The Other Christy (Oliver Phommavanh, Puffin)
Eleven-year-old Christy Ung has tried hard to fit in and make friends since she and her grandpa moved to Australia from Cambodia. At school, though, she’s almost invisible: thanks to loud, popular Christie Owens, she’s just ‘the Other Christy’. It doesn’t help that she’s the weird kid who eats her lunch with cling wrap over her fingers because of her cleanliness-obsessed grandpa, or that she wears clothes from the boys’ section and doesn’t have a mobile phone. But when Christie Owens’ popular friends decide they don’t like her any more, the two girls strike up a cautious friendship. Christy is excited to have a best friend, but what if they’re just too different? In The Other Christy, kindness is rewarded, everybody’s home life is different and odd in its own way, and friendships work when both people try to understand each other and compromise. It’s an encouraging, warm-hearted read for middle- and upper-primary readers. Readers from immigrant families will find it especially resonant, but The Other Christy will speak to anyone who’s struggled with feeling like an outcast in their class. Kids who like cooking and baking will particularly enjoy Christy’s triumphant dessert-making experiences.
Jarrah Moore is a primary literacy editor at Cengage Learning Australia