Tag Archives: Telgemeier (author)

Ghosts Review

ghosts_telgemeierGhosts by Raina Telgemeier, colors by Braden Lamb

Graphix, 2016. 978-0545540612

Synopsis: Sisters Catarina and Maya are leaving their Southern California home and relocating to the Northern California coast in hopes that the sea air will help with Maya’s cystic fibrosis. As Cat reluctantly explores Bahìa de la Luna with her sister, the girls become aware that the town is full of ghosts. Maya wants to meet them, Cat does not; but as the day for honoring the dead, Dia de los Muertos, approaches, Cat must learn to embrace the town’s culture and help her sister make the most of her own life while she has it.

Why I picked it up: Raina Telgemeier is another one of those authors that I will read anything she writes forever.

Why I finished it: Telgemeier has a unique ability to take sensitive subjects and situations and create stories about how we can muster the courage to take the next step forward and recover from our own shortcomings. Ghosts deals with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that can cause a buildup of mucus in the lungs which can lead to other serious respiratory problems. Telgemeier takes us inside the lives of these two fictional sisters to explore the very real issues that individuals and families with loved ones batting cystic fibrosis must be aware of on a constant basis. It’s a struggle for Cat to have to share her life with her sister, but she has also taken on the role of protector which perhaps prevents her from having to deal with her own fears. The festival of Dìa de lost Muertos that the town participates in each year (and is celebrated worldwide, usually around the same time as Halloween) helps Cat begin to put some perspective about how we celebrate life and how to live her life to the fullest. She knows Maya’s cystic fibrosis will only get worse as she gets older, and at one point Maya asks her parents why she shouldn’t make the most of the time she has now while things aren’t too bad. Death is a weighty subject to be sure, but Telgemeier seems to arrange the notion in a context that is perhaps not so scary and foreboding to the reader. Thanks to the softness of her art style and the wonderful colors by Lamb, the story still has a lighthearted, wholesome feel to it – like having a conversation with a close friend. Ghosts is a story about how we connect with our family both in life and in death, and how they can give us the courage to keep going when the odds are against us.

Other related materials: Smile by Raina Telgemeier; Sisters by Raina Telgemeier; Drama by Raina Telgemeier; Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm; House Arrest by K.A. Holt; Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper; Paperboy by Vince Vawter; El Deafo by Cece Bell; Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine; Rules by Cynthia Lord; Wonder by R.J. Palacio; So B. It by Sarah Weeks; Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr; Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio by Peg Kehret; Day of the Dead by Tony Johnston and Jeanette Winter; Dìa De Los Muertos by Ann Heinrichs and Mernie Gallagher-Cole


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Sisters Review

Sisters-Raina-Telgemeier1Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

GRAPHIX, 2014. 978-0545540599

Synopsis: Raina is looking forward to the family reunion in Colorado, but she’s not looking forward to spending three weeks in the car with her younger sister Amara. Sure, when she was younger she really wanted a sister, but the older the girls get, the harder it is to get along. Will the girls survive the road trip and put aside their differences or are they doomed to fight forever?

Why I picked it up: I loved both Smile and Drama, so I was eager to pick this up.

Why I finished it: Growing up with a younger sibling, I can totally empathize with Raina and the numerous disagreements she has with her sister and brother. Those readers with younger siblings will definitely identify with the Telgemeiers as well, and those of us that have survived family road trips know how difficult it is to spend so much time so close together. Telegemeier interweaves narratives from both the past and the present, juxtaposing the years, months, and days leading up to the road trip with the road trip itself. The reader gets to see a little bit of Telgemeier’s life growing up, and she invites the reader into a family album of sorts. We’re seeing a slice of the lives of other families and it makes us feel more normal somehow, knowing that we’re not the only family where the kids don’t get along or always feel like they fit in. There is a poignant moment in which Raina’s mother points out that both girls are artists, and that this is something that they will always share. It brings home the notion that there is always something special that can be shared between siblings, something they can remember even when they get older; there will always be a connection. I love Telgemeier’s art because it has a nice balance between fun and serious, and Braden Lamb’s color work really brings to life the landscapes both outside and inside the car. It has a distinctively cartoon feel, but remains realistic and relatable like Calvin and Hobbes and For Better or For Worse. It’s a quick read and a sweet story about the dynamic between siblings and how at the end of the day, they will always be the ones to have your back.

