Graphic Novel Review | El Deafo by Cece Bell

El Deafo Book Review Paige's PagesTITLE: El Deafo
AUTHOR
: Cece Bell
PUBLISHER
: Harry N. Abrams
RELEASE DATE
: September 2, 2014
GENRE
: Junior Graphic Novel, Memoir
PAGE COUNT
: 233


El Deafo is an utterly adorable Own Voices  graphic novel based on author Cece Bell’s own childhood experience of severe deafness.  One of the many wonderful things about this book is how it avoids representing deafness as a disability.  Although Cece faces plenty of adversity in the form of loneliness, being misunderstood, and toxic friends, she ultimately uses her Phonic Ear hearing aid as a superpower to become the hero, El Deafo.  This is a universally relatable and informative story for junior and middle grade readers that inspires compassion and respect for differently-abled people. Continue reading

Book Review | A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman

A Time to Dance Review Paige's PagesTITLE: A Time to Dance
AUTHOR
: Padma Venkatraman
PUBLISHER
: Nancy Paulsen Books
RELEASE DATE
: May 1, 2014
GENRE
: Young Adult Fiction
PAGE COUNT
: 320


A Time to Dance is unlike any other book I’ve read.  Delivered in flowing verse, Venkatraman combines a lovingly detailed representation of disability with sumptuous insights to her own culture and religion.  The result is a story for all ages that celebrates the beauty in all things.  Its uplifting message has resonated with me long after reading, and impacted my perspectives on disability and religion.   Continue reading

Graphic Novel Review | American Born Chinese by Gene Luan Yang

american-born-chinese-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: American Born Chinese
AUTHOR
: Gene Luan Yang
PUBLISHER
: First Second
RELEASE DATE
: September 1, 2006
GENRE
: Junior Graphic Novel
PAGE COUNT
: 240


Fusing mythology with a contemporary coming of age story, American Born Chinese confronts Asian stereotypes and cultural alienation.  These topics may sound heavy, but Yang weaves his story around these themes effortlessly, like a present-day Aesop’s fable while remaining fresh and fun.

Jin Wang is the only Chinese American at his new school.  When the new kid from Taiwan tries to befriend him, Jin is scared that being seen with a FOB (Fresh Off the Boat) will destroy his chances of fitting in.  Meanwhile, cool all-American teen Danny is scared his Chinese cousin Chin-Kee will ruin his rep with his popular crush. Continue reading

Graphic Novel Review | Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

ghosts-graphic-novel-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: Ghosts
AUTHOR: Raina Telgemeier
PUBLISHER: Scholastic
RELEASE DATE: September 13, 2016
GENRE: Junior Graphic Novel
PAGE COUNT: 256


Ghosts is a heartwarming graphic novel that celebrates life… even after death.  Featuring a cast of differently abled and racially diverse characters, it is a colourful and timely story that will inspire conversation between parents and junior readers.

Cat is an introvert while her little sister Maya loves to sing and dance her heart out.  However, Maya’s cystic fibrosis means she is often out of breath.  When their family moves to the coastal town of Bahía de la Luna for Maya’s health, Cat is sad to swap sunshine and friends for a foggy town obsessed with the afterlife.  After all, ghosts aren’t real…  Right? Continue reading

Book Review | Paperboy by Vince Vawter

paperboy-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: Paperboy
AUTHOR: Vince Vawter
PUBLISHER: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
RELEASE DATE: May 14, 2013
GENRE: Junior Fiction
PAGE COUNT: 240


Set in ’50s suburban Memphis, Paperboy is a gripping Own Voices coming-of-age story.  11-year-old Little Man has battled with a debilitating stutter all his life.  His unique view of the world takes us on an adventure beyond the walls people raise to defend their inner truths.  Paperboy is about not judging a book by its cover.  

Little Man is our irresistible first person narrator.  When his best friend goes away for a month, Little Man offers to cover his newspaper delivery route.  This seemingly trivial favour is a terrifying challenge.  When he musters the courage to speak to strangers, he discovers much more to his neighbourhood than meets the eye.  Continue reading

Book Review | George by Alex Gino

george-book-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: George
AUTHOR: Alex Gino
PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press
RELEASE DATE: August 25, 2015
GENRE: Junior Fiction, LGBTQI+
PAGE COUNT: 195


You may be surprised to hear that a children’s book would be my pick above many of the LGBTQI+ books written for adults.  Why?  George’s representation of a transgender child captures the feeling of being “born this way”.  It talks about gender in a way that young readers can understand, and which also has the power to educate adults.  

Fourth-grader, George, is determined to be Charlotte in the class production of Charlotte’s Web.  This is the chance she’s been waiting for to tell the world she’s a girl.  But when the teachers refuse to even let her audition for a girl’s role, her flamboyant best friend Kelly comes up with a daring plan to make George’s dreams comes true. Continue reading

Book Review | Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia Edited by Amra Pajalic & Demet Divaroren

coming-of-age-book-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia
EDITORS: Amra Pajalic and Demet Divaroren
PUBLISHER: Allen & Unwin
RELEASE DATE: February 2014
GENRE: Junior Nonfiction, Religion
PAGE COUNT: 200


This collection of short memoirs shares the challenges of growing up Muslim in Australia.  I love that the focus of Coming of Age is on the struggles of being a young person, irrespective of religion.  This makes the authors relatable to junior readers everywhere.  

I wondered if there were going to be girls like me from the Middle East.  Would there be any Muslim students in my class?  And how many of them would have just arrived in Australia as I had?  Would they speak Arabic like me?  Would I be able to keep up with the schoolwork?  Would I make friends? – Muslim Footprint by Arwa El Masri page 84 Continue reading