By Author / Illustrator
Nicola Davies, Cathy Fisher
Representation & Inclusion
Paperback / softback
A new title by award-winning author and illustrator team Nicola Davies and Cathy Fisher. This short story tells of a girl's attempts to fit in at a new school, despite not being accepted by the other children. Nicola Davies's heart-warming text about inclusion is accompanied by brilliant illustrations by Cathy Fisher.
A child starts a new school in a strange new town. The children in her class are hostile towards her and unhappy about the stranger in their midst, refusing to talk to include her. The girl's response is to create something beautiful that transforms their attitude towards her and their vision of themselves and their own lives in this inspiring story.
When a new girl starts a new school in a new town, she is faced with hostility and suspicion. Focusing on her differences, the other children in her class taunt and mock her. However, the appearance of a beautiful origami flower left on the teacher's desk ignites their curiosity, which leads to understanding and friendship.
Simply stunning, The New Girl is a very special book in so many ways. The story is told through the voice of a child in the class, showing how they are unhappy with this stranger in their midst and exposing their cruelty in excluding and mocking her. There is much to linger over and discuss here, both in text and illustration - perfect for using role play and drama.
Through sharing her talent for origami flowers, her patience and kindness, the new girl - Kiku - changes the children's attitude and she becomes an accepted part of the class, teaching them not only how to fold flowers, but also the words for them.
The illustrations are an absolute joy, each offering a story of their own. The opening spread shows Kiku folding paper, a red crowned crane holding a flower above her (a Japanese legend promises that anyone folding a thousand paper cranes will be granted happiness), and a letter welcoming her to the new school in the air. It's a beautiful image.
The threat of the other children is depicted by shadows- faceless and dark, looming behind Kiku as her own shadow seems to shrink. My favourite spread, however, is the final spread, showing the children's hands on a petal-like background, reaching towards the paper flowers they have created.
An inspiring and beautiful story which I can't wait to use in school.
Picture book / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 7+