This holiday weekend I gave myself the task of catching upn on some of the new Graphic Novels that we got into the library. I snagged 3 on my way out the door and I wasn't disappointed! All three were great in their own right and I can't wait to put them back on the shelves on Monday for students to take out.
Frizzy by Claribel Ortega with art by Rose Bousamra
Release Date: October 18, 2022
Why I Love This Book: Right off the bat this book pulled me in because I know it's a subject that my students will connect to. Hair is such a personal thing and it's something that can make or break your day. When you're liking how your hair is looking, you feel confident, when it's not cooperating a day can go downhill fast. My middle schoolers feel this every single day. Ortega and illustrator Bousamra perfectly capture what it feels like to not feel comfortable in your own skin and hair. They pull together a story that is contemporary and still touches on all the ways that hair, especially African American hair, has been policed through dress codes and through prevailing standards that aim to make some people feel less then. Our main character Marlene is going through it in Frizzy, but she has people who love her and help her and her family contend with a lifetime of feelings as Marlene finds her way to the hairstyle that makes her feel her most confident.
This is an excellent book that belongs on every library shelf.
All Summer Long by Hope Larson
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Why I love this book: This book is one that's been on my TBR for an embarrassingly long time, I'm not sure why I haven't picked it up until now, but once I did I couldn't put it down! Centering on Bina, a middle schooler who is facing her first summer without her best friend (who is away at camp), we get to follow her as she tries to figure out how to keep herself occupied, but also figure who she is independent of her friends, and who she wants to be as she heads into 8th grade. Told snapshot style we see Bina as she plays the guitar, binge watches TV, tries out new hobbies and jobs, makes new friends, and starts to find herself. What I really loved about this one is that it really captured those feelings of being a little lost, a little confused, and still taking those tiny leaps of faith. Scary for a middle schooler (and anyone really), but ultimately so rewarding.
By the end you just know that everything for Bina will turn out just fine, and I can't wait to snag the rest of the series to see what Bina gets up to next.
Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas
Release Date: May 17, 2022
Why I love this book: In short- Swim Team is the perfect balance of a contemporary tale and the history that we need to learn. Bree is at the center of our story, fresh off a move to Florida and stuck in the only elective available, Bree is faced with something that scares her... swimming. She can't swim, never learned, and somehow she has to be the new girl and the odd man out. She just has to make it through this one semester and then she can slide back into her comfort zone of math club. Except... she finds that she's making new friends with the swimmers and she wants to learn. Supported by her new neighbor and her new friends, Bree discovers that she can do hard things and finds her place at her new school.
Woven throughout the story are pieces of history that we don't always teach in school. We learn about why Bree never learned to swim when she lived in Brooklyn, not just because she never had the opportunity, but all the ways that segregation can carry down through generations and have an impact on communities through time.
Bree finds her stroke, and finds her place in this absolutely wonderful graphic novel.
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