MMGM and #IMWAYR: Isla to Island, Scout Is Not a Band Kid, Skim, and more!

So remember last week when I said I had a plan to read so many books? Well, what happened was that I went out of town with 10 graphic novels in tow, and—

I read all 10 graphic novels!!!

It was wild! I don't think I've ever actually read all the books I packed for a trip in my entire life—this is genuinely bizarre. And I'm kind of beat—I might give my brain a rest and stream some TV for a few days instead!

Because I read so voraciously, I'm actually going to split my reviews across two weeks! This week, I'm going to share the first five books I read—and I'm going to get right to it, except that I wanted to rank my favorite books from my travels, so let's do that first!

My favorites of the 10:

  1. Skim
  2. My Last Summer with Cass (review coming next week!)
  3. Isla to Island
  4. Scout Is Not a Band Kid
  5. Freestyle (review coming next week!)
OK, now for the reviews!

Middle Grade:

Isla to Island

Written and illustrated by Alexis Castellanos
Graphic novel · 2022

· · · The publisher says: · · ·

This stunning wordless graphic novel follows a young girl in the 1960s who immigrates from Cuba to the United States and must redefine what home means to her.

Marisol loves her colorful island home. Cuba is vibrant with flowers and food and people…but things are changing. The home Marisol loves is no longer safe—and then it’s no longer her home at all. Her parents are sending her to the United States. Alone. 

Nothing about Marisol’s new life in cold, gray Brooklyn feels like home—not the language, school, or even her foster parents. But Marisol starts to realize that home isn’t always a place. And finding her way can be as simple as staying true to herself.

· · · · · ·

This book is absolutely stunning. If I had known how good it was, I surely wouldn't have let it sit on my shelves for this long.

Marisol loves her home in Cuba, and it's easy to see why—in not many pages, Alexis Castellanos brings to life the colorful buildings, abundant flora, and perhaps most importantly, Marisol's doting parents and the traditions they and their daughter share. You'll fall in love with Cuba too, before you're even a quarter through the book.

But soon, revolutionaries take control of Cuba, and it becomes abundantly clear that it's no longer safe for Marisol to live there. And so Marisol's parents send her to the United States to live with a foster family—Castellanos explains in the informative back matter that a program called Operation Peter Pan helped thousands of kids escape Cuba to live with foster families in the U.S. during this time. Castellanos is also clear that Marisol, as painful as her journey is to watch, is actually lucky to have successfully entered the U.S.—around this very same time, she explains that our government committed the largest mass deportation in our history, sending Mexican-Americans back to Mexico.

Returning to the story, Marisol makes her way to New York City, which is nothing like Cuba—it lacks both the metaphorical and literal warmth of Marisol's home. And it doesn't help that Marisol is an immigrant, so bullies set their targets on her, and language barriers abound. Even amidst all this, regular childhood challenges find their way into her life too.

Marisol's journey sounds like an impossible task, and Castellanos is deliberate about clearly illustrating the challenges Marisol goes through. But countless immigrants made and still make similar journeys and find their way, and Marisol might just find her way too. Partially because she is fortunate to find two loving foster parents who want to connect with her and support her—and partially because some of the joys of life, like books, nature, and food, are constant no matter where you are.

As Marisol learns to integrate her experiences from two different countries into her own story, Castellanos uses color brilliantly as a measure of her journey. Cuba is rendered in full, abundant Technicolor—but New York City through Marisol's eyes is complete, stark gray. But glimpses of color symbolically enter the story as joy sneaks its way back into Marisol's life, resulting in some illustrations you truly won't want to miss.

And perhaps most awesomely of all, Isla to Island is almost completely wordless—and the few words that are present are primarily Spanish. Castellanos skillfully uses her illustrations to build the plot and the characters' emotions, and I must say, I felt more deeply connected to Marisol's journey than I would have if it was being narrated to me. And if you're new to graphic novels, fear not—it's actually easier to process the illustrations of the story when there isn't an entire separate channel of information competing for your attention. The icing on the cake is that I imagine this story would be completely accessible across language barriers—Marisol herself would have benefited from a book like this.

