Jeanne Ann is smart, stubborn, living in an orange van, and determined to find a permanent address before the start of seventh grade.
Cal is tall, sensitive, living in a humongous house across the street, and determined to save her.
Jeanne Ann is roughly as enthusiastic about his help as she is about living in a van.
As the two form a tentative friendship that grows deeper over alternating chapters, they’re buoyed by a cast of complex, oddball characters, who let them down, lift them up, and leave you cheering. Debut novelist Danielle Svetcov shines a light on a big problem without a ready answer, nailing heartbreak and hope, and pulling it off with a humor and warmth that make the funny parts of Jeanne Ann and Cal’s story cathartic and the difficult parts all the more moving. —Goodreads
I can’t tell you how much I love this book…like, when I say it’s one of my favourite reads, it is definitely in my top 5. I loved everything about it: the characters, the plot, the way it made me laugh and cry. This is a book I want to share with everyone I know, young and old. There’s a charm to it that just captures your attention, and makes you want to sit with it for hours. I can’t wait to read it again.
Cal, Jeanne Ann, Sandy, Bad Chuck (Nathan), they’re all such a fun cast of characters. This is one of those middle grade novels that can really get people thinking, especially about the importance of community and how libraries can be such a safe haven. I highly recommend checking out Parked, and I cannot wait to see what’s next from this author.
Sequel to Shannon Hale’s award-winning graphic novel memoir, “Real Friends”, this new graphic memoir picks up where “Real Friends” left off. As Shannon grows a little older, the rules of friendship always seem to be changing, leaving her guessing and trying her best to just keep up. “Best Friends” shares its predecessor’s frankness, compassion, and enthralling, heartfelt visual storytelling. Junior high, as it turns out, is quite the roller coaster.
Best Friends is a wonderful reflection on early girlhood, and that awkward transition into maturity. How much of what others say about our hobbies, our bodies, our personalities at such a young age lingers with us as we grow? And how these conflicting messages can be harmful and stressful…and impact our friendships and relationships as well. I love the vulnerability of these books, and am excited to read the next one. The series also brings so much awareness to children’s mental health, and offers resources as well, which I feel is incredibly important. I loved that Shannon also had her actually novel that she’d written as a child in the book. I thought that was fantastic. I would’ve loved to read something like that growing up!
Jen is just getting used to her life on Peapod Farm with her brand-new step-sisters, Andy and Reese. But when the school year starts, there are even more changes in store for her. Jen has to navigate new friends and new challenges–but at least she’ll have Andy with her, right? As school begins, she finds that her step-sister seems way more interested in crushes and boys than hanging out with her, while Jen wants to know when the world decided boys and girls couldn’t be just friends anymore.
New York Times bestselling author Lucy Knisley revisits her own childhood, continuing Jen’s story in a standout sequel to Stepping Stones that captures everything awesome (and scary) about growing up. —Goodreads
I enjoyed this sequel so much. It was such a fun read, and is definitely a series I would’ve adored when I was younger. My favourite part of this book was when they all were working on the haunted hayride. It’s something I wanted to do as a teenager but never did. I honestly wish I read this in the fall because of the whole back to school/Halloween atmosphere.
Definitely a great back to school book to welcome in the new year.
Stepping Stones to me is a perfect summer read, so if you’re looking for a good middle-grade read for the summer and a follow up in that series for when school starts Lucy Knisley’s got just the series for you!
Tucked away in a government facility nicknamed the Playroom, six not-quite-human kids learn to control their strange and unpredictable abilities. Life is good–or safe, at least–hidden from the prying eyes of a judgmental world.
That is, until a security breach forces them out of their home and into the path of the Collector, a mysterious being with leech-like powers.
Can the group band together to thwart the Collector’s devious plan, or will they wind up the newest addition to his collection?
Wow! Okay, I just want to start off by saying how perfect this graphic novel was. I loved the illustrations, I loved the writing, I loved the characters. There isn’t one thing about it I didn’t love.
