The New Teacher

Illustrated by Stefano Pavolini

An Italian kindergarten run by nuns set next to Rome A new teacher. An introverted 5 years old boy who communicates through drawings.

Frascati, Roman castles area. Teo is the saddest child in his class. The nuns of the Colomba Antonietta kindergarten have welcomed him with affection, but Teo hardly ever plays or goes out at recess. He always stays in his seat, observes the world with a dazed look and draws. Giulia, the new teacher, immediately takes a liking to his peculiar character: like her, he seems to carry the weight of a pain.

Gradually Teo’s drawings begin to become strange, then inexplicable and finally disturbing. In the meantime, Giulia begins to experience strange discomforts. Day after day, instead of getting better, she seems to get worse: she arrives at school late, becomes forgetful and confused, and complains of excruciating pains she has never experienced before. Triggered by the recent loss of Giovanni, her beloved brother, Giulia becomes convinced that her health depends on the malign influence of a statuette she keeps at home, found near the archaeological site of Tusculum, where Giovanni was doing research work. It is a very rare artefact, a bronze representation of the Etruscan hero Telegonus. And when Telegono, with his warrior-like appearance and fiery eyes, inexplicably becomes one of the characters drawn by Teo, Giulia thinks she is going mad.

La nuova maestra is an innovative and sweeping psychological thriller about Giulia’s descent into hell as a kindergarten teacher searching for her place in the world. It will be little Teo’s drawings that explain to her that someone very close wants to hurt her…