Isla to Island may tackle difficult subject matter, but it is also inherently hopeful. Marisol is as resilient as she is lovable, and her journey to find herself in an entirely new country reveals the importance of our homelands, the joys of everyday life, and the nuance of the immigrant experience.

Alexis Castellanos is a voice to watch in the kidlit world.

Scout Is Not a Band Kid

Written and illustrated by Jade Armstrong
Graphic novel · 2022

· · · The publisher says: · · ·

When Scout learns that her favorite author is doing an exclusive autograph session at the end of the year, she's determined to be there! She officially needs a plan...and when she finds out that her school's band is heading to the same location for their annual trip, an idea takes shape. Being a band kid can't be that hard, right? 

As it turns out, learning how to play an instrument when you can’t even read music is much, much, MUCH tougher than expected. And it’s even harder for Scout when her friends aren’t on board with her new hobby. Will she be able to master the trombone, make new band friends, and get to her favorite author’s book signing? Tackling everything seems like a challenge for a supergenius superfriend supermusician—and she’s just Scout.

· · · · · ·

Like Lucy in the Sky, this was another MG graphic novel (about music) I saved from the donation bag, and also like Lucy in the Sky, I'm so glad I did, because I had a blast reading it!

Frankly, this book is just a rollicking good time, and that's because Jade Armstrong has imbued it with enough detail and humor to make you feel like you're eavesdropping on a bunch of witty, endearing, and often alarmingly misguided middle schoolers who are doing their thing.

In terms of detail, we get to know a surprising number of characters and a whole lot of facts about the story's universe—like the manga about superpowered musicians that Scout adores, Posaune, and its multitalented elderly author, Pristine Wong, who Scout is desperate to meet. We also get some real-world facts embedded into the story too, from detail on Canada's terrible cell service to a realistic look at the process of learning the trombone! (I feel like this is the book real-world band kids have been waiting for.)

Some of the story's detail is conveyed through words, but a lot of it is owed to Armstrong's simply gorgeous art, filled with detailed backgrounds and settings ranging from Scout's cluttered bedroom, to the storefronts and food trucks in her small Ontario hometown (which gives off touches of Tillie Walden in places), to the absolutely incredible comic/music/arts convention Scout wants to attend (it's pure wish fulfillment and I'm here for it). I also love Armstrong's style—they often choose one or two colors to focus a scene around, and this monochromatic look combines with a flat, outline-heavy art style to create worlds that honestly feel luscious. (Like, I could eat them. And I do know that sounds weird.)

Armstrong brings the characters within these worlds to life with a manga-esque art style and plenty of exuberance and dry humor—but they're also not afraid to let their characters get serious when the need arises. And I feel like the story is often subversive in a way that acknowledges that yes, detail x or y may not make perfect sense, but who cares? Just go with it!

I'm also like a kid doing a book report when it comes to themes—I'm always looking for them, and I love to expound upon them! So let's do that. I'd say one theme of Scout Is Not a Band Kid is that relationships can, and should, evolve—when you pigeonhole people you know into categories and only expect certain things from them, you eliminate the potential for people to surprise you, and for you to bond with others when you don't expect it.

Another theme is that friendships are reciprocal, and sometimes, they involve sacrifices! Yes, everyone should fight for the things they care about, but their friendships with others should be one of those things—and both friends should be willing to give things up once in a while to prioritize the friendship instead.

And one last theme is that sometimes, you have to buckle down and do the hard work—no matter how certain you are that you can just skate along without trying and be fine, sometimes, you have to commit to the bit if you want your life to stay on track.

A few more things: I love the characters, especially our cover stars Scout and Merrin, who look like polar opposites but are actually two sides of the same coin. You see, if you read the book synopsis above, you know Scout joins band to meet her favorite author—but although she'd never admit it, I think she stays in band in part due to sheer stubbornness. Merrin's going to do band as well as she can, gosh darn it—and Scout is doing to do band, period, gosh darn it. (Maybe not as well as she can, though...unless Merrin has anything to say about it.)

