How to Mend a Friend

How to Mend a Friend
Karl Newson and Clara Anganuzzi
Studio Press

As he tells us at the end of the book, Karl’s story was written while he was undergoing treatment for cancer when inevitably things felt pretty uncertain. Nonetheless with the love and support of relations and friends, and of course the fantastic NHS staff who treated him, he found a way through and hopes that this heartfelt tale might help others.

No matter what, it’s a lovely hug of a picture book showing the importance of friendship and of people’s empathetic understanding.

Through Karl’s rhyming text, and Clara Anganuzzi’s beautiful, detailed scenes that exude warmth and love, we follow a little girl, accompanied by her huge imaginary polar bear

and a host of other animals as she contemplates the kind of support that might be needed or offered in difficult times.

I love the various perspectives and variety of settings used in the portrayal of the protagonist’s friends

and how all the characters come together in the final scene with Karl’s crucial closing words, ‘You can be the greatest friend / just by being you.’

Positive, moving and uplifting. During the past year or so when the pandemic has overshadowed pretty much everything, we’ve all come to realise what is most significant in our lives; family, friends and community. As a result every one of us has discovered and are continuing, to learn, how better to care for the ones who, in their unique ways, are important to us.

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