I would totally recommend this to an older tween-teen probably kids around like 11 (grade 6) and up, since there is a bit of mild language, and violence that I would compare to something like Pirates of the Caribbean. The violence is hinted at in certain situations, versus shown, so it is definitely a kid friendly book, but for example…and I’m trying not to spoil it because this book was amazing and super fun…it’s like the car crash at the start of the book. They don’t make it where it’s super graphic or violent. You’re worried about the characters, and people are hurt, but it’s like rated 10 and up kind of PG violent. I hope that was a clear explanation?
Maggie was so cute! Oh my goodness. I loved Maggie so much! I would give Maggie a million stuffies if I could, after all these kids went through.
Omar and Sylvie showed their affection for the younger kids so well. This is probably one of my favourite found family books that I’ve read in a long time.
Omar tried to be calm and collected, always trying to do what he felt was best, and was very patient and understanding with the little kids, despite him being a kid himself. I won’t spoil it, but I believe based off of his backstory, he was equipped to handle Maggie’s outbursts, and took the time to listen to Newt and Jaali.
Everyones backstories made me cry except Maggie’s. Her’s was epic, and colourful and I loved her imagination.
Now Sylvie on the other hand was a lot harder on the other kids. Sometimes brushing them off with sarcasm, but it becomes very clear that she adores them. They’re her family, and she just wants them to be safe and happy. Again, like Omar, the way to treats the others and interacts with people is based on her early years and upbringing. His although resulting in him ending up at the playroom was mainly positive, whereas hers was very negative from day one. She didn’t have any real exposure to love until meeting the other kids in the playroom.
Newt was so cute! I loved them so much. Sweet little Reptilian Cinnamon Roll Techy. I loved their friendship with Jaali. They bickered at times, but it was because they cared about each other. I liked how although Newt, being a Reptilian was raised to ignore things like affection or compassion, this kid has the biggest heart. Newt is so kind, and caring, and their love for homework made me laugh so much. What a precious little bean.
Jaali’s backstory made me cry. Like…I loved this kid. He was literally a big teddy bear. And again, I loved the way Jaali acted like a best friend and older brother to Newt, who clearly needed someone who just loved them for who they were. Jaali was incredible with Clarice as well, and was really only hard on the other kids when he had to be. He’d been through a lot, so it only made sense that he would be striving to get back to that positive, and loving environment he grew up with.
Clarice! Okay, so I absolutely loved that Clarice was a selki. Like yes! Clarice’s facial expressions and body language were used to effectively throughout the story. I love how over time she warms up to the other kids, being the newest one to join the playroom. Sylvie initially is pretty tough on her, but eventually is doing everything she can to protect Clarice and keep her safe. Newt and Jaali were also incredibly sweet to Clarice throughout, always encouraging her and looking out for her when she got hurt, and you could tell that she grew to adore being a part of their family.
Ooh, and there was a Romeo and Juliet reference. I loved that so much. It also gave insight into the other groups and families within the story, and heightened the importance of community.
This book was so good. Seriously. Like, I will be recommending it to everyone. It’s my new favourite. I almost wish it was a series because I just want to read it over and over again. I feel like this is my new Scott Pilgrim or Ao Haru Ride. Like there’s a charm to it, where you just never want the story to end. You want to know more about the characters, and see where life takes them…but I also wouldn’t change a thing about how Another Kind ended.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
I gave this book a full five stars. I’m so glad I decided to pick it up. I saw it on the shelf, went “Ooh this is a cool cover,” started flipping through the first few pages and went. “Oh my gosh…this is really good!”
Anne of Green Gables with a twist: in this follow-up to Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy and The Secret Garden on 81st Street, this full-color graphic novel moves Anne Shirley to modern-day West Philadelphia, where where she finds new friends, new rivals, and a new family.
When Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert decide to foster a teenage girl for the first time, their lives are changed forever. Their redheaded foster daughter, Anne Shirley, is in search of an exciting life and has decided that West Philly is where she’s going to find it. Armed with a big personality and unstoppable creativity, Anne takes her new home by storm as she joins the robotics club, makes new friends in Diana and Gilbert, experiences first love, and turns the ordinary into the extraordinary. But as Anne starts to get comfortable, she discovers one thing she wasn’t looking for: a family.
I thought this was a really cute modern take of the classic Anne of Green Gables. I loved the artwork, and thought Matthew and Marilla were captured really well. I also liked some of the changes that were made to help put this story into a more modern setting, like the addition of STEM. For me I felt that certain points of the story were a bit rushed, which didn’t really allow for Anne to feel like Anne…if that makes sense? It was those moment’s where she’s being incredibly full of energy, and imagination that I love about the original story. I felt some of this was lacking at times, and was pushed off to the side potentially in favour or being more STEM focused? I’m also Canadian so having the setting change from PEI made my brain spin a little, but it was the difference in setting that drew me to the graphic novel. The White Way of Delight scene made me giggle, and I was intrigued by how the authors went about the puff sleeve dress bit to modernize it. That was really neat, and I thought that Marilla’s reaction during that scene was really sweet. Honestly, Marilla was my favourite character. Usually in adaptations it’s Matthew or Anne, but for this one Marilla stole the show.
Amaya, princess of House Amethyst in Gemworld, is something of a troublemaker. She and her brother have great fun together until a magical prank goes much too far and her parents ground her…to Earth! They hope a whole week in the mundane world will teach her that magic is a privilege…and maybe washing dishes by hand will help her realize the palace servants should be respected.
Three years later, Amy has settled into middle school and ordinary life. She doesn’t remember any other home. So when a prince of the realm brings her home and restores her magical destiny, how will she cope? – Goodreads
This book was so much fun! I loved the character development, and fell in love with the story from the first panel. It was exciting, funny, and charming. All of the characters were likeable, and the friendships and dynamics between each of them was incredibly sweet.
The artwork by Asiah Fulmore is stunning, detailed and absolutely gorgeous. It immediately captured my attention, and I loved how much motion there was. The colour scheme was also beautiful, I liked the mixture of pastels, and bright warm tones in contrast to the colours on earth.
I think one of my favourite parts was whenever people from the Gem world would talk about what they believed Earth to be like. It was hilarious, and cute.
I’ve always liked the superhero/magical girl stories, and was thrilled to read this. I finished it in one sitting, and was entertained the entire time. Immediately after, I was recommending it to everyone. This book is fantastic! I can’t wait to see what Shannon Hale puts out next!
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Five stars! This graphic novel was absolutely fantastic. I adored the story, and the artwork. Both complimented each other so well! I highly recommend this book. It’s definitely worth adding to your TBR for comic book fans young and old!
To his friends at Greycliff Academy, Kirby seems to have it all: charm, brains, and a lucky streak that won’t quit. He’s also the notorious hero creating the snarky videos “7 Good Reasons Not to Grow Up,” which expose just how dumb adults can be. Why would any kid want to become one of them? But there’s also a mystery about Kirby. And when his best friend, Raja, finds out his secret, Kirby, Raja, and their friends have to grow up fast and face the world head-on. – Goodreads
I definitely enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to older Middle Grade readers (around 12) to early teens. It was funny, and filled with charming illustrations. I also thought the characters were hilarious. I found some parts of the story had a few plot holes, but I thought perhaps this was because there was a sequel? If this graphic novel does have a sequel I kind of wish the big reveal came then, versus in book one. Overall it was entertaining, and Kirby and the rest of the cast were really great. I’m hoping they will have more adventures. One thing that I will note is that some of the language used in the book, might not fly with some folks, which is why I think it’d be more suitable for the older half of the 9-12 age group. For example, I wouldn’t let my niece read this right now, and she’s in grade 5. I don’t think the words were anything too major…sadly I can’t recall the ones that stood out to me, but still it did catch me off guard, since I haven’t come across “swear words” in a middle grade book for a very long time. I believe one of the words was turd, which isn’t a big deal, but there was another that I know wouldn’t fly with some parents/teachers, and I wanted to note that here just in case. Based on the themes of the book, I think this would be a great for anyone in the 8th grade. I laughed a lot at the jokes, and had my heart strings tugged a bit here and there as well.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
I’m giving this book 4 stars because although I liked it, I feel like there was so much room for character development. I liked all of the characters, and the dynamic between them but at times they felt a little flat and certain plot points were glossed over. I still really liked the story though, and I think it has definite TV/book series potential! If there is a sequel in the works I’ll definitely check it out!