Three more random details—I love all the queer representation in this story, including the explicit inclusion of characters' pronouns! Also, there's a moment at the end of the story that broke my heart but in such a meaningful way—it's so fast, but so brilliant, and just wild. Geez. And finally, the characters' independence in this story is so fun to watch—it feels like exactly what I would have dreamed of as a middle schooler (and still dream of now), playing out for these kids!

I do have some concerns I should include, although frankly, they have faded in my memory in favor of the joy of this story! But to get through them briefly, first, I feel like the story's best moments are concentrated in the second half, although the first half is definitely strong too, just a bit slower. (There's also the anxiety that Scout's plan is going to catastrophically backfire—by the second half, that anxiety settles down, I promise.)

Second, I was confused by the idea that Scout's school band would be performing/competing at a comic-con—those two things seemed a bit unrelated, but honestly, just go with it! The convention seems focused enough on all the arts that I made it fit together in my head.

Lastly, some of the characters in the story say some really mean things to each other, only to bond with each other later. If this was a YA or adult book, that would be a deal-breaker—but honestly, since this is MG, I think it's actually pretty realistic to show kids going way overboard, making mistakes (often more than once), and finding other ways besides pure apologies to repair things.

Overall, Scout Is Not a Band Kid feels like a realistic fiction story imbued with the peppy energy of a supernatural manga, like that Scout enjoys so much—this book finds the zany silliness in daily life and keeps you turning the pages, while its gorgeous art and compelling themes keep you engaged throughout this layered, unique read!

(Oh, and one more bonus—there's extra mini-comics at the end that give more detail on the characters! Score!)

The Wondrous Wonders

Written and illustrated by Camille Jourdy
Graphic novel · 2022
Recommended by Cecelia Bedelia

· · · The publisher says: · · ·

With irresistible wit and brilliant strokes of watercolor, Camille Jourdy brings this dreamlike fable to life. Wondrous Wonders is a tale of pure magic for children and adults alike.

Hurt by her parents’ divorce and struggling to accept her new stepfamily, she decides to run away and live alone in the woods. But she soon discovers that she’s far from alone. Jo stumbles into a fantastical world full of tiny elves, talking foxes, and mischievous, multicolored ponies known as the Wondrous Wonders. Her new friends are on a mission: rise up against Emperor Tomcat, the tyrannical leader who rules the enchanted forest they call home. Can Jo find the courage to vanquish an evil empire and get back to her family before dinnertime?

· · · · · ·

This book was wild, delightful, and certainly unlike any graphic novel I've read before—it was much more akin to a storybook, or a tall tale, or a melding of Over the Garden Wall and The Beatryce Prophecy.

The Wondrous Wonders follows our young protagonist Jo, who runs off from a camping trip with her frustrating blended family and quickly enters a strange, magical forest. There, a tight-knit land of fantastical creatures are gearing up to rescue several of their kind from the evil Emperor Tomcat and his lavish estate.

This book features:

  • Childlike whimsy at every corner
  • A dog with six feet and a slightly traumatic past
  • A fierce magical mother who will do anything for her daughter
  • An alliterative horse
  • A fox trying so hard not to be won over by his traveling companions
  • Rhyming songs (the translator's dedication here is impressive)
  • Disturbing villainous excess
  • The playing of many games
  • Characters running the gamut from human to animal/magical (and I do mean the gamut, not just the two extremes)
  • A peaceful abandoned house
  • Trekking by foot
  • Gossipy old women
  • Candy
  • Grade-A scheming
  • And gorgeous art!

So there's really something for everyone in The Wondrous Wonders, and I have to say, Camille Jourdy has imbued this journey with so much humor, intrigue, and, well, wonder that it will be hard for readers not to pick it up again...and again...and again...and, well, you get it.

I'd say the plot 90% made sense to me, but really, I didn't mind the 10% because this isn't supposed to be stressful or shocking or mind-blowing—it's supposed to be a magical and surreal journey that, unlike so many others in children's books, actually has some length to it so you can get immersed in it. And this book delivers at all of that!

