lauren Oliver, and Jon Scieszka. A few of the bullies mentioned are actually adults- sadly, there are adults who actually perpetrate bullying as opposed to trying to stop it.

LOUDER, LILI by Gennifer Choldenko, Illust. by S.D. Schindler (Picture Book- Putnam Juvenile) A quiet girl "befriended" by a controlling classmate learns she must speak up to set boundaries in the relationship.

PARIS PAN TAKES THE DARE by Cynthea Liu (Middle Grade- Putnam Juvenile) A girl who has moved to a small town meets a group of girls who dare her to complete a tough task to be accepted into the group. 

KISS & BLOG by Alyson Noël (Young Adult- St. Martin's Griffin) A high school sophomore stinging from being dumped by her best friend for the "cool crowd" starts a blog to reveal her former friend's embarrassing secrets.

THE WORST BEST FRIEND by Alexis O'Neill, Illust. by Laura Huliska-Beith (Picture Book- Scholastic) A boy is upset when his best buddy befriends the new kid at school and seems to forget about him...temporarily. 

SMILE by Raina Telgemeier (Middle Grade Graphic Novel- Scholastic) The author/illustrator recounts her experience of being tormented by the "friends" in her group after she suffers a very unfortunate and severe accident affecting her two front teeth. 

Have you ever had a frenemy? 

Feel free to recommend any other books, kidlit or non-kidlit, you've read on frenemies.


Kate OMara said...

I like the new word: frenemies; it's a great description of many YA relationships. Our goal as parents & mentors is to help young people recognize a frenemy before some disaster happens.
Great collection of books.

Julie Dao said...

I had a frenemy in high school! She pretended to be my friend but was always competitive, always wanting to be better than me. She taught me how to avoid toxic relationships. What a great topic for a book, since it's something so many kids (and adults!) have to deal with!

Paul R. Hewlett said...

Thanks for the great post! I love the books you listed. I'm not really familiar with too many books about this, but I will be on the lookout for them now. I have seen a lot of books that discuss bullying, now that I think about it. This is a very important topic, to many times, what we learn/experience as a child turns into a vicious cycle as we grow older. Thanks for discussing.

Paul R. Hewlett

momto8 said...

I am not familiar with that word but am definitely familiar with the concept....and it is unbelievable every time..
thanks for the book recommendations.

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

A Secret Friend, by Marilyn Sachs, was my favorite frenemy book ever.

Think Positive, Be Positive said...


I am hopping over from GUTGAA and trying to visit some blogs before the fun begins. Nice to meet you...you have a lovely blog!

Donna L Martin

Ella said...

These look great! I am so happy these are available~ There has always been a market! Yes, I have had a few frenemies~ It is sad isn't it~

Thanks for sharing and visiting me! :D

Stephsco said...

This is a great list for a very relevant issue for kids. I think this is especially true with girls. It's sad that the competitiveness can turn so cruel and toward bullying. You're right to connect the two -- manipulation can be a form of bullying, but I don't know how many kids would understand that. I had a controlling friend who I was loyal to until another friend showed me how mean she was. This was fourth and fifth grade, so it's really hard to tell then.

Cynthia Heart Books said...

Kate: Yes, as a parent, I try to pay attention to how kids play together.

Julie: I know that type, bleh! I'm glad that you pointed out that adults deal with frenemies too.

Paul: From reading DEAR BULLY, I definitely saw how hurtful childhood incidents could still affect individuals when they are adults, unfortunately.

Annmarie: You're welcome, and yes, it's unbelievable how some people can behave.

Jennifer: The name of the book sounds so familiar- I think I must've read this when I was younger too. I remember reading a few Marilyn Sachs books back in the day.

Donna: Thanks, Donna! Nice meeting you.

Ella: I think these experiences provide learning opportunities for all of us.

Stephsco: I read somewhere that while boys are taught that it's "ok" to be physically aggressive, this notion doesn't apply to girls. Therefore girls learn at a young age about relational aggression, and that's why I think there are more instances of frenemies among females than with guys...I'm glad you had a friend who helped you see things...

Jay Noel said...

I will have to get Louder, Lili for my daughter. She's a reading machine!

I think this is a great topic for kids to read about. Oh, and is "frenemy" in the dictionary now???

Lynn Proctor said...

yes i have had many through the years, i don't think you can be a female and not have known at least one :)

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