Friends for Real - Ages 3+
Scholastic Inc.

Friends for Real - Ages 3+

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Emma searches for her lost favourite toy, and instead finds a true friend.

 When Emma loses Squeezy, her favourite stuffy, she tries to find another toy to replace her best-loved “pet.” It’s hard. No one else is exactly like Squeezy, and for Emma, Squeezy is perfect. But instead of finding Squeezy, Emma ends up discovering an unexpected friendship, and that two imaginations are better than one. This touching, smart story of lost-and-found treasures is a great reminder that things don’t always go as planned, but they can turn out better than expected. When Emma makes a friend in Frank, she finds what she’d been missing all along! In an equally perfect pairing, Ruth Ohi’s delightful art effortlessly brings through the layers in Ted Staunton’s nuanced text, bringing together the talents of two of Canada’s best-loved storytellers for kids.

Ted Staunton wrote his first story as a class assignment at university. He barely handed it in on time, but he’s glad he did: it became the picture book Puddleman. Now the award-winning author of over forty books, he writes everything from picture books to middle-grade and YA novels, and non-fiction.

Ted’s books with Scholastic include Bounced, What Blows Up, (in The Almost Epic Squad series) Friends for Real, a picture book illustrated by Ruth Ohi and It Seemed Like a Good Idea...: Canadian Feats, Facts and Flubs, non-fiction fun co-written with his son Will Staunton. All in all, he’s getting better at handing things in on time.

Ted says that working on What Blows Up helped him understand that he has a superpower too: the uncanny ability to forget names and song lyrics instantly. And many other things, too, probably, but he can’t remember what they are just now. He does have some advice for aspiring writers though:

“While there’s always something of me in my stories, and lots of imagining, what gets my imagination going is what I see and hear in real life. I could never make up things half as weird as what really goes on. To start imagining, all you have to do is pay attention – and remember to write it down.”

 Trained as a teacher, Ted is a speaker, performer, and workshop leader in schools, libraries and festivals across Canada. As well, he leads writing workshops at George Brown College. He has also travelled to Ethiopia several times to work with English language writers and editors there.

When not being bookish Ted plays music, often in the MAPLE LEAF CHAMPIONS JUG BAND. (He always brings his guitar and banjo to school presentations too.) He enjoys running, reading, writing and tunes. Born young, he is now older. Ted and his family live in Port Hope, Ontario. Find out more about Ted and his books at

Ruth Ohi is the illustrator of over 60 books, 21 of which she is also the author. Her latest "Choose Kindess" launches July 6/21. Most recent books include a paperback edition of "Scribble" which can now be found in your favourite bookstore (thanks to everyone who asked for more “Scribble”!). Ruth is also the author/illustrator of "No Help Wanted!" and the Fox and Squirrel Series. Ruth is the illustrator of "Friends for Real" (by Ted Staunton/Scholastic Canada).

Ruth is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and lives in Toronto, Canada. Visit Ruth at You can also find Ruth on Twitter: @Ruth_Ohi , Instagram: @RuthOhi and Facebook: @RuthOhi. 

Author: Ted Staunton (Canadian)
Illustrator: Ruth Ohi (Local Canadian)
Format: Paper over Board
Product dimensions: 32 pages, 9.79 X 9.76 X 0.29 in
Published: May 5, 2020
Publisher: Scholastic Canada Ltd
Recommended for ages 3-8. 

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