A few critiques: I don't think this is suited for the youngest of readers due to a couple of moments, like one involving some slightly graphic swordfighting, or another where the gag is that a woman wants to poison herself with a magic apple out of frustration. In that same scene, an unlikable character also said something that had a racist undertone to me—I'm not sure if that was to more thoroughly depict her as unlikable, or if it got mixed up during translation into English, or if there's not a reason for it besides implicit/explicit racism (sigh). Lastly, on a plot note, I wanted a more thorough emotional end to Jo's journey with her magical companions—it felt like they didn't really get to say goodbye!

Despite those flaws, I still had a delightful time reading The Wondrous Wonders. I've seen reviewers talk about how you'd be hard-pressed to find themes in this book, and I agree—and that's the point! The Wondrous Wonders is an ode to pure escapism, and it gives young readers the gifts of feeling like a leader, a hero, an explorer—and perhaps best of all, just a kid having fun!

Frizzy

Written by Claribel A. Ortega and illustrated by Rose Bousamra
Graphic novel · 2022
Recommended by Beth Shaum and Linda Browne

· · · The publisher says: · · ·

Marlene loves three things: books, her cool Tía Ruby and hanging out with her best friend Camila. But according to her mother, Paola, the only thing she needs to focus on is school and "growing up." That means straightening her hair every weekend so she could have "presentable", "good hair".

But Marlene hates being in the salon and doesn't understand why her curls are not considered pretty by those around her. With a few hiccups, a dash of embarrassment, and the much-needed help of Camila and Tia Ruby―she slowly starts a journey to learn to appreciate and proudly wear her curly hair.

· · · · · ·

I'm not sure I could name a book besides Frizzy that explicitly focuses on women of color's right to wear their hair (a) naturally and (b) how they want to, and for that alone, I am so grateful to have read it!

And it certainly helps that this is a high-quality story—rather than getting distracted by too many other topics, Frizzy gets right to the heart of this issue and how it affects our lovable protagonist Marlene.

There's so much that's wrong with the pressure Marlene faces to wear her hair in specific ways. Not only does she face physical pain and wasted days at the salon her mom takes her too, but she also faces fractured relationships and damaged self-esteem regarding the idea that the way she naturally looks—and wants to look—is less worthy.

But this pressure originates from somewhere, and this book tackles that too. Marlene faces bullying at school when she tries wearing her hair in its natural, frizzy state. And the story also ties the pressure Marlene faces to broader issues of internalized racism and colorism that affect her Dominican family—those topics are so rarely discussed in kidlit, yet so real.

I love that Frizzy is entirely from Marlene's perspective—she's trying to make sense of these issues in ways that are realistic for a middle-schooler, and her hair emergencies or fights with her mom feel like natural consequences of a young kid trying to stand up against a complex, longstanding issue.

Marlene is also a delightful kid—you'll fall in love with her immediately, and I appreciate that her mom, who is one major source of pressure for Marlene to straighten her hair, is also a complex character. And Marlene's Tía Ruby and best friend Camilla deserve shout-outs as sources of love, affirmation, and brightness in this story. (Tía Ruby gives me Aunt Molly energy from the Click series!)

Claribel A. Ortega's writing warmly invites kids to think about these topics in the context of a middle-schooler trying to be herself. And Rose Bousamra's expressive, detailed, and warmly colored art brings the story's environments to life, adding depth to the story without distracting from its main focus.

So many kids will need this book, and it's taken so long for something like it to exist. But now it does, and it's kind and wise and full of heart, and we have Ortega and Bousamra to thank for facing this topic head-on—and reminding us that all hair is good hair.

