In her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott says, “For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”


My hope is that this is what books become to you—as important as almost anything else on earth. This blog is about helping you find the miracle in these small, flat, rigid squares of paper while you are in middle school and beyond. Once you read alongside me, you are forever a member of my tribe of readers. No matter how you old you are, when you need to be reminded of the power of a good story, you will find me here, waiting to place one in your hands.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

SMILE by Raina Telgemeier


copyright date: February 2010
primarily marketed for: intermediate and middle school readers (5th-8th)

A Mrs. Rush-Levine confession:  I had to wear headgear when I was in middle school (thankfully, not to school, but I did have to wear it overnight). 

I am wondering if the fact that I feel like this is a book about my own youth might not be the reason I am madly in love with RainaTelgemeier’s graphic text Smile.  Somehow, Smile made me see the humor in my own humiliating past. 

Smile is an autobiographical story of the author as a young girl.  It is drawn in full-color comic strip style illustrations and tells the story of Raina’s dental woes, beginning when she knocks out a tooth in a nasty spill.  The initial damage causes a large gap in the front of her mouth and leads to multiple dental procedures. 

The rest of the book continues to follow the story of perfecting her now imperfect smile at the same time as it tells the story of Raina growing up, fitting in, making friends, and liking boys. 

Although I am sure all of you haven’t had to wear headgear (ugh!) or even braces (ow!), I am sure you will find Raina’s take on her experiences somehow connects with something you’ve been through as a teen or pre-teen. 

I am already looking forward to Raina’s next graphic text, Drama, which is being released September 1st!

Reading Threads:
Chiggers by Hope Larson
Shug by Jenny Han
The Secret Language ofGirls by Frances O’Roark Dowell

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