raina telgemeier

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@goraina created 3 downloadable, color-able images of her characters –including Cat and Maya from GHOSTS, Raina from SMILE, Justin, Callie, and Jesse from DRAMA – for the #kidlitsafetypins movement. Share away!

“Here are some images I created for the Kidlit Safety Pins movement! Feel free to download and print or color these pictures. The idea of the safety pin symbol is to let people know that they are safe, loved, and accepted by the pin’s wearer. By sharing these images of my characters, I want my readers to know that they are safe with me. #kidlitsafetypins”

Drama by Raina Telgemeir

I truly believe this book does not get talked about enough. It’s a graphic novel about Callie (The girl in the middle) who does stage/set crew for her middle school. She’s in 7th grade and can’t wait to work in Moon Over Mississippi for the year. While putting up audition posters she meets these two twin brothers in the grade above her. Justin (on the right) who is loud and energetic and very excited to try out for the musical and Jesse (left) who is quiet and sweet and is far to shy to even think about trying out but is very supportive of his brother. Callie soon finds out that their dad put a lot of pressure on them about grades and the play that year was basically their only escape. One day Callie’s friend Matt was being a prick so she didn’t want to sit with him at lunch and conveniently Jesse was tutoring so Justin asked her to sit with him. They sat outside together and Callie started to talk about a boy she liked that was being a jerk to her. Justin then casually responds saying “I’ve known Greg since second grade.He’s always been thickheaded, even if he’s cute.”                         “When you say he’s cute do you mean like…” Callie then begins to ask                “Like, I like boys? Yeah.” 

Of course Callie accepts him wholeheartedly and asks if he’s out to anyone else. He tells her the only other person he’s told is Jesse.(fun fact, this scene was the first time I had ever seen/heard of the word gay) She asks if Jesse’s gay, to which he responds no. Then throughout the rest of the book Justin has a crush on the stage manager Loren and will talk about cute boys around Callie all the time. It’s honestly adorable. He also reads manga which I found hilarious. After this Callie starts to develop a crush on Jesse. He had decided to work on crew with Callie and they bond quite a bit. Then the night of the show comes up. The male lead is played by a guy named West and his girlfriend Bonnie played the female lead. During the first night everything goes well, nothing to crazy. During the final show everything starts to go wrong. West broke up with Bonnie just a few minutes before the show starts so she messes up a lot on stage. Then during intermission she locks herself in a closet and won’t leave. The only other person who knows the role well enough to perform it is Jesse. He had helped his brother practice for auditions so much that he knew every line of her part. So, they throw him in a dress and push him out on stage. He plays the rule perfectly. Soon, the kissing scenes comes up. They sing their duet and then kiss, which blessed the world with these two panels.

Sorry for the bad quality, I could not find digital versions of these panels so I took pictures of my physical copy. What you are seeing right now is two boys kissing in a children’s book. That’s right, this book is for kids. It is also one of the most frequently banned/censored books out there. Also, they never joke about Jesse wearing a dress which is cool.

After the show has ended the 8th grade formal is coming up. Callie’s asks Justin if he’s going to ask a boy, to which Justin responds with a definite know saying his dad would flip. Callie then says he could invite Liz (her best friend) as a friend while not-so-subtly trying to convey the fact that she wants Jesse to ask her. Soon Jesse does ask her and she is ecstatic. They go together and are having fun until a slow song comes on. Then Jesse says he’s going to the bathroom and disappears for almost two hours before Callie is able to find him. He was sitting on the front steps talking to West. For two hours, which is really what ticked Callie off. She yells at him for a little before storming off home. A few days (I think) later she is talking to Jesse in the auditorium about his upcoming graduation and the topic of the dance comes up. Jesse tries to apologize but she brushes it off. She then asks if him and West are together. Jesse says that he’s not really sure because West is still trying to figure himself out. They even use the word biAt no point was Callie mad at him for leading her on, just for bailing on her really. 

