Archive for the ‘Graphic Memoir’ Category

Review of Drawing From Memory, by Allen Say

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Drawing From Memory

by Allen Say

Scholastic Press, 2011. 64 pages.
Starred Review
2011 Sonderbooks Standout: #4 Children’s Nonfiction

Drawing From Memory is not quite a graphic novel (make that graphic biography). There are some speech bubbles, but the majority of pictures don’t have them. This is a remembrance with lots and lots of pictures. The pictures vary from drawings to photos to comics to realistic paintings.

Allen Say moved into his own apartment (from his grandmother’s house) when he was not-quite thirteen years old. Shortly after moving to the apartment, he read a story about a boy three years older, who was apprenticed to Noro Shinpei, one of the most famous cartoonists in Japan. Allen decided to find him and ask to be an apprentice as well.

The book tells the story of Allen’s years with his Sensei, learning and growing, and eventually getting the chance to go to America. He talks about the process of learning to draw, those who learned with him, and especially the close relationship with his teacher. Best of all is the wide variety of illustrations that accompany the story and make it alive.

This is one of those wonderful books in large format that may get hidden in the Biography section of the library. This isn’t the sort of story you’d want for a report, but it’s very much an inspiring story of someone’s life and about finding and following your calling. This is a delightful book.

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Nonfiction/drawing_from_memory.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on an Advance Review Copy I got at 2011 ALA Annual Conference.

Review of Smile, by Raina Telgemeier

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Smile

by Raina Telgemeier

Graphix (Scholastic), New York, 2010. 214 pages.

Smile is a graphic memoir — graphic meaning the comic-book format, with no reflection at all on the content.

In this book, the author tells the true story of the awful saga with her teeth when she was in middle school. Just when she was ready to get braces, she had an accident and knocked out one front tooth and jammed the other into her jaw. The dentists and orthodontists made heroic attempts to fix and straighten those teeth, and this book tells vividly, with a nice sense of humor, the long involved process.

Of course, just telling about teeth wouldn’t be interesting. But Raina Telgemeier puts in the story of finding her place in middle school and finding out who her true friends were. In middle school, no kid wants to stand out, but Raina’s smile alone made her look different.

This book will draw kids to pick it up and read it to the end. The vivid pictures draw you in, and you’ll find a certain fascination with all she had to go through. Ultimately, she learns to face life with a smile!

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Nonfiction/smile.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.