Kate and the thing by Heidi Cooper Smith
Wombat Books, 2018. ISBN 9781925563290
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Themes: Mental health, Depression, Insecurity, Changing school. Being a new kid at school leaves Kate feeling despondent. The others in her school have their own friends, and are in groups playing when she arrives. She watches them from behind the tree, unsure of what to do. The Thing which accompanies her on the way to school stays with her all day, watching her play with her breakfast, standing alone in the line, hiding behind the tree.
The next day she hides under the bed, but the day is rainy and the Thing loves puddles so draws her out to play in the rain. Playing like this helps her to feel smiley, and going to school she sees things which make her happier, and through that week, the Thing becomes less of a partner in her life as her courage grows.
As her confidence builds she forgets all about the Thing and never looks for him
One day she notices another new boy, sitting by himself and she goes over to him, knowing that he feels despondent just like she had, and becomes a companion.
This is a neatly told tale of adapting to change. It plays with the idea of change and accepting change in your life, encouraging the reader to feel compassion to the newcomers in their midst.