The circumstances that gave rise to the Tommy gun are as enthralling as the crimes it was used to commit. Blumenthal packs in an era's worth of sensatThe circumstances that gave rise to the Tommy gun are as enthralling as the crimes it was used to commit. Blumenthal packs in an era's worth of sensational capers without sensationalizing their violent nature. This book will, no doubt, pique the interest of any kids who are under the impression that non fiction is dry....more
Weird details kids will love. Jane's done a lot but the pacing doesn't get bogged down in any area of her life. From how she became "Jane Goodall" toWeird details kids will love. Jane's done a lot but the pacing doesn't get bogged down in any area of her life. From how she became "Jane Goodall" to the implication of her work on into how technology is changing the way we see and study wild animals. Brilliant full color photography from Nat. Geo's archives along with glimpses into Jane's own sketchbooks....more
In Rebecca Stead fashion, Goodbye Stranger weaves together an intricate plot and engrossing story to address an elephant in the classroom: the pressurIn Rebecca Stead fashion, Goodbye Stranger weaves together an intricate plot and engrossing story to address an elephant in the classroom: the pressures and ramifications of provocative text messaging. Every character who holds a stake in ensuring that children leave middle school with a healthy self-image drips with Stead’s sensibility. While elevating such an important issue is a wonderful use of the status inherent in a Newbery medalist, above all, this is truly heartfelt story about remaining loyal to lifelong friends as one’s own autonomy emerges. Young readers already familiar with Rebecca’s ability express the complexities of life through the simplest language will be over the moon at how she’s grown along with them.
I have to rave hard here but first, some context. When a kid finishes Harry Potter and they ask, “What else will I like?” I usually have to preface myI have to rave hard here but first, some context. When a kid finishes Harry Potter and they ask, “What else will I like?” I usually have to preface my suggestions with, “Sorry. Nothing’s ever going to be same.” Before Jonathan Auxier connected The Schwa Was Here to Holes, it was another seminal book that I had no answer for. One of the worst offenders, Smile. A total “dead end” books. It’s surprising that Telgemier’s success hasn’t inspired more middle grade, graphic novel memoirs. Finally, in Victoria Jamieson’s Roller Girl we have an answer to what come next after Smile.
In the summer before middle school, Astrid is navigating the impossible territory of drifting away from a childhood friend. After a cultural outing to a roller derby event, Astrid begs her mother to sign her and Nicole up for roller camp only to find out that her partner in crime would rather spend her summer at dance camp.
While Roller Girl has a lot going for it, the amount of heart that drips from every aspect of this graphic novel is stunning. I wondered how the quirky wold of roller derby would play out in terms of accessibility. We pick up the story, narrated by Astrid, on the way to the night’s mystery cultural outing, the girls giggling in the backseat while mom’s lecture floats in and out of the panel. Astrid then flashes us back to some of her mom’s prior fails. A few question marks over the girls juxtaposed with a exclamation point over the mother speaks volumes about a trip to the modern art museum. The girls stifled laughter and mom’s annoyed expression are a pitch perfect summary of how I would expect the kids to behave at a poetry reading. When the girls find out tonight’s event is roller derby, they initially mock the crowd. Nicole wants to talk about boys, something Astrid has no interest in but when the lights go down, Astrid is sold. Nicole, less so.
Astrid is so enamored by the event, she volunteers herself and Nicole for derby camp, assuming that, of course, her best friend wants to do it with her. When Nicole makes it clear she’d be spending her summer differently, Astrid can’t even process what is happening let alone talk to her mother about it. So she lies, assuring her mother that Nicole’s mom can pick the girls up from camp. To make matters worse, Astrid is dud on skates, perfectly captured by putting on her wrist guards backwards. After barely surviving the first day, she now has to walk home halfway across the city.
While things get better for Astrid, Jamieson’s depiction of what it’s like to be beholden to something you self-identify with, jump into head first, only to discover you’ve bitten off more than you can chew is a universal experience that speaks directly to its audience. And Jamieson immerses her readers in her own experience with unwavering honesty and without a heavy hand. In many stories that take on the complex emotions of childhood, It’s easy for adults to marginalize common experiences by presenting readers with what it’s like from the other side. At worst, these stories are preachy and didactic. At best, they commonly leave out the murkiness of irrational thoughts and behavior in favor of tidy resolutions. Yes, Astrid makes a new friend who shares her interest but Jamieson’s doesn’t settle for tidy. After all, like so many kids, Astrid doesn’t have the context to process this drift from Nicole as a natural. So what do you do when your anger at the situation manifests itself in your best friend and you know they haven’t done anything wrong but you can’t quite verbalize it? Yep. You ride your bike back and forth in front of their house.
Roller Girl utilizes the graphic format in clever service of its complex emotional narrative. It’s every bit as fun and humorous as it is serious and honest. The art and coloring is accessible without sacrificing depth and beauty. But at its core, Jamieson uses a fresh and unique context to tackle a universal experience with an authenticity that will undoubtedly resonate with its audience.
We love following the adventures of kids who discover secret worlds like Wonderland and Narnia but what happens when they re-enter the everyday worldWe love following the adventures of kids who discover secret worlds like Wonderland and Narnia but what happens when they re-enter the everyday world forever changed? Fiona is scared. Her magical world is being threatened by The Riverman who is stealing the souls of her new friends. To complicate things even more, she believes this entity has bled out of Aquavania and is responsible for the disappearance of countless children. Fearing she is next, Fiona seeks out a biographer in Alistair, the kid down the street. Starmer's portrayal of a realistic coming of age story set in the 80s provides a brilliant landscape, allowing the story's fantastical elements to take a backseat so that readers can examine the psyche of a girl whose mentality ages anywhere between a few days and a few months seemingly overnight. It's a story that sets itself apart not only in it's concept- but as Fiona recounts her adventures in Aquavania, her retellings grow increasingly sophisticated, reflecting a maturity beyond her physical years. By the end of the book, you can no longer differentiate the once innocuous stories of a girl and her land of make-believe and the depiction of reality where entities that steal souls are child predators. ...more