Real Friends


In Real Friends, Shannon Hale recalls the negotiations of her friendships through primary school. She works to be part of The Group, hold onto her ‘one best friend’, and understand her older sister’s moods.

Her recall is exceptional. There will be few readers who do not flinch in sympathetic memory at some of the instances Shannon Hale shares. These include being second best choice as a sleepover friend, saying the wrong thing, looking the wrong way, or behaving unacceptably and never understanding the error.

Real Friends is an exceptional book that we recommend for any child’s bookshelf, to be discussed with family, shared with friends, and loaned in class. It is an ideal text for PSHE or philosophy. Real Friends on the issues of friendship honestly.


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Real Friends

Shannon Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham

(Roaring Brook Press)

Real Friends resonates with empathic memory as the author recalls the seismic shifts, twists and turns of friendship during her primary school days. How do you form friendships? Then again, how do you know if the friendship is real? Furthermore, how do you negotiate friendships when they don’t flow as they’re meant to? Isn’t it that everyone else knows how to act and be? It seems that Shannon is desperate to be part of ‘the group’ and thereafter hold onto ‘one best friend’. However, it’s all so confusing! It seems you have to like the same things, say what’s right, behave a certain way, and yet there are no guidelines! How do you work it all out?
 Shannon Hale is inspired by her own experience in this superb graphic novel. LeUyen Pham’s graphics are sharp and Archie fresh. They draw us in so that we understand Shannon’s feelings, the blunders, hopes and knockbacks. Then again, as with Best Friends, the sequel, we get to know the protagonists well. We understand their varying strengths and individual confidence. Finally, we learn, alongside Shannon, the rules of a Real friendship, that there are none really….


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