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Like life, grab this book with both paws!

Important emotional lessons from the animal world.

Have you ever marveled at two dogs first meeting and seeming to make friends so easily? Or perhaps you feel like a pigeon amid a flock of other birds—just a part of the crowd? Well, the dogs recognize the importance of healthy bonds, and each pigeon is unique! Animals interact and adapt in such marvelous ways; they can be inspirations to humans. With proclamations and affirmations directed to readers (“dear young humans”), the book features chapters on individuality, inner confidence, a supportive pack, kindness, bravery, resilience, and happiness. Sorosiak compares facts about certain species and true stories of particular animals to common human challenges involving school, art, and friendship. She includes various perspectives and emphasizes that everyone is different—and that’s OK. For instance, a crow can’t run fast like an ostrich or hover like a hummingbird, but it can solve complex puzzles and remember human faces for years, and that’s really impressive! Playful typography intermixes with Walker’s charming illustrations to sustain visual appeal. Taken together, this is a great read for animal lovers (full of interesting information) or any young reader needing a smile (images of pandas somersaulting in the snow are sure to elicit grins) and some encouragement through the trials of life. Humans depicted with their animal friends are racially diverse.

Like life, grab this book with both paws! (author’s note, index of animals) (Nonfiction. 8-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-80218-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: David Fickling/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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An authentic and moving time capsule of middle school angst, trauma, and joy.

Through the author’s own childhood diary entries, a seventh grader details her inner life before and after 9/11.

Alyssa’s diary entries start in September 2000, in the first week of her seventh grade year. She’s 11 and dealing with typical preteen concerns—popularity and anxiety about grades—along with other things more particular to her own life. She’s shuffling between Queens and Manhattan to share time between her divorced parents and struggling with thick facial hair and classmates who make her feel like she’s “not a whole person” due to her mixed White and Puerto Rican heritage. Alyssa is endlessly earnest and awkward as she works up the courage to talk to her crush, Alejandro; gushes about her dreams of becoming a shoe designer; and tries to solve her burgeoning unibrow problem. The diaries also have a darker side, as a sense of impending doom builds as the entries approach 9/11, especially because Alyssa’s father works in finance in the World Trade Center. As a number of the diary entries are taken directly from the author’s originals, they effortlessly capture the loud, confusing feelings middle school brings out. The artwork, in its muted but effective periwinkle tones, lends a satisfying layer to the diary’s accessible and delightful format.

An authentic and moving time capsule of middle school angst, trauma, and joy. (author's note) (Graphic memoir. 8-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-77427-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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

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 11, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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