How to be a great friend (by unlikely pals)

Each day leading up to the April 14 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today we feature 2012 Children’s Literature Finalist:

Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships
Catherine Thimmesh

Houghton Mifflin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company

Category Sponsor: Books For Africa


What makes a camel friends with a Vietnamese pig? Or a wild polar bear with a sled dog or a young giraffe with an ostrich? In this book, Catherine Thimmesh makes readers wonder at the truth and mystery of unlikely animal friendships. These real-life stories of animal relationships demonstrate how differences don’t really matter between friends.


An excerpt from Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships:

A friend comforts…
A pat,
A hug,
And a new friend is made;
No longer alone,
No longer afraid.



Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships is Catherine Thimmesh’s sixth nonfiction book for children. Her book, The Sky’s the Limit won the Minnesota Book Award in 2002. Girls Think of Everything and Lucy, Long Ago were Minnesota Book Award finalists. She lives in Eden Prairie.


“I think this would be a cute kids book – and worth keeping on my shelf – even if it was a work of fiction. But real-life tales, with photos and all? A big starred review from me!”
– Minnesota Book Awards judge

“Here is a fabulous primer on how to be a great friend, from the teachers kids love best – animals. Every one of these friendships, be it between a camel and a potbellied pig, a giraffe and an ostrich, or a bear and a cat, is heartfelt, spontaneous, and genuine. This wonderful book shows that if animals can make friends across species lines, people can cross boundaries, too!
– Sy Montgomery, author of The Good Good Pig and The Tarantula Scientist


View the book trailer with a original song by Zaccurus Fricke.


Award winners will be announced at the 24th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 14, 2012 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel – Saint Paul Riverfront. The opening reception begins at 7 p.m. followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. New this year: a post-awards “Epilogue Celebration.” Tickets are available online or by calling 651-222-3242. Click here for more information.

Have you read Friends? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!

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