The Ms. Magazine covers lining the endpapers promise an engaging read, but the rambling text may leave young readers...

READ REVIEW

GLORIA TAKES A STAND

HOW GLORIA STEINEM LISTENED, WROTE, AND CHANGED THE WORLD

A tribute to feminist icon, activist, and writer Gloria Steinem.

Several spreads cover Steinem’s childhood, with details loosely connected to the narrative. She challenged gender-based assumptions starting with her decision to go to college, where she loved the “ideas, books, and discussions about everything!” After graduation, instead of looking to marry and start a family, she traveled and wrote in India, where she listened to people talking through their problems. When she returned to the United States and looked for a job, instead of settling for work as a secretary or a teacher, she became a journalist and continued to listen to people and write. Her decision to attend and cover the March on Washington, her decision to co-found Ms. Magazine, and her organizing to become a leader of the women’s liberation movement are framed as natural outgrowths of her desire to listen and create space for people to be heard and to demand equal rights. The paragraphs can be dense, but the design often uses quotes by Steinem and a series of short sentences in display type (“Gloria believed. She marched. And dreamed”) to highlight a given spread’s main points. The illustrations, done in soft, natural colors, place the white feminist beside or in front of ethnically diverse groups of people.

The Ms. Magazine covers lining the endpapers promise an engaging read, but the rambling text may leave young readers uninspired. (author’s note, illustrator’s note, timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68119-676-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 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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