If you’ve been around comics or graphic novels as long as I have you understand the impact of #1 New York Times Bestselling, Eisner Award winning Raina Telgemeier. She’s a force in the community. She’s also pretty cool.
I’ve had the privilege of meeting Raina a small handful of times, even got to moderate a panel with her, R.L. Stine, and Gale Galligan at C2E2 in 2018. That was a blast!
At that time, as I remember, Guts was being teased. Almost everyone in that C2E2 panel room was ready for another Raina book, myself included, but when it came out in September of last year, I waited to read it.
Like most books, movies, shows, etc., I have to be ready to take it in. And it wasn’t until I decided to bring back my daily reviews that I felt ready, and gosh, I’m glad I was ready. This is my favorite Raina Telgemeier book.
If you are a fan of Raina’s books, then you know, many of them are autobiographical with slight changes for story consideration. This one strikes me as much more personal than the others. It deals with bowel issues; how can you get more personal than that? Fourth and fifth-grade kids talking about personal intestinal issues and going to therapy?
We all have issues, and growing up, we keep lots to ourselves because either that’s what we are taught, OR we are embarrassed because “normal” people do not discuss such things. Society, especially for kids, can really suck.
I love that Raina looks at issues like that in this book and says…you know what? I’m going to help people understand that these things are normal, and if you need to talk about them with others, you should. There is a wonderful essay in the back of the book where Raina talks to young readers and encourages them to reach out and find their courage if they need help or have questions. It’s important.
Besides the obvious thematic elements that I love, the colors in this book are magnificent.
There’s something to the pastel color-palette that strikes a chord with me. It reminds me of a comforting Easter morning. I know that sound silly, but I hope it makes sense. Pair the solid, bold colors with the large panels, and you have a graphic novel that is magnificent to watch unfold.
I have one criticism of the book: it’s not long enough! I know, it is over 200 pages, and I can’t imagine the hours of work that went into it, but I was in. From the story to look of the pages…this is a winner. Kids and adults will appreciate everything Raina does here.
Put a copy of this book on every school shelf that you can. Read it. Pass it along to kids that you think might value it. And they don’t need to have stomach issues! This book is about more than that. It’s about facing fear, feeling like an outcast, and finding your voice.
Happy Teaching! Happy Reading!