An Adult Can Be Your Best Friend

Many memories were woven together to tell The Dog of Knots, a story of a dog, a little girl, and her friends during the Yom Kippur War The year I lived in Haifa I met a woman whose family had lived in Jerusalem for three generations. She had just moved to Haifa and she complained that both she and her nine-year- old daughter were having trouble making friends. It was a thread I used to create my story.

The Dog of Knots, about an Israeli girl, reflects so much of my life. Unable to find friends her own age, Mayim, my main character, makes friends with adults in her neighborhood. I did the same when I was a youngster, my best friend was the mother of one of my playmates. When my family moved to Salt Lake City I took her address written on a slip of paper and began a correspondence that continues to this day. Children can have friends outside their peer group. Adults can be their friends. The school janitor was a pal when I was in sixth grade; he gave me a lot of good advice.

Human beings exclude each other. It seems a big part of who we are. If kids are open to possibilities, they don’t have to live isolated lives.

Kathy Walden Kaplan’s limited-edition books Crow Story: A Legend of the Chumash; Poppyrose; and Becoming Nature- appeared at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington. The Dog of Knots (Eerdmans, 2004) won a Work-in-Progress grant from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.