The Children’s Book Review | March 8, 2019
Written by Victoria Williamson
Age Range: 11-14
Paperback: 243 pages
Publisher: Floris Books (September 4, 2018)
What to expect: Muslim culture, struggles of immigration, unlikely friendships, and middle school conflicts
In this tale about Reema, a Syrian refugee, and Caylin, a twelve year-old who is struggling with her mother’s alcohol addiction, author Victoria Williamson’s experiences as a former teacher have lead her to create a realistic story of two unlikely girls becoming friends. Told from alternating perspectives the author does an excellent job of creating believable characters that demonstrate realistic pre-teen behaviors.
The story opens with Caylin bullying a fellow classmate for her birthday money so that she can put food on her table, and Reema struggling to understand her new life in Glasgow, Scotland. Neither girl feels that she belongs. Soon, independently of each other, the girls discover a wounded fox living in the back garden of the Council flat they live in. Both decide to care for the wounded fox that becomes symbolic of the struggles each girl faces. Forced to work together in secrecy to help the fox, an unlikely friendship between the two emerge.
The author does an incredible job of showing how important feelings of pre-teens are in their decision making process, and how adults and peers can influence this. It was fascinating to see her develop a friendship between two girls who, from the outside, appear to be drastically different yet face similar internal struggles of belonging and where they fit in their family.
The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle would make an excellent parent-child read together, especially for a pre-teen girl who might recognize some of the behaviors of the characters. The author presents many great talking points such as: the idea of belonging and what that means to each of us, how we treat people who we see as outsiders, and dealing with anger and frustration. Victoria Williamson has created a book in which everyone can see a piece of themselves in each character, a mark of a very gifted story teller.
About the Author
Victoria Williamson is a primary school teacher with a Master’s degree in special needs education. She has worked as a science teacher and teacher trainer in Cameroon and Malawi, an English as a foreign language teacher in China, and as a special needs teacher in the UK. Victoria’s experiences teaching young children in a deprived area, many of whom were asylum seekers, inspired her first novel, The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle, an uplifting tale of friendship between Glasgow girl Caylin and Syrian refugee Reema.
The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle, by Victoria Williamson, was reviewed by Jen Lemm. Discover more books like The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Christy Hale, Geography, Non-Fiction, Picture Book, Science, and Water.