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MEG, JO, BETH, AND AMY

A GRAPHIC NOVEL: A MODERN RETELLING OF LITTLE WOMEN

Sticking to the original storyline, this tale offers a contemporary vision of sisterhood that will appeal to a diverse...

In this modern, graphic retelling, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are all offspring of a blended, interracial family that lives in a New York City apartment.

It works surprisingly well, both in Terciero’s colloquial dialogue and Indigo’s clean, well-paced sequential panels (her pencils were inked and colored by a team), and lovers of the classic will enjoy seeing how the reboot corresponds to the source text. Their white mother struggles, working double shifts while their father, who is black, is deployed in the Middle East. Both Meg, who is black, and Jo, who is white, were born to their parents prior to the marriage. Beth and Amy are the biracial younger sisters of the family. Dispersed throughout the story are entries from Jo’s journal and emailed exchanges between the girls and their dad, who affectionately refers to his daughters as “little women.” Wealthy Laurie and his grandfather are their Latinx neighbors. Meg and Jo take on the responsibility of the household, caring for their younger sisters. Meg works as a nanny, while Jo works as a personal assistant for her aunt. The March sisters squabble over chores, tease one another, and tackle school, where Amy silently endures racist bullying by white girls who tease her about her nose size and hair texture, even calling her “Africa” and hitting her. While the elder sisters navigate boys, fragile Beth is diagnosed with leukemia, spawning the best scene, in which the sisters all shave their heads when Beth loses her hair during chemo. It is regrettable that the racism Amy endures is resolved far too easily and is sidelined by other events in the book.

Sticking to the original storyline, this tale offers a contemporary vision of sisterhood that will appeal to a diverse audience. (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-52286-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2019

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NOWHERE BOY

A captivating book situated in present-day discourse around the refugee crisis, featuring two boys who stand by their high...

Two parallel stories, one of a Syrian boy from Aleppo fleeing war, and another of a white American boy, son of a NATO contractor, dealing with the challenges of growing up, intersect at a house in Brussels.

Ahmed lost his father while crossing the Mediterranean. Alone and broke in Europe, he takes things into his own hands to get to safety but ends up having to hide in the basement of a residential house. After months of hiding, he is discovered by Max, a boy of similar age and parallel high integrity and courage, who is experiencing his own set of troubles learning a new language, moving to a new country, and being teased at school. In an unexpected turn of events, the two boys and their new friends Farah, a Muslim Belgian girl, and Oscar, a white Belgian boy, successfully scheme for Ahmed to go to school while he remains in hiding the rest of the time. What is at stake for Ahmed is immense, and so is the risk to everyone involved. Marsh invites art and history to motivate her protagonists, drawing parallels to gentiles who protected Jews fleeing Nazi terror and citing present-day political news. This well-crafted and suspenseful novel touches on the topics of refugees and immigrant integration, terrorism, Islam, Islamophobia, and the Syrian war with sensitivity and grace.

A captivating book situated in present-day discourse around the refugee crisis, featuring two boys who stand by their high values in the face of grave risk and succeed in drawing goodwill from others. (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-30757-6

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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DRAMA

Brava!

From award winner Telgemeier (Smile, 2010), a pitch-perfect graphic novel portrayal of a middle school musical, adroitly capturing the drama both on and offstage.

Seventh-grader Callie Marin is over-the-moon to be on stage crew again this year for Eucalyptus Middle School’s production of Moon over Mississippi. Callie's just getting over popular baseball jock and eighth-grader Greg, who crushed her when he left Callie to return to his girlfriend, Bonnie, the stuck-up star of the play. Callie's healing heart is quickly captured by Justin and Jesse Mendocino, the two very cute twins who are working on the play with her. Equally determined to make the best sets possible with a shoestring budget and to get one of the Mendocino boys to notice her, the immensely likable Callie will find this to be an extremely drama-filled experience indeed. The palpably engaging and whip-smart characterization ensures that the charisma and camaraderie run high among those working on the production. When Greg snubs Callie in the halls and misses her reference to Guys and Dolls, one of her friends assuredly tells her, "Don't worry, Cal. We’re the cool kids….He's the dork." With the clear, stylish art, the strongly appealing characters and just the right pinch of drama, this book will undoubtedly make readers stand up and cheer.

Brava!  (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-32698-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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