The car is still all snot and tears and noise when we get to the drop-off zone outside One Mile Creek State School.
As Mom’s door opens, Hansie’s screaming makes everyone look at us – students, parents, teachers, all arriving at this same precise inconvenient moment. This is not the perfect beginning to my first day.
I am supposed to look cooler than this.
Before he and his family moved to Australia, Herschelle used the internet to research what life would be like, and to learn Australian slang. But now that he’s here, Herschelle is discovering that it is very different than he expected: the food is strange, the other kids don’t understand his accent, and the other kids haven’t heard of most of the so-called Aussie slang he has learnt. At his last school, he was one of the cool kids, but here he’s quickly learning what it’s like to be different.
New Boy is a funny, moving story about the immigrant experience, about belonging and about bullying and racism. Primary aged readers will laugh at Herschelle’s problems with language and his surprise at how things are done in Australia, but they’ll also feel for him as he struggles to understand and to adapt.
Herschelle is a likeable narrator, and New Boy is a valuable tool for classroom reading as well as for private enjoyment.
New Boy, by Nick Earls
Puffin Books, 2015
Available from good bookstores and online.