“Haley’s Friendship Challenge” by Louie Lawent
Having moved town five times during my childhood years, I can relate to many of the themes in “Haley’s Friendship Challenge”, childhood author Louie Lawent’s latest book. Just when I was settled, having made new friends, my bank-manager dad would break the news, “we’re moving again…”
“Haley’s Friendship Challenge”, a beautifully illustrated book from Topaz Publishing, is inspired by Lawent’s elementary school years, a time of popularity during which a classmate’s mother thanked him for inviting her shy son to his birthday party. While Lawent learned early on about the importance of inclusion, he doesn’t afford Haley the same luxury; having moved to a new town, she finds that she’s not fitting in and misses her old friends.
For her birthday, Haley receives a much-coveted surprise that she shares with no one. However, her feelings change when she feels empathy for a neighbourhood dog that has also lost her pals. After weeks of loneliness, Haley realises that things are not getting better for either of them; it’s time to make new friends…
Lawent is also the author of the 1997 children’s picture book “Gerty the Pig”, which is in school systems across the U.S and is part of the National Accelerated Readers program. He also has a chequered career as a lyricist. You can follow him on Facebook here.