Honest and encouraging, this will get young storytellers started—and perhaps leave them wishing for more.

READ REVIEW

SHARE YOUR SMILE

RAINA'S GUIDE TO TELLING YOUR OWN STORY

A guide on how to distill the extraordinary from your own life and find a story to tell.

The unabashed Telgemeier (Smile, 2010, etc.) once more shares her personal experiences on storytelling in a how-to book on finding your own story. Explaining that for her, “the process of creating Smile was therapeutic,” Telgemeier coaxes readers to think about their own experiences by posing questions that will encourage closer looks into themselves, their environments, their families, their personal travel and school stories, their sources of inspiration, and even those supernatural elements that fascinate them. Although the book focuses heavily on creating stories from personal experience, the skills developed are meant to naturally translate into other types of storytelling. By beginning in the known world, Telgemeier gives readers a solid foundation from which to launch their artistic exploration. The book focuses mostly on the brainstorming process, offering lists of questions with space for answers, but it also provides other spaces to write full stories and to storyboard ideas. Readers also get useful tips, such as starting with loose shapes when drawing faces, with step-by-step instructions on how to illustrate faces and facial expressions. It’s very much a place to start rather than a full-on manual, and it does not offer a bibliography for kids who want to pursue graphic storytelling further.

Honest and encouraging, this will get young storytellers started—and perhaps leave them wishing for more. (Nonfiction novelty. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35384-6

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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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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