Neue Konversationen, neue Komplikationen

Book Title Neue Konversationen, neue Komplikationen
(New Conversations, New Complications)
(Number 2 in the series)
Author(s) Eric Richards
Illustrator(s) Lea Ribbing
Other Contributors Cathleen Weigelt-Ferguson & Angelika Weigelt
Published by Self published
Publication date 2018
Genre Realistic fiction
#Ownvoices N/A
From the author/publisher’s website
Level 2-3

Total Word Count 6,650

Illustrations                    YES 
Glossary                          YES
Guiding Questions       YES  
Context                            NO  

Races, Ethnicities, and Nationalities

Languages spoken
Some Italian words

Sex and Genders
Male (main character)

Teenagers/Young Adults – main characters

Social classes
Middle Class

Sexual Orientation



Family Structures
Single parent

Body Type
From the author/publisher’s website 

With the help of his new friends – Heidi, Lena and Felix – Anton has settled into his new school. He has an exciting week ahead of him. He is going to his first party and his brother is coming to visit. As Anton receives an unexpected text message, he tells himself that it is innocent – but Anton is nervous. Will Anton’s response lead to trouble among his new friends and spoil the week ahead? As their relationships continue to develop and deepen, these four friends are confronted with challenging conversations and unforeseen complications.

To what extent do the illustrations present positive and thoughtful representations of identities?

The illustrations mostly show objects and locations in the characters’ lives, such as cell phones, sports shoes, parks, and desks.  The one up-close image of the characters shows a female character giving a male character a kiss on the cheek.  Neither of the characters’ eyes are visible in the image.

We understand identities are complex and no single story represents the spectrum of identity-based experiences. Also, a text may address a stereotype, misrepresentation, or generalization without relying on it.

Does any stereotype, misrepresentation, or generalization affect any positive and thoughtful representations of identities in the text?

Females are not represented in a thoughtful way. In the story, they are only represented as love interests for the male characters.

This section is for teachers who are working towards sourcing more texts within the four domains of anti-bias education. We are excited about reading all books and we understand that not all books are written for this specific purpose. 

Does this text work toward goals within any of the four domains of anti-bias education as defined by Teaching Tolerance


Neue Konversationen, neue Komplikationen is the second book in a series for German learners by Eric Richards.  The series’ protagonist, Anton, has settled into his new school and is beginning to explore possible romantic relationships with other students from his school.  The author has described the novel as being suited for levels 2 or 3, and this seemed appropriate given the language used in the book.

Anton develops positive relationships with his friends throughout the novel, and seems to have a positive, considerate affect towards his family.  He is excited when his brother Hannes is set to come visit him in Berlin so that they can explore together (p. 7), and Anton and Hannes have a conversation about their mother living in Berlin that shows thoughtfulness and empathy for her struggles in the big city (p. 47).  Anton’s friends Felix and Heidi notice when Anton is not feeling well, and ask him questions to determine why he might be so tired or down (p. 25).  On the whole, the characters seem open to new experiences and exploring unfamiliar locations, and are able to see many locations in Berlin (p. 50).

The behaviors of the women are depicted as superficial and only oriented toward coming out on top in a romantic rivalry: we learn that Lena lies in order to get a “date” with Anton (p. 4) and then she yells at him for not showing up (p. 34). Heidi, on the other hand, smiles when she finds out Lena got herself into trouble by lying (p. 37).  The reader is left wondering what Heidi and Lena’s interests, personalities, and backgrounds are, and why the characters are all interested in each other romantically.  

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