Much of what we learn about honesty, integrity, manners, and friendship is what we are taught at home. Moreover, the example parents set strongly imprints on a child; children will imitate your verbal and nonverbal actions.

Think of all the TV shows children are exposed to where bad manners, selfish attitudes and acts, and dishonesty are the norm (and somehow okay). This kind of input, peer pressure and other external negative forces makes it difficult to always keep kids on the right path.

Today's reviewed books address friendship different ways. Reading books such as these and others can create a springboard for discussion and can serve as terrific tools for teaching. Be sure to ask your librarian and bookseller for other suggestions. And remember, while books serve as important teachers in this and many other regards, the greatest teacher of all for a child isn't a book - it's you.

Books to Borrow

The following book is available at many public libraries.

"Ryan and Jimmy and the Well in Africa That Brought Them Together" by Herb Shoveller, photographs from various sources, Kids Can Press, 56 pages

Read aloud: age 8 and older.

Read yourself: age 9 and older.

In 1998, Ryan Hreljac was in first grade when he learned that one of the most serious problems facing people in other parts of the world was the lack of safe drinking water, causing many to become sick and even die.

Ryan thought that was awful and decided he must do something. And so his project was born.

Through hard work to raise money and the generosity of many, in 1999 Ryan finally reached his goal to have a well built in Agweo, Uganda.

When Ryan finally visited Agweo in 2000 for a special tribute to Ryan, he also met his pen pal, the orphaned Akana Jimmy. The two boys bonded immediately, and over the next several years, Ryan and Jimmy corresponded frequently until finally, Akana Jimmy came to visit Ryan and eventually became part of the Hreljac family.

An outstanding, remarkable true story of one young boy's determination to do good, this selection excels in every regard.

Librarian's Choice

Library: Switzerland County Public Library, 205 Ferry St., Vevay

Library Director: Shannon Phipps

Children's Librarian: Judi Terpening

Choices this week: "Care Bears" by J.E. Bright; "Chronicles of Narnia" by C.S. Lewis; "Amber Brown is Feeling Blue" by Paula Danziger

Books to Buy

The following books are available at favorite bookstores.

"Penguin's Hidden Talent" written and illustrated by Alex Latimer, Peachtree, 2012, 30 pages, $15.95 hardcover

Read aloud: age 4 - 6.

Read yourself: age 7 - 8.

The BIG Annual Talent Show was coming up soon, and everyone was practicing their talent for the competition. Everyone, that is, except Penguin - he couldn't figure out what his talent was. His friends Albatross, Bear, Rabbit and Fox tried to help, but in the end Penguin decided he didn't have a talent for the show and would simply help organize the event so he could still be involved.

The show was a great success, but Penguin felt a bit blue as he went home. After all, his friends had gone home with medals and Penguin didn't. His sadness didn't go unnoticed by his friends, however, and they decided to throw a party for Penguin to thank him for the excellent job he did in organizing the show. As it turned out, the party his friends threw for him made Penguin realize what his true talent was.

Delightfully written and illustrated by Alex Latimer, this sensational book is loaded with humor, wisdom, and a solid message of what it is to be a friend.

"Truck Stop" by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Melissa Iwai, Viking, 2013, 36 pages, $16.99 hardcover

Read aloud: age 3 and older.

Read yourself: 6 - 7.

A boy and his parents own a truck stop. Early each morning, the three arrive and begin breakfast preparations for the truckers who will soon arrive. The boy knows all of the regular trucks and drivers, and he loves seeing them drive in, loves chatting with the customers, and watching the trucks head out. But someone is missing one morning - where is Green Gus?

A charming story about friends looking out for one another, this selection will especially appeal to young truck lovers.



Nationally syndicated, Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children's literature. She can be reached at her website: www.greatestbooksforkids.com.