An honest and heartfelt story of survival

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SOMEONE LIKE ME

HOW ONE UNDOCUMENTED GIRL FOUGHT FOR HER AMERICAN DREAM

Arce, whose My (Underground) American Dream (2017) recounted for adults her story of hope and hard work in the face of obstacles, turns to a younger audience in an adaptation for young readers.

When Julissa was born in Taxco, Mexico, she was a miracle baby for her parents, many years younger than her older sisters. Her entrepreneurial and ambitious parents wanted the best life for their girls, so they sent them to the best private school in the area. In order to pay for tuition, Julissa’s parents were frequently absent as they pursued their business ventures. Eventually her parents stayed in the United States to work almost full-time, and their absence was most keenly felt. When Julissa started getting in trouble back in Taxco, her parents sent for her to come live with them in San Antonio, Texas, arriving on a tourist visa. Though technically not allowed, she started school without a social security number, but when her tourist visa expired she became undocumented and lived in fear of deportation and removal from her family. Julissa recalls facing racism and abuse but also making true lifelong friends along the way. In her first-person account, Julissa and her family are presented compassionately but with acknowledgement of their many flaws. Above all it is evident how highly valued hard work and education are to the Arce family, values that push Julissa toward success despite her circumstances.

An honest and heartfelt story of survival . (Memoir. 8-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-48174-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

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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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