Sunday, May 20, 2012

Secret Friends by Elizabeth Laird

Books should teach us things about ourselves.  Secret Friends is an honest account of how children react to bullying and the power of the peer group.  If you have read The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes, Wonder by RJ Palacio or The Present Takers by Aiden Chambers then you might be ready to read Secret Friends but be warned this is another very sad and quite confronting book told in a very slim novel.

Rafaella does not fit in.  Her appearance is different and her name sounds odd.  From the first day she is teased and given the awful nick name of 'Earwig'.  "I don't know what got into me.  Perhaps it was the nervousness of starting a new school. Perhaps it was the way she looked down at me."

Lucy immediately regrets the nick name she has bestowed on Rafaella but it is now too late.  Others quickly adopt the name and Rafaella becomes an outsider.The dilemma for Lucy is that she becomes friendly with Rafaella - even visiting her home and meeting her lovely family but Lucy knows this friendship needs to be kept a secret at school.  "You were a social outcast if you were seen with Earwig and I didn't want to risk it."

After Christmas Rafaella does not return to school.  Something truly dreadful has happened. 

For younger children who want to explore this important theme of friendship and loyalty and bullying you might also look for Second Best Friend by Sally Rippin or Lady Long Legs by Jan Mark.

When I read a book I often think about who I will recommend it to.  I first read Secret Friends over ten years ago and I regularly recommend it to mature girls who are looking for a short book with strong emotions - a sad book yes but also a book well worth reading.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Momo, just been to the open morning for kindy 2013, and missed you greatly up in the library. Hope you are having a great sabatical year, although not so great that you want to stay away! Look forward to seeing you next year. Pip x

Anonymous said...

Hi momo, just been to the open morning for kindy 2013 and missed you greatly up at the library. Hope you are having a wonderful sabatical year, although not so good that you want to stay away! Look forward to seeing you next year. Pip x