A tender story that explores the complexity of familial bonds as deftly as it does the outer regions of space.

A trip deep into space forces a preteen to reevaluate her assumptions about her parents.

Space is infinite, but it doesn’t feel so for 12-year-old Grace, a child of divorce who lives at Genova Station with her mother Evelyn, an engineer who fusses over her and makes her do chores. Grace is excited because she’s finally off to spend time with Kendra (her other, seemingly more fun mom, a freighter captain who helms her own ship) on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. But onboard Kendra’s ship, Grace finds that she’s left to entertain herself. Things don’t ease up when they get to Titan, where adventure and mayhem await. Grace begins to question her perceptions about Kendra and Evelyn, realizing that normal doesn’t equal boring. This hip graphic novel rockets into space, with fun facts and lots of science talk. The illustrations are beautiful, deftly using panels to show Grace’s isolation and disappointment and her awe at space. While the book balances out toward the end when it comes to the two parents, overall it comes across as championing Evelyn, making Kendra out to be a bit self-involved and work-focused. Still, this tale does a stellar job depicting a family with same-sex parents whose love for their child is apparent despite their divorce. Grace and Evelyn are brown-skinned; Kendra is light-skinned and uses the honorific Mx.

A tender story that explores the complexity of familial bonds as deftly as it does the outer regions of space. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-18239-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Random House Graphic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2019


An emotional, much-needed historical graphic novel.

Sandy and his family, Japanese Canadians, experience hatred and incarceration during World War II.

Sandy Saito loves baseball, and the Vancouver Asahi ballplayers are his heroes. But when they lose in the 1941 semifinals, Sandy’s dad calls it a bad omen. Sure enough, in December 1941, Japan bombs Pearl Harbor in the U.S. The Canadian government begins to ban Japanese people from certain areas, moving them to “dormitories” and setting a curfew. Sandy wants to spend time with his father, but as a doctor, his dad is busy, often sneaking out past curfew to work. One night Papa is taken to “where he [is] needed most,” and the family is forced into an internment camp. Life at the camp isn’t easy, and even with some of the Asahi players playing ball there, it just isn’t the same. Trying to understand and find joy again, Sandy struggles with his new reality and relationship with his father. Based on the true experiences of Japanese Canadians and the Vancouver Asahi team, this graphic novel is a glimpse of how their lives were affected by WWII. The end is a bit abrupt, but it’s still an inspiring and sweet look at how baseball helped them through hardship. The illustrations are all in a sepia tone, giving it an antique look and conveying the emotions and struggles. None of the illustrations of their experiences are overly graphic, making it a good introduction to this upsetting topic for middle-grade readers.

An emotional, much-needed historical graphic novel. (afterword, further resources) (Graphic historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0334-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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