Thank you Scholastic for providing this free copy in exchange for a review.
This was my first time reading a book by Amy Kibuishi, and it won’t be the last! This first book in the series was so much fun, and captured my attention automatically. I was finished reading it in one sitting!
Tabby Simon is determined to learn what happened to her father, who was found dead after researching a tree that leaks a mysterious mist in her neighborhood. She is unexpectedly led to Rema, a distant world of magic and beauty that is periodically invaded by a nearby planet desperate for resources. While Tabby searches for the truth surrounding her father’s death, she meets a handsome blue-haired boy named Philip. He has his own dangerous secrets, but he has promised to help Tabby get home. As Tabby learns more about this strange world, she discovers that she is destined for something far greater than she ever could have imagined. — goodreads
overall thoughts and rating
This graphic novel reminded me of some of my favourite series from when I was a kid. I knew instantly that I would like it after meeting Tabby and Philip in the first few pages, and being thrown into this fantastic adventure!
There was so much thought and care put into the illustrations, along with great world building throughout. The cast of characters were fun, and I have to say Philip’s god-father is one of my favourites so far (I won’t spoil the reason why, but he’s fantastic). I also loved that there were sweet moments between Tabby and Philip throughout this volume, it gave me Howls Moving Castle vibes.
I’ll definitely be purchasing the final copy in 2022, and I highly recommend this series for young fans of fantasy, action-adventure and superheroes. I’m already excited for the next book in the series!
I bought this manga for my niece (she’s 9), because I wanted to find an age appropriate manga for her to read and she is a HUGE Disney fan.
Cruella: Black, White, and Red by Hachi Ishie has lovely illustrations, which gave off a mix of the 80s and 90s manga styles. I liked the way the panels were laid out, and how the characters were introduced. I also loved the artwork for each chapter.
I’d like to start off by saying the manga is not an adaptation of the film.
The manga has 3 chapters in total, each covering a part of Cruella’s life, mainly focusing on her between ages 18-21. I actually liked that the book didn’t age her down because it was directed at a middle grade audience.
Horace and Jasper were well developed throughout, but I thought the one character in the leather jacket, who is mentioned by Jasper in a later chapter would be more prominent than they were. It seemed as though this character was being built up to be a major player and then he kind of just disappeared, and then Emilia was introduced. This leads me to the pacing, which in the first chapter I felt was fairly well done, however because the book is set at different points during Estella/Cruella’s years before she becomes a designer, I felt like too much was being crammed into these short scenes.
It almost felt like a manga short story collection instead. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a one off, or a short series, but regardless I enjoyed reading it and I know my niece will love it. I just felt like it needed a little more story wise, so I gave it a rating of 4 stars on Goodreads. I also took into consideration that this is meant for young readers, so it’s possible some of what I felt was lacking is because this is a reimagining of a reimagined character…and I had expected it to cover pieces of the movie.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Overall I thought the book was fun, and I would definitely recommend it to young Disney fans who are also looking into reading manga.
One other thing I will note is that this book reads the same as Western graphic novels, versus a Japanese manga, like the Maximum Ride series and most Western made manga.