An exciting labor of love—for kids of all gender identities.

READ REVIEW

THE GIRL WHO RODE A SHARK

AND OTHER STORIES OF DARING WOMEN

Brief biographies of 52 intrepid women, spanning the globe and all centuries, are flanked by large, full-color illustrations and by maps that show the women’s adventuring sites.

The introduction sets up the idea that the book has been written by, for, and about human females—a bit unfortunate. The claim that these are women whom “the history books forgot about” is mostly true (Sacagawea, Joan of Arc, and Amelia Earhart are outliers) and explains why such noteworthy figures as Rosa Parks and Malala Yousafzai are just names at the bottom of the pages about Bessie Coleman and Nujeen Mustafa, respectively. Although the introduction suggests that being an adventurer is not related to monetary wealth, a good number of the women are from privileged backgrounds. The thoughtful glossary and endnotes—and the biographies themselves—help explain this. The artwork, reminiscent of art deco travel posters, is a gorgeous complement to the eclectic curation. The biographies are written in a conversational style, often including a short quote from the subject. The idea of adventuring is deliberately loose, with the biographies organized under categories of artists, pioneers, scientists, activists, athletes, and seekers. The tales range from being inspirational (most of them) to creepy (pirate queen Teuta had a Roman ambassador killed because he annoyed her) to weird (Manon Ossevoort drove a tractor to the South Pole in 2004). All are fun to read.

An exciting labor of love—for kids of all gender identities. (Collective biography. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77278-098-7

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many.

GUTS

Young Raina is 9 when she throws up for the first time that she remembers, due to a stomach bug. Even a year later, when she is in fifth grade, she fears getting sick.

Raina begins having regular stomachaches that keep her home from school. She worries about sharing food with her friends and eating certain kinds of foods, afraid of getting sick or food poisoning. Raina’s mother enrolls her in therapy. At first Raina isn’t sure about seeing a therapist, but over time she develops healthy coping mechanisms to deal with her stress and anxiety. Her therapist helps her learn to ground herself and relax, and in turn she teaches her classmates for a school project. Amping up the green, wavy lines to evoke Raina’s nausea, Telgemeier brilliantly produces extremely accurate visual representations of stress and anxiety. Thought bubbles surround Raina in some panels, crowding her with anxious “what if”s, while in others her negative self-talk appears to be literally crushing her. Even as she copes with anxiety disorder and what is eventually diagnosed as mild irritable bowel syndrome, she experiences the typical stresses of school life, going from cheer to panic in the blink of an eye. Raina is white, and her classmates are diverse; one best friend is Korean American.

With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many. (Graphic memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-545-85251-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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A painful and painfully recognizable tale of one girl’s struggle to make and keep “one good friend.” (author’s note)...

REAL FRIENDS

A truth-telling graphic memoir whose theme song could be Johnny Lee’s old country song “Lookin’ for Love in all the Wrong Places.”

Shannon, depicted in Pham’s clear, appealing panels as a redheaded white girl, starts kindergarten in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1979, and her story ends just before sixth grade. Desperately longing to be in “the group” at school, Shannon suffers persistent bullying, particularly from a mean girl, Jenny, which leads to chronic stomachaches, missing school, and doctor visits. Contemporary readers will recognize behaviors indicative of obsessive-compulsive disorder, but the doctor calls it anxiety and tells Shannon to stop worrying. Instead of being a place of solace, home adds to Shannon’s stress. The middle child of five, she suffers abuse from her oldest sibling, Wendy, whom Pham often portrays as a fierce, gigantic bear and whom readers see their mother worrying about from the beginning. The protagonist’s faith (presented as generically Christian) surfaces overtly a few times but mostly seems to provide a moral compass for Shannon as she negotiates these complicated relationships. This episodic story sometimes sticks too close to the truth for comfort, but readers will appreciate Shannon’s fantastic imagination that lightens her tough journey toward courage and self-acceptance.

A painful and painfully recognizable tale of one girl’s struggle to make and keep “one good friend.” (author’s note) (Graphic memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-416-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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