This extremely modern guide to growing up excels in its field.

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A COMIC BOOK GUIDE TO RELATIONSHIPS, BODIES, AND GROWING UP

A graphic-novel guide to puberty, sexuality, and growing up.

Groundbreaking sexuality educator Corinna, founder of the website Scarleteen, works with cartoonist Rotman to bring her knowledge and experience to this slim but mighty guide. In a fashion similar to Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth’s Sex Is a Funny Word (2015), five friends (multiracial and multigendered) talk through complex questions with one another and with readers. This book consistently puts the needs of its readers first, meticulously working to emphasize gender diversity, individuality, and the messiness of adolescence. Preteens and teens who might be “worried [their] genitals look weird” are informed that “genitals ARE weird, but that’s okay.” Puberty is treated as the confusing, unpredictable process that it is, with the reassurance that “puberty doesn’t mean you’re grown up or mature” and that “emotional maturity” is more important. Body parts are intentionally ungendered, sexual orientations are shown as fluid and joyful, and there is a constant emphasis on the importance of friendships and mutual support. While brief, this guide manages to cover crucial topics thoroughly and humorously, reassuring readers that while all of this is a big deal, it’s something they can handle. The cartoony illustrations are appealing and fun, the book includes interactive activities such as word searches and crossword puzzles, and there’s a fairly thorough glossary in the back.

This extremely modern guide to growing up excels in its field. (further reading) (Graphic nonfiction. 10-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62010-659-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Limerence Press

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A powerful resource for young people itching for change.

WOLFPACK (YOUNG READERS EDITION)

HOW YOUNG PEOPLE WILL FIND THEIR VOICE, UNITE THEIR PACK, AND CHANGE THE WORLD

Soccer star and activist Wambach adapts Wolfpack (2019), her New York Times bestseller for adults, for a middle-grade audience.

YOU. ARE. THE. WOLVES.” That rallying cry, each word proudly occupying its own line on the page, neatly sums up the fierce determination Wambach demands of her audience. The original Wolfpack was an adaptation of the viral 2018 commencement speech she gave at Barnard College; in her own words, it was “a directive to unleash [the graduates’] individuality, unite the collective, and change the world.” This new adaption takes the themes of the original and recasts them in kid-friendly terms, the call to action feeling more relevant now than ever. With the exception of the introduction and closing remarks, each short chapter presents a new leadership philosophy, dishing out such timeless advice as “Be grateful and ambitious”; “Make failure your fuel”; “Champion each other”; and “Find your pack.” Chapters utilize “rules” as a framing device. The first page of each presents a generalized “old” and “new” rule pertaining to that chapter’s guiding principle, and each chapter closes with a “Call to the Wolfpack” that sums up those principles in more specific terms. Some parts of the book come across as somewhat quixotic or buzzword-heavy, but Wambach deftly mitigates much of the preachiness with a bluff, congenial tone and refreshing dashes of self-deprecating humor. Personal anecdotes help ground each of the philosophies in applicability, and myriad heavy issues are respectfully, yet simply broached.

A powerful resource for young people itching for change. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-76686-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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Humble, endearing and utterly easy to relate to; don’t miss this one.

THE DUMBEST IDEA EVER!

The charismatic creator of the Eisner-nominated Amelia Rules! series recounts his beginnings as a cartoonist.

From the very first panel, Gownley’s graphic memoir is refreshingly different. He’s not the archetypal nerd, and he doesn’t retreat to draw due to feelings of loneliness or isolation. Gownley seems to be a smart kid and a talented athlete, and he has a loyal group of friends and a girlfriend. After he falls ill, first with chicken pox and then pneumonia, he falls behind in school and loses his head-of-the-class standing—a condition he is determined to reverse. A long-standing love of comics leads him to write his own, though his first attempt is shot down by his best friend, who suggests he should instead write a comic about their group. He does, and it’s an instant sensation. Gownley’s story is wonderful; his small-town life is so vividly evinced, it’s difficult to not get lost in it. While readers will certainly pick up on the nostalgia, it should be refreshing—if not completely alien—for younger readers to see teens interacting without texting, instead using phones with cords. Eagle-eyed readers will also be able to see the beginnings of his well-loved books about Amelia. He includes an author’s note that shouldn’t be overlooked—just be sure to keep the tissues handy.

Humble, endearing and utterly easy to relate to; don’t miss this one. (author’s note) (Graphic memoir. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-45346-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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