Raffi’s New Friend

by Sylvain Meunier

illustrated by Elisabeth Eudes-Pascal

Raffi and the new girl in school, Fatima, have something in common: neither of them quite fit in. They bond when they find they have something else in common: a love of birds.

Although the new girl at Raffi's school is small and fragile looking, he notices that she is quick on her feet. She ducks out of the way of classmates that try to grab her head scarf. It might look like a game, but Raffi sees the tears in her eyes. Raffi knows all about being different. He suffers from sickle cell anemia, which makes it hard for him to get around and a target for bullies.

The new girl, Fatima, shares Raffi's interest in birds, and they feed the mourning doves together. Sadness sets in when the kids discover that the dove nest had been destroyed by the previous day's storm, but the return of Fatima's father, who had been missing since she and her mother had immigrated, brings inspiration to everyone.

The next week, Fatima's father talks to their class about how his native country is being destroyed by war. By using the example of the dove nest in the storm, he offers the class a lesson about the disruption wars cause which even the bullying kids take to heart.

About the Authors

SYLVAIN MEUNIER was born in Lachine, Quebec, and has written several books for adults and children. Two of his novels, Le seul ami and L'Homme a la bicyclette, have been finalists for the Governor General's award.


"This overly ambitious title could definitely spark discussion about bullying, violence, prejudice and war, but that presumes that somone can convince children to read it first."
Kirkus Books (U.S.)
Although Meunier's novel -- a translated work -- sometimes falls into awkward phrasing, it is successful in its discussion of prejudice and violence, using a scenario accessible to young Canadian readers. Eudes- Pascal's ink sketches convey the characters' emotions with flair.
Andrea Belcham, Montreal Review of Books
"...explores some serious and interesting themes."
Thematic links - Prejudice; Tolerance; Multiculturalism; Friendship; War
Susan Prior, Resource Links, Volume 16, No. 4

Subjects (BISAC)


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