May have younger readers beginning their own writing, painting, or scrapbooking adventures.


From the Cici's Journal series , Vol. 1

A young girl’s imagination meets wholesome, kid-centered storytelling in this sweet graphic novel.

In this cleverly illustrated story, readers meet 10-year-old Cici, who lives with her mother in a picturesque village with friends. An avid diarist, she wants to be a writer when she grows up. One day, while in the forest treehouse she has built with her best friends, she spies an unusual sight: a mysterious older man, accompanied by a parrot, carrying paint cans through the forest. She and her friends set out to figure out both the man’s identity and his secret, hidden deep in the forest behind a looming stone wall. What follows is a tender story involving a zoo, animals, helping others, and the powers of art and kindness. Curiosity, imagination and teamwork take center stage. Most characters, including Cici, present White, though characters of color are present in peripheral roles. While Cici’s story is told primarily by a third-person narrator, the text’s key visual innovation is to periodically insert illustrated excerpts from Cici’s diary as well as newspaper clippings and photographs of events in the story. The final pages include a space for readers to contribute an illustration. While the clunky, at-times saccharine dialogue might be off-putting to some, the colorful and charming mystery at the center of the text will render this infelicity inconsequential for most.

May have younger readers beginning their own writing, painting, or scrapbooking adventures. (Graphic mystery. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62672-247-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...


Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Fans of the series will be delighted.


From the Click series , Vol. 4

Can Olive stay positive when a social-climbing bully moves to town?

In her fourth adventure, sixth grader Olive Branche is on top of the world until new girl Natasha begins to encroach on her friendships, slowly and methodically freezing her out of her many different social circles. Relentlessly optimistic Olive tries to stay genial despite Nat’s overt jibes, but when Nat takes it to a new level and ruins Olive’s carefully planned Halloween party, Olive finally confronts her. When Nat finds herself consequently ostracized, empathetic Olive has a change of heart and extends her an olive branch (groan). Olive and Nat’s relationship is highly idealized, bordering almost on wish fulfillment; Nat’s backstory offers some explanation for her behavior, but she is accepted back into the fold more easily than may seem realistic. Olive’s appeal is in her unceasing Pollyanna-like sunniness and her ability to be accommodating and find the best in every situation. Though consistent in tone with its predecessors, in this entry Olive does have some moments of anger (albeit quickly reconciled); her portrayal here is the most human she’s been throughout the series. Although this is the fourth installment, each volume is mostly self-contained, making this equally accessible for established and new readers. Olive and Nat read as White; the supporting cast is inclusive and diverse.

Fans of the series will be delighted. (Halloween costume craft ideas, author Q&A) (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-24220-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Etch/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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