How to be the new person
How to be…the new person
Written by Anna Branford
Walker Books Australia 2022
The introduction threw me at first. I’m not keen about kids on YouTube and the premise of the story is about a girl who secretly creates ‘How to’ YouTube videos in her mind. It is her coping strategy. Thankfully I read on. The book is so much more than a grab at engaging non-readers who are obsessed with the internet. This is a book with themes of friendship, bullying and courage. It is what might be classified as a ‘High interest, Low challenge’ text because it is pitched perfectly for a tween readership in content, however, it is a short 17 chapter read with large font and non-challenging vocabulary.
Hazel Morrison, the protagonist of the story is being forced to move house and change school because of something dramatic that is happening in her older sister’s life. The story hints at bullying and harassment without going into detail, and Hazel finds herself getting lost in the shadows of her sister’s drama. She must leave the school and best friend that she loves, and start fresh in a new neighbourhood. Everyone thinks that Hazel is made of ‘tough stuff’ and forgets to ask how she is feeling about all of the changes. When she starts at the new school, fitting in is not a smooth process and Hazel finds it difficult to make friends.
The story concludes with examples of characters speaking up and supporting each other, allowing Hazel to finally settle in to her new life.
Anna Branford is an Australian author and creator.
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As a lover of books and a teacher, I read widely. Here you will find book reviews of many genres including picture story, middle grade fiction, graphic novels, women's fiction, short story anthologies, non-fiction and anything else that takes my fancy.