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 | If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

If I Was Your Girl Review Paige's PagesTITLE: If I Was Your Girl
AUTHOR
: Meredith Russo
PUBLISHER
: Flatiron Books
RELEASE DATE
: May 3, 2016
GENRE
: Young Adult Fiction, LGBTQIA
PAGE COUNT
: 280


If I Was Your Girl is a high school romance from the perspective of a transgender girl.  While the writing and plot are forgettable, this novel is necessary because it gives young adult readers of any and all gender identities the chance to read trans experiences in relatable contexts.  Besides the universal struggles of fitting in and finding true friends, If I Was Your Girl portrays a trans girl being the subject of romantic attentiongoing a long way to affirm that trans teens are equally deserving of prom proposals and a magical first kiss.  

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Graphic Memoir Review | Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me by Ellen Forney

Marbles by Ellen Forney Review Paige's pagesTITLE: Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me
AUTHOR & ARTIST
: Ellen Forney
PUBLISHER
: Avery
RELEASE DATE
: November 6, 2012
GENRE
: Adult Graphic Memoir
PAGE COUNT
: 256


In this intimate and informative graphic memoir, comic artist Ellen Forney tells her story of battling bipolar disorder.  Along the way, she delves into the origins and issues of the “crazy artist” stereotype, and rewrites her own identity as a creator with mental illness.  Most of all, Marbles is for readers who want insight into the long-term challenges of living with bipolar disorder.  
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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

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

Graphic Memoir Review | Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

persepolis-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
AUTHOR: Marjane Satrapi
PUBLISHER: Pantheon
RELEASE DATE: 2000
GENRE: Graphic Memoir
PAGE COUNT: 153


Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s first person account of growing up as a politically active girl in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.  While giving readers insight into life during that time, what stood out to me most was how coming of age goes hand-in-hand with developing new ways of seeing the world.

In Persepolis, Marjane is a hotheaded young girl.  With the unfiltered honesty of a child, she is outspoken with her political opinions.  She is never afraid to stand up for what she believes, even to the point of putting herself in harm’s way – she’s no stranger to death, having witnessed bombings, stabbings, and executions of political refugees.   Continue reading

#IWD2017 Double Review | The Fictional Woman / Speaking Out: A 21st-Century Handbook for Women and Girls by Tara Moss

Using her wealth of experience as an international model, bestselling crime novelist, human rights activist, and mother, Tara Moss equips readers to confront gender inequality in every aspect of society.  If The Fictional Woman is the ultimate “beginner’s guide” to gender inequality, then Speaking Out is your “travelling companion”.  Through immersive research and intimate wisdom, this dynamic duo will educate and empower.  

I listened to The Fictional Woman and Speaking Out as audio books, and now have a HUGE crush on Tara Moss’s voice.  As a strong and confident speaker, her warmth and wisdom bursts through her rich tone.  Hearing the author read her own work is intimate, and sometimes unearthed my own pain.  Although I plan to buy all my female friends and family members these books for Christmas, I know I’ll be returning to the audio versions.

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Book Review | Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out edited by Susan Kuklin

beyond-magenta-book-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out
EDITOR & PHOTOGRAPHER: Susan Kuklin
PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press
RELEASE DATE: February 11, 2014
GENRE: Young Adult Nonfiction, LGBTQIA
PAGE COUNT: 192


Through six short memoirs transcribed from interviews, Beyond Magenta explores what it’s like to come of age as a trans-spectrum teen.  A crucial lesson this book teaches is to see gender and sexuality as something with infinite colourful shades.  To really know someone’s story, you have to be humble and open-hearted enough to listen to them tell it in their own words.
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Book Review | Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation edited by Kate Bornstein & S. Bear Bergman

gender-outlaws-the-next-generation-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation
EDITORS: Kate Bornstein & S. Bear Bergman
PUBLISHER: Seal Press
RELEASE DATE: August 21, 2010
GENRE: Nonfiction, Memoir, LGBTQI+
PAGE COUNT: 304


The second gender-bending anthology edited by Kate Bornstein brings together an extraordinary range of trans-spectrum creators.  This book celebrates diverse LGBTQI+ experiences, while encouraging readers to take a long, hard look at their society’s gender laws.  

Instead of looking to the binaries for answers – male/female, femininity/masculinity, sex/gender – I’ve decided to take my body back for myself – for me to shape, show off, love and dress and play.  But above all, for me to name – Transliteration by Francisco Fernández

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