Smile, Sisters, Ghosts, and Drama
By: Raina Telgemier
Occasionally I get asked my opinions on books I haven’t read. This author came up recently, so I did my research.
Here’s what discerning parents need to know:
These are very well done and popular graphic novels. If your elementary or middle schoolers haven’t read them, they’ve probably seen or heard of them. Drama has controversial content that parents need to be aware of. Read on.
Side note…Age appropriate graphic novels are an excellent way to get your young readers to read. One Man Book Club approved.
As long as they’re age appropriate.
Message delivered? Just because it looks like a comic book doesn’t mean it’s kid friendly, so parents, please be involved in what your kiddo’s are reading.
Side note over.
Smile and Sisters are favorites of my 2nd grader. They are cute, short, easy to read, and all about middle-school-aged kids going through middle-school-aged problems. Braces, crushes, school, siblings, friends, not friends. Highly recommend.
Ghosts is a bit heavier, and my 2nd grader doesn’t want to read it because it’s about–well, ghosts. Not her favorite subject. I think when my 2nd grader is a 4th grader, it will have more appeal. This one tackles subjects like other cultures, death, childhood disease–specifically Cystic Fibrosis, fear, moving, and siblings. I don’t have experience with childhood Cystic Fibrosis, but the reviews for this one concur that the representation is accurate. Recommend.
Drama comes with baggage. Drama–appropriately named. The middle-school-aged kids in this book are working together to put on a middle school theater production worthy of Broadway. But budgets, friendships, egos, hurt feelings, and crushes keep getting in the way. Parents should know the main character in this book has a crush on a boy who discovers he’s gay. It’s not the main story line, but it is a significant story line and includes scenes of a boy wearing a dress and being applauded for coming out. It’s a great opportunity to kick-off a discussion with your kids about a controversial topic. I recommend this to kids whose parents are aware of it’s content, are ready to read it along with them, and discuss the topics it brings up.
I have a problem with children’s book authors who sneak in controversial topics without telling parents about it. I get to decide what my kids are exposed to and when. 2nd grade is too young for my child to read about being gay and coming out without me helping them navigate the topic.
Now you know. It’s what I do.