Category: Young Readers

Raina Telgemeier’s ‘Guts’ Empowers Young Readers to Embrace Mental Health

Guts, Telgemeier’s latest book from Scholastic Books, puts you in Telgemeier’s shoes as she works through her fears and anxieties. It tells the story of Raina and her mother getting a horrible case of food poisoning. Even though they get better, Raina starts feeling very anxious about getting food poisoning again. This fear gets worse and worse, interfering with her life at school and with friends, and ultimately Raina discovers ways to manage and work through her fears.

 

 

Given Telgemeier’s popularity among young readers, Guts has a one million copy initial print run for good reason. Each of her books has received widespread critical acclaim for how their nuanced and personal explorations of childhood fears and anxieties. Her graphic memoirs are credited as one the reasons young readers have begun reading comic books and graphic novels again. “She’s a true comics superstar who essentially created a brand new category of comics in the American market: middle-grade graphic memoir,” said Gene Luen Yang, another acclaimed graphic novelist.

 

A page from Raina Telgemeier’s latest memoir (Scholastic Graphix)

 

Telgemeier’s Smile was well-received by critics and readers alike when it first debuted in 2010. And each of her books since then have reached a wider and wider audience. Her largely autobiographical works are so accessible and emotionally resonant that there are 13.5 million copies of them in print.

While her memoirs certainly target a younger demographic, her candid look at how fear has affected her life is sure to resonate with anyone who knows the struggle of growing up and learning to navigate the weird, unpredictable world. And much like Smile, Telgemeier’s expects Guts to fly off the shelves. Ellie Berger, Executive Vice President and President, Trade Publishing at Scholastic Books said of Telgemeier’s appeal:

Raina’s readership is wide ranging in age and appeals to all genders. The books’ accessibility and relatability are at the core of what makes Raina’s stories so popular.

“It takes guts to face your fears,” Telgemeier says in the trailer for Guts.

 

 

Are you looking forward to reading Guts? Have you read any of Telgemeier’s other work? Let us know on Facebook and Instagram!

 

 

 

Featured images via American Libraries Magazine and Amazon

5 YA Books That Get Disability Right

You already know about the YouTube hit that is CinemaSins, the channel that critiques movies and points out all on-screen offenses under the sun. Superhero movies are obviously not excluded, and CinemaSins co-creator Jeremy Scott decided to write his debut novel about the kinds of disabled superheroes “that superhero culture would marginalize,” according to an interview with Publishers Weekly.

 

Image via Amazon

 

With The Ables, Scott has inspired younger generations with a tale about kids with disabilities who become the superheroes they weren’t sure they could be. He’s proven the importance of telling these stories, especially when told appropriately, and even has a sequel, Strings, arriving shortly in September.

Here are five other YA novels about characters who struggle with their disabilities, find their strengths, and hopefully find a happy ending or peace with their circumstances.

 

 

5-Percy Jackson & The Olympians by Rick Riordan

 

Rick Riordan Image via Audiobooks For Soul

 

#1 New York Times bestselling author Rick Riordan taught English and history for fifteen years before his Percy Jackson series stardom. Between his teaching background and telling inspiring bedtime stories to his son who has ADHD and dyslexia, Riordan was uniquely qualified to bring us a protagonist who struggled with his perceived (pun intended) weaknesses before finding his Olympian-level strengths.

 

Percy JacksonImage via Amazon

 

Percy Jackson has struggled in school because of his dyslexia and ADHD, but after he enters the world of mythical Gods and monster he learns from his friend Annabeth, child of Athena, that:

 

You’re impulsive, can’t sit still in the classroom…That’s your battlefield reflexes. In a real fight, they’d keep you alive.

 

Here, Percy learns that his disabilities are not a result of him being less, but simply the trade-offs of being a powerful demigod and part of the Ancient Olympian family tree. Then, as the books go on, Percy and his friends rely on his ADHD mind to save the world time and time again from various ancient threats, ultimately embracing his strengths as well as the new family that he is now a part of.

 

4-The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais

 

Image Via Alison Gervais.com

 

Having gained recognition by posting her work on Wattpad in 2011, Alison Gervais took time out of her busy schedule of rereading Harry Potter, watching Supernatural and Law and Order: SVU, and enjoying life with her husband and their two cats, Jane and Smoke, to bring us this August release.

 

Image Via Amazon

 

Moving halfway across the country to Colorado right before senior year means Maya will be leaving Pratt School for the Deaf. Now she’s attending Engelmann High, a public school, where everyone except for her can hear and be heard.

When Engelmann’s student body president, Beau Watson, starts using ASL in order to talk to her, Maya is suspicious he has a hidden agenda. Then, when Maya passes up a chance to receive a cochlear implant, Beau doesn’t understand why Maya wouldn’t want to hear again. Maya would rather simply remain true to herself.

Publisher’s Weekly writes that “…Gervais adroitly pulls readers into her world—conveying ASL through all caps and spelled-out words—as well as her work navigating the deaf and hearing worlds and her awareness of who she is,” and we here at Bookstr hope that Gervais will bring us another book sooner rather than later—although we too are busy rereading the Harry Potter series.