Other related materials: Smile by Raina Telgemeier; Drama by Raina Telgemeier; The Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels by Ann M. Martin, illustrated by Raina Telgemeier; Dork Diaries books by Rachel Renée Russell; Diary of a Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney; Babymouse books by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm; A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd; Diary of a Sixth Grade Ninja by Marcus Emerson; Big Nate books by Lincoln Peirce; Amulet books by Kazu Kibuishi; Zita the Spacegirl books by Ben Hatke; Diary of a Minecraft Creeper by Alex Brian; The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling, illustrated by Margot Apple; Matilda by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake

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Drama review

drama_coverDrama by Raina Telgemeier with color by Gurihiru

Graphix, 2012. 978-0545326995

Synopsis: Callie loves theater, but he knows she’s not good enough to try out for her school production of Moon Over Mississippi. So instead she joins the stage crew with the goal of making this the best drama production ever, even though she doesn’t know a lot about carpentry, the cast and crew don’t get along, and ticket sales are down. Drama on and off the set is complicating things more and more – will the show go on or will the curtain fall before the show even starts?

Why I picked it up: I loved Smile and I was so excited to hear that Telgemeier had written another book.

Why I finished it: This book is so perfect in its portrayal of junior high relationships and the ups and downs of crushes. Callie is an exuberant and likable main character, and I totally felt for her throughout the book, cause I am pretty sure most junior high girls have had their heart broken before things had a chance to happen. I like that the chapters of the book were divided into Acts just like a stage play and Telgemeier even cleverly inserted an intermission halfway through. I am also a huge fan of the art, which helps to reflect the middle school feel of the book. The style lends itself well to the audience and gives the story a realistic feel. I enjoyed that the colors are so bright and fun, and that some of the characters have non-conventional hair colors. The plot moves along nicely and I wasn’t ever bored nor did I want to skip over anything. Shamefully, I read through it rather quickly, but it was so engaging that I didn’t want to put it down. I can’t wait to see what Telgemeier does for her next book!

Other related materials: Smile by Raina Telgemeier; The Babysitter’s Club by Ann M. Martin, illustrated by Raina Telgemeier; The Dork Diaries books by Rachel Renee Russo; Amulet books by Kazu Kibuishi; Diary of a Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney; A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Madeline L’Engle, illustrated by Hope Larson; The Popularity Papers books by Amy Ignatow; How to Rock Braces and Glasses by Meg Haston; How to Rock Break-ups ad Make-ups by Meg Haston; Eighth Grade is Making Me Sick: Ginny Davis’s Year in Stuff by Jennifer L. Holm; Sidekicks by Dan Santat; Dear Dumb Diary books by Jim Benton

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Smile review

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Graphix, 2010. 978-0545132060

Synopsis: Raina is just a normal sixth grader until she falls and severely injures her two front teeth after a Girl Scout meeting. Now, not only does she have to get braces, but she has to wear fake teeth and carry around dental floss, wax, and a whole lot of other stuff that is just embarrassing! Will Raina be able to smile again or is she doomed to live forever without her two front teeth?

Why I picked it up: I wore braces in junior high and had to carry around a whole arsenal of dental supplies just like Raina.

Why I finished it: Though Raina’s story takes place in the late 80s/early 90s, there is something timeless about the struggles she goes through: dental drama, secret and not so secret crushes, friends drama, and everything that made junior high, well, junior high. Some of the references might go over the heads of the current generation (it makes me feel old when I realize that I know who the New Kids on the Block are…though I was an N’Sync girl myself), the dilemmas are still the same. I loved Telgemeier’s art, since it really brought the story to life without being over-the-top cutsey. As aCalifornia girl, I loved the way she drewSan Francisco, which makes it apparent that although she has bad memories of a certain freeway off-ramp, she does love the city. I’d highly recommend this book for junior high girls, those of us that were junior high girls, and those of us that genuinely feel we survived junior high in one piece.

Other related materials: The Babysitter’s Club by Ann M. Martin, illustrated by Raina Telgemeier; The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger; Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LeFleur; Trash by Andy Mulligan; Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes; Countdown by Deborah Wiles; Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin; One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia; Amulet books by Kazu Kibuishi; The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow; Wonder by R.J. Palacio; Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol; Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke; The Dork Diaries books by Rachel Renee Russo

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