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A Graphic Novel

by Alex Schumacher ; illustrated by Alex Schumacher ; color by Allan Ferguson

Pub Date: March 26th, 2024
ISBN: 9781684813568
Publisher: Mango

Micah prepares for his bar mitzvah, which he’ll share with Alana, his sister who’s 10 months older.

Micah is a nerdy, artistic Jewish boy from Salinas, California, who has only one pal, Omar. His sister, once his close companion, now has her own cool, social media–obsessed friends. Micah’s coping with too much: Hebrew school and extra sessions with the rabbi to learn his Torah portion; regular school, where antisemitic students taunt him; and the stress of his grandmother’s memory loss. The book contains solemn religious references, including sessions with Rabbi Delnick (who’s a woman), but Micah also rails against the Jewish faith. He has a bad fight with his mom when she reveals he was an accident, born sooner after his sister than his parents would have wanted, but the unity of his extended family shines through. The dramedy occasionally veers into an adult sensibility before returning to scary nightmares and emotional outbursts. The emphasis on religion and Grams’ Alzheimer’s may limit the work’s appeal, but Micah’s realistic travails and eventual triumphs will interest readers who are experiencing their own awkward stages. The setting is contemporary, but the panels have a retro look with flat, static images and a 1970s color palette. Micah’s family is white; Omar is cued Mexican American. Yiddish, Hebrew, and Spanish words are defined in a glossary and explained in the text.

Focusing on family, friendship, and faith, this work provides insights into adolescent difficulties.

(author’s note) (Graphic fiction. 11-13)