THE NEW GIRL by Jacqui Roberts, illustrated by Matt Phelan (Atheneum)
When the teacher suggests the class make Shakeeta feel at home, observant Mia can’t help wondering if Shakeeta could possibly feel that way being so far from her pet iguana (whatever that is…Mia speculates its some kind of dinosaur), where boys tease and call names (Shakeeta threatens to punch the perpetrator in the head, which only makes it harder for Mia to approach her) and where kids leave other kids out of soccer games. In a quiet moment, shy Mia gets up the gumption to bring Shakeeta into the classroom family fold. This realistic picture book naturally depicts a lively multicultural school environment, and the light sketchy line nicely matches the tenuousness of the friendship unfolding. A sensitive story sans saccharine. (6 and up)
Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.