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GARVEY'S CHOICE

THE GRAPHIC NOVEL

An adaptation that expands the world of a captivating, much-loved character.

Grimes’ acclaimed novel in verse sees new life in comics format.

Garvey, an imaginative young Black boy, loves reading SF and stargazing, but his father would rather he play sports. Feeling unheard, he copes by overeating and is mocked for his weight at school. But through new friendships and a passion for music, Garvey forges a path to self-confidence and finds a way to connect with his father. Grimes’ tanka poems, kept mostly intact with minor edits and some changes to their order, pair nicely with Taylor’s straightforward illustrations, bringing to life Garvey’s story of newfound self-possession. The energetic illustrations playfully depict his rocky journey toward a truer version of himself, providing levity at times but never shortchanging the most poignant moments. The poem “Stars” offers a breezy portrayal of Garvey’s extraterrestrial fantasies: “Stars on my ceiling / Wink at me when the full moon / comes for a visit.” In “Shadow,” the magnitude of his feelings about body image and his emotional eating becomes clear, with Garvey looming above his comparatively tiny family: “Whenever I stand near that’s / how it feels. They’re all so small.” These charming, reflective poems are an ideal match for Taylor’s endearing first graphic novel endeavor.

An adaptation that expands the world of a captivating, much-loved character. (note on tanka) (Graphic fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: June 6, 2023

ISBN: 9781662660023

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Wordsong/Astra Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

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STEALING HOME

An emotional, much-needed historical graphic novel.

Sandy and his family, Japanese Canadians, experience hatred and incarceration during World War II.

Sandy Saito loves baseball, and the Vancouver Asahi ballplayers are his heroes. But when they lose in the 1941 semifinals, Sandy’s dad calls it a bad omen. Sure enough, in December 1941, Japan bombs Pearl Harbor in the U.S. The Canadian government begins to ban Japanese people from certain areas, moving them to “dormitories” and setting a curfew. Sandy wants to spend time with his father, but as a doctor, his dad is busy, often sneaking out past curfew to work. One night Papa is taken to “where he [is] needed most,” and the family is forced into an internment camp. Life at the camp isn’t easy, and even with some of the Asahi players playing ball there, it just isn’t the same. Trying to understand and find joy again, Sandy struggles with his new reality and relationship with his father. Based on the true experiences of Japanese Canadians and the Vancouver Asahi team, this graphic novel is a glimpse of how their lives were affected by WWII. The end is a bit abrupt, but it’s still an inspiring and sweet look at how baseball helped them through hardship. The illustrations are all in a sepia tone, giving it an antique look and conveying the emotions and struggles. None of the illustrations of their experiences are overly graphic, making it a good introduction to this upsetting topic for middle-grade readers.

An emotional, much-needed historical graphic novel. (afterword, further resources) (Graphic historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0334-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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FAKER

Glitzy glimpses of life on the make, lightened by a focus on alternatives rather than consequences.

A con man’s son yearns for a different way of life.

Having helped his single dad fleece wealthy marks since kindergarten, Trey is adept at spotting their rich offspring in each new school he attends and cultivating them until the time comes for a quick getaway. Now that he’s 12, though, the urge to make real friends and put down some roots has become insistent—particularly since he’s drawn to Kaylee, a new classmate in his latest middle school. How can he convince his dad, who’s in the midst of luring local investors into a fantastically lucrative scheme involving a fictive electric car, that it’s time to bag the family profession and settle down? Korman goes more for ironic humor than the physical or stand-up sort in this book, as shown by Trey’s enrollment in an ethics class that forces him into some decidedly hypocritical stances. Much like Trey himself, instant new bestie Logan and his parents turn out to be not at all who they seem. And though there are no bullies or real baddies in the cast on the way to the story’s rosy but implausible resolution, Trey’s malign, high-strung, and wildly reckless huckster of a little sister from hell definitely adds both conflict and suspense to this provocative outing. Main characters read white.

Glitzy glimpses of life on the make, lightened by a focus on alternatives rather than consequences. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: July 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781338826753

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2024

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