Intermediate May 2019 (2)August 1st, 2018 | Posted by in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 Intermediate | Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | May
Hale, Shannon. Real Friends. Illustrated by LeUyen Pham. First Second, 2017. 211 pages (pbk. 978–1–62672–785–4)
The middle child in a family of five children, Shannon is nervous to start kindergarten and to be away from her mother. It’s not long, though, before she meets Adrienne, her first best friend, who shares Shannon’s love of imaginative play. Adrienne is the first in a long succession of friends who are sometimes true, sometimes flaky, and other times downright mean. Mostly, though, they are like Shannon, just learning to navigate the world of elementary school– age friendships. In this graphic memoir, Shannon Hale frankly recounts her struggle to fit in with “the group,” the bullying she suffered from her classmate Jenny, and her desire to find, as her mother says, “one good friend.” She also recalls with at-times uncomfortable honesty the abuse she faced at the hands of her oldest sister, Wendy, whose own loneliness transformed Wendy into a frightening bear in Shannon’s eyes. LeUyen Pham’s bright, clear illustrations are well suited to the large cast of characters, who grow from kindergarteners to sixth-graders in this ultimately hopeful memoir about friendship and sister relationships that will be relatable to many girls today. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center
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