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Byalick (It’s a Matter of Trust, 1995) pens a readable story about a young girl living with Tourette’s syndrome. While she doesn’t skimp on any unpleasant details, she doesn’t make it seem as if having the illness is the worst thing in the world either. The heroine of the piece is a likable Long Island seventh-grader named Carrie Kravetz. She has a pretty typical life—if you don’t count her involuntary head twitches, facial tics, and compulsive throat clearing and sniffing, not to mention the extraordinary lengths she must go to sometimes to suppress these outbursts. Yet in many ways Carrie’s life is like any other girl’s. She’s got loving parents, for one thing. By trying to hide their pain and annoyance about Carrie’s symptoms, however, they’re dishonest about their feelings and pretend the disease doesn’t exist. She also has a good relationship with her elder sister. Furthermore, Carrie excels in school drama and jazz dance (interestingly, Tourette’s seems to vanish altogether during these pursuits). Carrie also has a best friend, Clyde, who’s got his own problems (a terror of mosquitoes and the West Nile virus; this boy sees epidemic everywhere) yet who has steadfastly stood by Carrie through all of her tics over the years. Then Rebecca, a new girl in school, enters Carrie’s sphere. The two girls grow close right away, but at the expense of Clyde’s friendship, since Rebecca wants nothing to do with him. Though the three are all part of the “Lunch Bunch” at school, three’s a crowd and the new girl’s monopoly of Carrie drives a wedge between the two former best friends. How this is all resolved—and how Carrie gets her parents to listen to her and accept her, through the offices of a kind, understanding teacher—makes for thought-provoking and satisfying reading. A helpful list of FAQs and answers about Tourette’s syndrome are appended. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2002

ISBN: 0-385-72997-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2002

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

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  • Newbery Honor Book

BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE

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  • Newbery Honor Book

A 10-year old girl learns to adjust to a strange town, makes some fascinating friends, and fills the empty space in her heart thanks to a big old stray dog in this lyrical, moving, and enchanting book by a fresh new voice. India Opal’s mama left when she was only three, and her father, “the preacher,” is absorbed in his own loss and in the work of his new ministry at the Open-Arms Baptist Church of Naomi [Florida]. Enter Winn-Dixie, a dog who “looked like a big piece of old brown carpet that had been left out in the rain.” But, this dog had a grin “so big that it made him sneeze.” And, as Opal says, “It’s hard not to immediately fall in love with a dog who has a good sense of humor.” Because of Winn-Dixie, Opal meets Miss Franny Block, an elderly lady whose papa built her a library of her own when she was just a little girl and she’s been the librarian ever since. Then, there’s nearly blind Gloria Dump, who hangs the empty bottle wreckage of her past from the mistake tree in her back yard. And, Otis, oh yes, Otis, whose music charms the gerbils, rabbits, snakes and lizards he’s let out of their cages in the pet store. Brush strokes of magical realism elevate this beyond a simple story of friendship to a well-crafted tale of community and fellowship, of sweetness, sorrow and hope. And, it’s funny, too. A real gem. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0776-2

Page Count: 182

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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