The New Girl…and Me – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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newTitle: The New Girl…and Me

Story by Jacqui Robbins

Art by Matt Phelan

Published by Richard Jackson Books, 2004

Ages: 5-8

Themes: first day in new school, friendship,

Opening Lines: 

The first day the new girl comes to our class, the other girls all shout, “I’ll show her around.” When Ms. becky asks the new girl to tell us her name, the new girl says, “I have an iguana.”


On Shakeeta’s first day in a new school, she introduces herself by telling the class that she has an iguana. Mia wants to get to know Shakeeta and show her around, but she’s afraid of the iguana. After a boy calls Shakeeta “Shakeeta Mosquita” and Shakeeta threatens to punch him in the head, Mia is also too afraid to speak for fear of getting punched in the head herself.

Unkind circumstances on the soccer field find the two girls alone on the playground, and Mia overcomes her fears to brave reaching out in friendship with sweet consequences.

Why I like this book:

This book expresses so many feelings and experiences: shyness, being the new kid, making friends, curiosity, fear, teasing, isolation. The illustrations are simply wonderful. Light and colorful and full of amazing simplicity. AND one of the main characters is a child of color and there are other children of color in the class. It is a fabulous classroom book for the beginning of the year or any time a new kid transitions in. There is a super emphasis on making any student really feel at home in their new classroom environment.


Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

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14 Responses to The New Girl…and Me – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. Thanks for sharing this book. I collect picture books with children of color on the cover. Somehow, this one missed me. I have never seen it or read it. I will be ordering it. Thanks for sharing it with me.

  2. What a great classroom book. And, I like that it is multicultural. This would also be a good book to pair with “Each Kindness” which ends in regrets because the kids didn’t get to know the new student. Lovely choice.

  3. Rhythm says:

    What a lovely little book. I like Mr Phelan’s artwork. Books about making friends are the best! Thanks!

  4. Wendy Greenley says:

    The cover made me want to read! I wanted to know why that girl is holding an iguana? It’s interesting that this book is also told from the non-new girl POV (like Each Kindness that Pat mentioned above).

  5. I loved the simplicity of this book. Yet it teaches so much without the reader knowing it. Great find Joanna!

  6. Love the idea of having students get ready to greet the new kid! Will be looking for this title too – thanks for the suggestion!

  7. How can you resist a book where the character introduces herself by stating that she has an iguana? Sounds like one I have to read.

  8. While the themes covered are important and deep, it sounds like the book does it with a great dose of humor, which I appreciate. That and the cute artwork is making me put it on my list. 🙂

  9. Such an endearing cover illustration, Joanna, and, of course, a needy topic. It would be wonderful if we could realize that we are all loved by God, and therefore, precious, but, unfortunately it won’t happen in this life. So, it’s good to be reminded! Thanks for sharing this one . . .

  10. clarbojahn says:

    This was a Cheerios New Author event that I wrote about for PPBF once, Joanna. here it is:

    I guess Susanna isn’t getting our books up on her site quick enough to see them. I thought the book was great too. 🙂

  11. Pingback: Illustrator Interview – Matt Phelan | Miss Marple's Musings

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