SOMEONE LIKE ME

HOW ONE UNDOCUMENTED GIRL FOUGHT FOR HER AMERICAN DREAM

An honest and heartfelt story of survival.

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. 29, 2018

BIG APPLE DIARIES

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

GUTS

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

Close Quickview