Young Adult:

Skim

Written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
Graphic novel · 2008
Recommended by Linda Browne

· · · The publisher says: · · ·

"Skim" is Kimberly Keiko Cameron, a not-slim, would-be Wiccan goth who goes to a private girls' school in the early '90s. When her classmate Katie Matthews is dumped by her boyfriend, who then kills himself — possibly because he's (maybe) gay — the entire school goes into mourning overdrive. It's a weird time to fall in love, but that's what happens to Skim when she starts meeting secretly with her neo-hippie English teacher, Ms. Archer. But then Ms. Archer abruptly leaves the school, and Skim has to cope with her confusion and isolation while her best friend, Lisa, tries to pull her into "real" life by setting up a hilarious double-date for the school's semi formal. Suicide, depression, love, homosexuality, crushes, cliques of popular, manipulative peers — the whole gamut of teen life is explored in this poignant glimpse into the heartache of being 16.

· · · · · ·

I'm completely in love with this book.

I already knew I liked Mariko Tamaki (author of Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me and This One Summer) and her cousin Jillian Tamaki (illustrator of This One Summer and My Best Friend and creator of Our Little Kitchen).

But even so, I did not expect to so completely adore this book in its 140-page entirety.

This book's premise might seem disturbing or tragic, and I was honestly nervous about reading it for those reasons. But part of why it works so well is that you will want to reach into the book and give Skim, our protagonist, the most enormous hug pretty much instantly. I love Skim—she doesn't know everything, but darn, she knows a lot, and Mariko Tamaki's respect for this character comes through in how sharp and insightful her voice is. Skim is a Wiccan, and I loved the moments where she described her painstakingly assembled altar, or tried to make sense of the world using spells from her books. And I also love her attempts to describe her physical feelings using surprising and clever similes (skimiles?) throughout the book. Just listen to this, from page 58: "I feel like I have wings but my bones are bricks." Just...whoa.

And then in terms of themes, this book so clearly and cuttingly establishes how many attempts at supporting mental health turn into self-congratulatory bullsh*t and toxic positivity that do nothing. Skim and her fellow classmates watch the popular girls at school try to "fix" mental health without ever acknowledging what made it go wrong in the first place. And this feels like a larger allegory for how so many people panic about suicide without ever acknowledging that we—yes, us—have allowed certain things, like queerness, to become so ostracizing and isolating for young people that of course they result in suicide. If you aren't confronting the real problems and looking inward at your own pain, you can't help others face their pain either, and Skim shows us this so beautifully.

Skim also tackles the pain of love. And yes, Skim's love with her English teacher, Ms. Archer—which is GALLINGLY facilitated by Ms. Archer—is a lot worse than most loves. (Don't worry, this book won't ask you to empathize with Ms. Archer too much.) But I connected to what Skim goes through too, because I think anyone can understand how, when everything else is falling to pieces, love feels like the last lifeline, the last thing to desperately cling to in hopes that it will singlehandedly sustain you through whatever pain you're facing. Which is fine (or something)—unless that love is on unsteady footing.

This doesn't sound very uplifting, I know, but it falls effortlessly into the category of books I love so much—not those that skip over actual problems in favor of toxic positivity (just like the popular girls at Skim's school!), or those that wallow in pain, but those that truly face the pain of human existence and then find hope nonetheless. The ending of this book is surprisingly straightforward and surprisingly hopeful too, so if you want resolution to all the things I've mentioned, I promise, the book will give it to you.

But wait, there's more! Divorce, the immense capability of children to be racist and evil, idiotic first dates, best friends changing for the worse, fatphobia—I don't want this book to sound completely crushing because it isn't, but I do want to acknowledge how many elements of human experience it acknowledges. And Jillian Tamaki brings the storyline to life with her moody, soft yet jagged black-and-white illustrations.

There's so much depth in this book that I know I'll have to come back to it at least once. I read it on Libby and know I need to buy a physical copy to display. There's a reason people are still talking about Skim 15 years after its publication—and that reason is that it achieves true greatness, and it gets to the heart of topics most people are unwilling to even look in the eye.

Please, read Skim. You won't regret it.

Random thoughts:

Speaking of Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, they have a giant (444 pages) graphic novel called Roaming coming out in September that sounds phenomenal!

On an unrelated note, besides books, I also had the chance to see the Barbie movie recently—it's incredibly well-written but also existentially terrifying!

I've also been watching the Cartoon Network show We Bare Bears, which I used to see random reruns of but never intentionally watched. It has been the most perfect comfort watch, and I'll probably have more to say about it soon!

