Review of Sylvie, by Sylvie Kantorovitz


by Sylvie Kantorovitz

Walker Books, 2021. 346 pages.
Review written May 19, 2022, from a library book
Starred Review

I love graphic novel memoirs for kids – and so do kids. Graphic novelists, using pictures as well as words, are better than anyone at expressing what it was like to be a kid.

In Sylvie the author tells about what it was like growing up in a Jewish family in France. Her family moved from Morocco when she was small. Sylvie always wanted to be an artist, but her mother pushed her to study science and math and other more impressive fields.

Sylvie’s father was the principal of a “Boys’ Normal School,” a college where students earned teaching degrees, and her family had an apartment at the end of a row of classrooms. So Sylvie grew up in a school. She had three younger siblings, and when the third came along, she got to move into an attic room in the school, with more privacy and room to do art.

The stories of growing up feel universal. She touches on things like family conflict, feeling like an outsider, friendships starting and ending, and making decisions about what she wants to do. And she’s in France! It’s all told with humor, and her creative drawings bring it to life.

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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