 

 

3-How We Roll by Natasha Friend

 

Image via Natasha Friend

 

Friend’s first three books, PerfectLush, and Bounce, all won awards and acclaim, her 2012 novel My Life in Black and White won an award, and her 2018 novel is one you need to read right now.

 

Image via Amazon

 

After developing alopecia, Quinn lost her friends along with her hair. In addition to her autistic brother, she also has to deal with sexual harassment from fellow students.

Quinn catches a break when her family moves. A new start in a new town at a new school. At school she meets Jake, a former football player who lost his legs after an accident caused by his brother. The two feel a connection, but first, they have to learn to trust others once more…

Publisher’s Weekly writes that “[s]mall acts of kindness balance the cruelty Quinn has suffered, and the message that single characteristics don’t define who people are, invites contemplation” and we here at Bookstr say this that, since this book was released last year in 2018, then you should definitely have it on your bookshelf.

 

 

2-Remember Dippy by Shirley Reva Vernick

 

Image via Shirley Reva Vernick

 

Author of the Sydney Taylor Honor–winning The Blood Lie, Shirley Reva Vernick brought us something for anyone with a heart to enjoy with this 2013 release.

 

Image via Amazon

 

Summer looks like it’s going to be a drag for Johnny. When his mother gets a job in upstate New York, far away from Vermont, Johnny is sent to live with his aunt and cousin for the summer. This wouldn’t be so bad if not for his cousin, Remember Dippy.

Yep, you read that right, his cousin’s name is Remember Dippy. And, for Johnny, that isn’t the worst of it. Remember Dippy likes his days to follow a certain order, and any disorder or excitement is a recipe for disaster. This is because Remember Dippy is autistic.

Things go awry when a pet ferret goes missing, a close friend suffers a fall, and a new love interest might change Remember’s life in ways he doesn’t even suspect.

Kirkus Reviews calls this “[a]n enjoyable and provocative exploration of the clash between ‘normal’ and ‘different’ and how similar the two really are,” and we couldn’t agree more!

 

 

1-Stuck In Neutral by Terry Trueman

 

Image via Yalsa

 

Terry Trueman brought us the winner of the Michael L. Printz Award in 2001, and we’ve all been talking about it since.

 

Image via Amazon

 

Shawn McDaniel has cerebral palsy and his entire body is affected; he has absolutely no control over any of his bodily functions, but his memory is pitch-perfect. Sadly, his family thinks he’s a fool.

The novel follows Shawn as he tries to find what we all strive for – a connection – especially since his father Sydney McDaniel talks constantly about euthanasia.

Kirkus Reviews once wrote that “…Shawn will stay with readers, not for what he does, but for what he is and has made of himself,” but we have to say that is an understatement. Throughout the novel, Shawn himself introduces the reader to his life—his family, his school life, and his condition. It’s a meditative read that can be morose, even violent, and will shake you to your very core.

 

 

 

Featured Image via Turner Publishing

Top 7 Harry Potter Memes

Harry Potter has had twenty plus years to percolate in popular culture, and it’s produced a lot of content, including memes. Here are some funny ones.

 

He Takes His Job Seriously

 

Image via Imgur

 

The last thing Snape needs is art teacher vibes. I hate to let them down! It does make me feel like I understand Neville’s suffering though. Once in grade school, an art teacher told me I was bad at collages. I was stunned. I’m just glad I didn’t need to eat it.

 

 

Harry Potter, King of Shade

 

Image via LiveAbout

 

I’ve always said, if you can’t beat them, annoy them. It might not kill Voldy to get his name wrong, but I can’t imagine him reacting calmly. Sometimes you don’t need actual magic, just a really sick burn. Think of “no need to call me sir, professor.”

 

 

I’ve Connected Them!

 

Image via Screen Rant

 

Dumbledore, you ridiculous jumble of contradictions and eccentricities. Say what you will about Dumbledore and the wisdom of his choices either way, but he is objectively a TERRIBLE judge of character. Think of Quirrell.

 

 

Grammar is Life

 

Image via Pinterest

 

While this isn’t cannon… it’s cannon. It would be so like Hermione to just absolutely reject being killed by a mispronounced spell. Like, kill me, sure, but do it right. Here, let me help you with your murder technique. She just really couldn’t watch someone flounder.

 

 

There’s a Reason He’s Not in Ravenclaw

 

Image via Cheezburger

 

Obviously danger does follow Harry, but Harry does also follow danger. Like, anything dangerous happens, and Harry is like *butterfly meme* “Is this a situation I should get involved in?” I guess it’s what Godric Gryffindor would have wanted?

 

 

When you and Your Roommate fight

 

Image via Runt of the Web

 

I think we’ve all been there. Just pointedly staring at undone dishes and listening to top 40 music from across a small apartment. What are you guys going to do, slam your curtains? Hum loudly? You’ve got real problems, work it out!

 

Hermione’s always Been Metal

 

Image via Amino Apps

 

I mean, yeah, it would have made for a much shorter book, but I’m also not convinced it didn’t happen. Hermione is the sort of person who would be like “this is something I’ve been working on, it’s just simple” and then summon a dragon or something.

 

 

Featured image via BookBub