Title: Real Friends
By: Shanon Hale and LeUyen Pham
Call #: JGraphic Hale.S
Who still has vivid memories of friend drama from elementary school? Me! And I know I’m not alone, because Newbery Honor author Shannon Hale, well known for the Princess in Black series as well as the Princess Academy series, has taken a page from her own life with her newest book for kids. Following in the autobiographical graphic novel footsteps of authors like Raina Telgemeier and Cece Bell, Hale achieves a balanced and heartwarming portrayal of the ups and downs of different friendships as well as family dynamics and how they shape different chapters of her life. At the same time, Hale is careful to recognize how her own choices and self perception lead to her literal and figurative shortsightedness at different points in the book: from believing she can’t write stories on her own, her rejection of her older sister Wendy, to forgoing her necessary glasses to look cooler, as well as neglecting a similarly bullied girl who could have been a good, albeit younger, friend. In Real Friends, Hale reminds the reader that being authentic and kind (to yourself and others), while seeking out others who are as well is really the better way to go. Get this book into the hands of as many 3-5th graders as you can!