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that Drama is a great book with LGBT themes and more people should know about it. Part of my love for it is that my grandmother bought it for me because the cover had a stage on it and I’m a huge theatre nerd and it ended up literally teaching me that gay people exist when I was eleven-ish (I was kinda sheltered, if that’s what you want to call it). Thank you for your time.    

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From bestselling graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier comes Ghosts

Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake – and her own… @goraina

Ever since starting to work in the children’s section more often, I’ve been on a major kid’s book kick. I was unsure at first whether to include them here, in either reviews or the 52-book challenge list, but I stand by my declaration that any adult who can’t enjoy a good children’s book is a least a little dead in the heart. So! Here’s what I’ve been reading, and loving, recently:


Flora and Ulysses: An Illustrated Adventure - Kate DiCamillo

What a charming, heartwarming and surprisingly funny book. Ulysses is a squirrel granted unusual abilities by being sucked into an out-of-control vacuum cleaner. Flora, suspicious of others and wounded by her parents’ recent divorce, lives in comic books. She thinks Ulysses is a superhero. Our loving squirrel, it turns out, is much more interested in eating snacks and writing poetry. What follows is pure magic. Events bounce exuberantly along as Ulysses is kidnapped, lost and eventually rescued, a full cast of odd characters coalescing around the pair. The funny bits whizz out of nowhere. The ending is just delightful. What a trip! No matter your age, this is one to read.

Drama - Raina Telgemeir

Drama is one of the sweetest books for young readers I can think of. (There are so many problem novels for that age group; where are all the happy ones?) I’ve been meaning to pick it up for weeks, and finally raced through the whole thing in one sitting yesterday. It was so much better than I expected! It follows the the emotional entanglements of seventh-grade Callie and her friends as they put on a school play. What really makes this book shine, though, are the characters. Exuberant Justin and sweetly shy Jesse, Callie with her crushes, her creativity and staunch convictions. How I wish this book had existed during my own middle school years! I especially appreciated the matter-of-fact diversity of its cast. A character’s gayness is both a plot point and entirely unproblematic: ah, to have more such books!

(I’ve been reading Jo Walton’s What Makes This Book So Great, and a frequent refrain of hers is how hard it can be to talk objectively about something you love. Yes, I am completely aware this description is mostly burbling and exclamation points. So be it. I dare you to read this book without smiling like an idiot.)

Amulet, books 1 through 5 - Kazu Kibuishi

I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure about this one at first. How transparent can an author’s influences be? Do we really need to kick-start the story with the tragic loss of a parent again? We lose the father, but thankfully, Emily’s mother not only survives, but becomes an active participant in her children’s adventures. The story also develops in complexity, so I started to see the characters and their plotlines as more than just tacked-together pieces of other things.

Honestly, the plot of Amulet is almost beside the point. A young girl is granted a magic amulet and tossed with her family into a fantasy universe of giant monsters, warring forces, elves and animal people. Houses get up and walk, robots serve but also feel love and loyalty, and all kinds of flying machines dot the sky. The central question is one of duty, loyalty and self-sacrifice. Is it possible to wield near-absolute power and still know what’s right? If people can betray you, should you trust them anyway?Since the series is ongoing, it’s hard to discuss with any sense of completeness. So much of what makes something good depends on how it ends, after all. But despite the distraction of its disparate influences, Amulet is surprisingly addictive. I’ll be keeping an eye out for its completion.

Cleopatra goes to school

Despite being “the chosen one”–destined to save Ailuros, stop the Xerx invasion, defeat Octavian, and bring peace to the entire galaxy–young Cleopatra still has to deal with school. It’s seriously not fair, but there’s an upside: She gets to take Target Practice: a subject where Cleo can excel.

Market Monday

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she’s a terrible singer. Instead she’s the set designer for the stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage and offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen, and when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier! Following the success of Smile, Raina Telgemeier brings us another graphic novel featuring a diverse set of characters that humorously explores friendship, crushes, and all-around drama!

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October reads: (left) spooky/thriller reads and (right) anticipated reads, although not spooky and not the spooky thriller kind, but definitely thrilling!

What books are you planning to read this October?