Before Shannon Hale became a New York Times bestselling author of books like Goose Girl and Princess Academy, she was a girl growing up as the middle child of a family in Utah. She had a great imagination and liked to make up games to play with her friends. But she was also low on the list of popularity among the friends she hung out with. And her older sister was often mean to her.
Hale has written about her experience growing up in the graphic novel, Real Friends, illustrated by LeUyen Pham. Hale belonged to a group of friends not unlike lots of groups in elementary school, with one person at the top and everyone else jockeying to be closest to her. Sometimes she hid in the bushes when other girls said mean things to her. When she finally got the courage to leave the group, she spent lots of lonely days on her own.
But Hale believed in her own ability to make up games and tell stories, and she eventually made friends who were happy with her as she was. It’s a tale that will encourage others who may feel like outcasts or those who are being bullied by the very people they call friends. In the end, Hale finds out who her real friends are and even finds a way to connect with her sister.
Reading Real Friends could be a way for moms and daughters to open a line of communication about situations at home and school. I highly recommend it for mother-daughter book clubs and readers aged 8 to 12.
The publisher provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.