I've kept you long enough—have a great week! ✨✨

Comments

  1. These all sound good. I look forward to seeing what you thought of My Last Summer With Cass, which I really enjoyed. I saw the Barbie movie last night and enjoyed it: good feminist messages, fun, and funny. And the Ken dance scene was great!

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    1. I *loved* My Last Summer with Cass, and I'm excited to post my review next week! And I just saw your Barbie thoughts on your own blog—I feel like it's so much fun when there's a cultural touchstone like this that everyone ends up seeing and discussing! Thanks so much for stopping by, Helen!

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  2. So many titles I want to check here, especially your first one thanks for sharing!
    I do too binge sometimes in graphic novels. I also enjoy nonfiction graphic "novels".
    I did a post on that a few years ago:
    https://wordsandpeace.com/2021/11/15/nonfiction-november-2021-expert-on-graphic-nonfiction/

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    1. I'm really glad Isla to Island sounds appealing, Emma! And your post is really interesting—I own a few graphic nonfiction books but haven't read many, so I'll make note of your picks! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  3. I can't imagine reading 10 graphic novels all at once--but thanks for your comprehensive reviews. What a broad range of books. Carol Baldwin

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    1. No problem—I had fun reading everything! Thanks for stopping by, Carol!

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  4. We've had an influx of students who only speak Portugese, and they love Isla to Island. This gets them started on reading more graphic novels, and hopefully helps with their acquisition of English. I'm impressed that you were able to read all ten of the books that you had with you. Thanks for sharing all of your thoughts!

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    1. That's wonderful that so many students at your school are connecting with Isla to Island—it's wonderful that the wordless format really is helpful for bringing it to a wide audience! And you being impressed means a lot, considering that I'm in perpetual awe of how fast you can read books! Thanks so much for stopping by, Karen!

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  5. Wow! You read a lot of books on your trip! I never read all the books I've packed! I really liked Frizzy, but the other middle grade books are new to me so I need to check them out.

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    1. I've never read all the books I packed either, until now! I must have missed your thoughts on Frizzy, but I'm really glad you enjoyed it, and I'm glad I could bring the other books to your attention! Thanks so much for stopping by, Lisa!

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  6. My daughters are both band kids and would have loved that book when they were in elementary school (they still might, but will only find it if I buy it, so maybe...). Thanks for the excellent post, lots of fun reads to checkout.

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    1. That's so fun that your kids would have loved this book back then, and even now! I feel like band kids have their own unique community and norms, so I suspect a lot of them would love a book set in the same setting. Thanks so much for stopping by, Aaron!

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  7. I may not get to all of them, soon, but even your post is a marathon, Max! Each one sounds so good. I just got Tryout from the library, can't remember if you've read it yet, but it's started well! Thanks for your enthusiasm. You should be giving book talks in schools. The kids would love it! Happy reading!

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    1. I suspect it's as much of a marathon to read as it was to write! 😁 I did write each review after reading each book, which helped. And I actually haven't read The Tryout, although it's been on my radar for a long time—I'll have to track it down! And that's so sweet of you to say—I would have a lot of fun with that! Thanks so much for stopping by, Linda!

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  8. Oh, WOW that is a huge number of reads that you fit in on your trip. I always intend to finish my books while away, put something always gets in the way. Thanks for highlighting all these graphic novels, will need to check a few of them out.

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    1. I totally get that—I feel like vacations are never quite as capacious in terms of reading time as one would hope, and things always come up! I often bring tons of books and read maybe one at most, so this was an exciting shift. I hope you enjoy some of these books, and thanks so much for stopping by, Brenda!

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  9. Wow, 10 graphic novels in one week - that sounds like a great vacation to me! These all sound wonderful - I haven't read any of them yet. I am also a fan of Mariko and Jillian Tamaki from This One Summer, so Skim and the upcoming Roam both sound good! Thanks for the excellent reviews - I rely on you to keep me up-to-date on graphic novels!

