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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

This introduction to puberty may be particularly helpful for girls looking ahead to that stage.

THE GIRL'S BODY BOOK

A growing-up guide for preteen girls.

This puberty-navigation guide covers girls’ bodily changes, body care, health, relationships with family and friends, staying safe, and handling stress. In many cases the author, a registered nurse, has covered the same material as she did in various editions of this title as well as The Boy’s Body Book. This girls’ book skips the topics of sleep and performance-enhancement drugs in favor of a section on eating disorders. As in the boys’ book, controversial subjects are addressed generally and conservatively if at all. She includes a rough diagram of female reproductive organs and tells her young readers about menstruation and visiting a gynecologist but not how babies are made. She talks about having boys as friends, saying “Don’t put pressure on yourself to call any of your close friendships ‘dating.’ ” The strength of this title is its emphasis on good grooming, healthy living habits, and positive relationships. Added for this fourth edition is new material on interacting with adults, personal empowerment, body language, reputations, and “learning disabilities,” helpful information for the growing segment of the preteen population identified with cognitive and social learning differences. Tallardy’s cartoon illustrations show girls and adults of varying ethnicities and provide a cheerful accompaniment.

This introduction to puberty may be particularly helpful for girls looking ahead to that stage. (resources, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-60433-714-3

Page Count: 148

Publisher: Cider Mill Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more