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Guts Smile The Book

This was purchased by my daughter at her school's Book Fair. She weighed 6.5 pounds. It was directly across from the fuzzy unicorn journals. My daughter was captivated by the book, but it contained inappropriate content. I mentioned a girl getting her period, puberty, a father who drank himself to inebriation, and other topics that were simply inappropriate for my 6-year-old. We'll go back when she's older. Display more

Imogene has begun public school after being home-schooled by her parents, who work at the Renaissance Faire. Imogene befriends a group of girls who may not be as nice as they appear. She must decide how far she is willing to go to fit in. With humor, warmth, and understanding, Victoria Jamieson perfectly captures the bittersweetness of middle school life. Berrybrook Middle School Series 4

Most importantly, the book is incredibly optimistic and positive about dealing with anxiety, which, in my opinion, is possibly the most important thing to tell young children who are dealing with it. It encourages its readers to seek help from those who care about them rather than feeling ashamed of their situation. There's a wonderful scene near the end of the book where Raina, now more at ease with her problems, admits to them at a sleepover with her girlfriends. To her surprise, one by one, they all reveal some of their own "secrets," and Raina realizes, with a mix of shock and happiness, that she is far from alone in dealing with something that scares or upsets her.

Telgemeier's work may have a child protagonist and be read by children, but the compositional complexity within and across her autobiographical graphic narratives is as thoughtful and nuanced as the comics medium allows. Telgemeier demonstrates the interconnected layers, understandings, and intricacies of these complex subjects in an easily digestible and appealing manner by formulating difficult subject matters like illness, fear, social power dynamics, identity, and mortality in a verbal-visual medium like comics. Telgemeier's mastery of the comics form lends Guts its universal appeal and widespread popularity, making her work deserving of sustained attention and further critical inquiry. Critical scholarship of Telgemeier's work appears to be on the rise, and will hopefully continue to proliferate as scholars, educators, librarians, and other parties interested in multimodal forms of communication continue to engage with her graphic literature critically.

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