The New Girl
Nicola Davies and Cathy Fisher
Softly spoken, sensitively rendered and enormously moving is Nicola and Cathy’s latest picture book narrated by a member of the class into which the new girl arrives ‘wrapped up like a parcel’ and not understanding a word that was said by her classmates.
Almost unbelievably, the newcomer is set apart to eat her lunch on account of its ‘funny’ smell and as school ends she walks away quite alone. This cruel behaviour continues day after day as winter arrives bringing with it dark and dreariness.
Then one day into that dark something wonderful appears on the teacher’s desk.
Each day after that another one appears somewhere in the classroom bringing with it feelings of warmth and cheer until the beautiful objects stop coming.
At their teacher’s suggestion, the children start trying to make their own paper flowers, the narrator unsuccessfully … until the new girl shows her how.
Flower making isn’t all that’s learned in that classroom on that particular day though; so too is a new language and the importance of accepting difference, of understanding and of friendship …
Cathy Fisher’s illustrations are startlingly realistic, full of feeling and atmosphere – the ideal complement to Nicola’s text.
Primary classrooms should definitely add this to their collections.