    Sue
    2023 Big Book Summer Challenge

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    1. I wouldn't have wanted to spend my vacation any other way! And that's wonderful that you got to read This One Summer—it was an excellent read a few years ago, and keeping both of them on my radar has resulted in some subsequent great reads. And I'm really glad I can keep you up to date on graphic novels! Thanks so much for stopping by, Sue!

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  10. What a fantastic collection of reviews and most of the books were new to me. You'd better try out one of those 48 hour reading challenges that happen each year. Karen Yingling hosts one. A vacation is the best time to catch up on reading. Can't wait for the rest of your list next week. In the meantime, Happy MMGM!

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    1. I was actually kind of inspired to do this because on a trip last year, I did Karen Yingling's challenge but with picture books, and it was so fun that I wanted to read like that on a trip again! I'm glad you enjoyed the reviews, Greg, and happy MMGM to you too!

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  11. Wow. A wordless graphic novel. That's something I have to see. Choosing the trombone -- one of the hardest instruments -- to learn for a band trip sets up for some pretty fun problems. Any time I see a book compared to The Beatryce Prophecy, I am intrigued. And the cover is gorgeous. Frizzy is pretty timely as so many more people are letting their hair go natural. I like the concept. Skim just sounds fascinating. I'm definitely putting some of these on my list. Thanks for the post.

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    1. I'm so glad so many of these books caught your attention, Rosi! I didn't know that the trombone was one of the hardest instruments, but it definitely sounded from the book like there was a lot to juggle—I always enjoyed the piano because your lips and lungs were never involved! And the cover of The Wondrous Wonders was a huge reason of why I read it—the art is amazing. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  12. Isla to Island looks particularly good to me! I will have to check it out.

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    1. I'm really glad Isla to Island appeals to you, and I hope you enjoy it—thanks so much for stopping by!

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  13. Wonderful round up of graphic novels! Isla to Island sounds like a powerful story with all the feels—having to leave your home and family behind to travel alone to live in another country at such a young age. Thanks for sharing all these.

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    1. Isla to Island definitely brings Marisol's complex emotions to life—it is not an easy journey for her to leave so much behind and try to find herself in a new place. Thanks so much for stopping by, K.A.!

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  14. I read Skim so long ago (2017) that I can't really even remember the story. After reading your review I might have to go back and reread it. I generally adore anything Mariko & Jillian Tamaki create.
    I'm looking forward to your review of My Last Summer with Cass. It was Cybil finalist one year. I liked the storyline, but as a Cybil candidate, I found it to be problematic in it's lack of diversity.
    BTW, thanks so much for providing the goodreads links.

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    1. I feel like six years is always a good timeframe to rediscover a book, especially one as good as Skim! And that's very fair about My Last Summer with Cass—it's not diverse, and I think it's wise to try to award books that are helping repair some of those long-standing imbalances in the world. And I'm glad the Goodreads links are helpful—I know you always post those too, and they're so handy! Thanks so much for stopping by, Cheriee!

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  15. Wow! 10 books is a lot to read. Isla to Island sounds especially good.

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    1. Isla to Island is truly an amazing read—I'm surprised I haven't seen more discussion about it! Thanks so much for stopping by, Natalie—it's great to see you!

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  16. Isla sound so intriguing. I also want to read Frizzy.

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    1. I'm glad both of those books sound appealing—they were great reads! Thanks so much for stopping by, Earl!

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  17. Congratulations on reading all 10 graphic novels and also on setting a MMGM review record!! Very impressive, especially considering the in-depth review of each book you featured. It is amazing to me how much story and how much complexity can be conveyed in a graphic novel. I don't normally read them but maybe I should start :). Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, Valinora—I enjoyed getting to chronicle all my thoughts on these books! And I think a lot of people are surprised by how rich the stories can be in graphic novels—there's tons to choose from if you ever want to give them a try! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  18. Sounds like a great vacation, and congratulations on getting all those books read! Now my to-read list has grown :-)

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    1. Thanks, Beth—I appreciate it! I'm glad your TBR list has grown, even if I also know from experience that that can be overwhelming! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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