Amy Says Read This

Seriously, you should totally read this.

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Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Image from

Image from

Telgemeier, R. (2012). Drama. New York: Graphiz. ISBN: 9780545326995

Annotation: As Callie tries to design and build the BEST SET EVER! for the school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she’s also got to deal crushes both old and new.

Reaction: I read Telgemeier’s Smile, her autobiographical account of undergoing massive dental work in middle school, for my Graphic Novels class in Spring 2012, and one of the things that I really about both that book and this one is that Telgemeier does a great job portraying what it’s like to be a 12 year old girl. Smily is great as it deals with friendships, good and bad, and trying to fit in despite looking different from everyone else.

Drama is wonderful because of the depictions of middle school theater. she really captures the camaraderie and drama and FUN of being in a theater program. I could totally relate, despite having my theater experiences in high school rather than middle school.

I love that Callie herself has no major drama in her life. She likes her family, she’s got good friends, and maybe she has some trouble with boys, but what 7th grade girl doesn’t?! The main conflict in the story is Callie and the rest of the theater group overcoming hurdles and trying to put on the best show they possibly can. Also, Callie likes some boys who may or may not like her back.

I love that Telgemeier prominently features a character who is gay, and that all his friends are accepting and loving toward him. Drama has a pretty diverse cast of well developed characters who are wonderful and fun.

If you’ve ever read The Baby Sitter’s Club graphic novels, than you’ll recognize the art in Drama, as Telgmeier illustrated both. I love her style. She has great cartoony characters and bright colors. The art is engaging and the panels flow really smoothly.

* A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2012
* A Washington Post Best Book of 2012
* New York Times Editors’ Choice
* Booklist Editors’ Choice
* NPR: Graphic Novels that Flew Under the Radar
* New York Public Library’s 100 Titles For Reading and Sharing
* School Library Journal Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2012

Media Used: From the author’s FAQ: “I sketch out all my pages on plain 8.5 x 11 paper, and then create a full-sized version of those sketches on Bristol board, using a Col-erase light blue colored pencil. Over that, I pencil each panel pretty tightly with an F graphite pencil. Panel borders (and sometimes lettering, if I’m doing it by hand) are inked with a Faber Castell F pen. Finally, I ink over the penciled drawings with Dr. Martin’s waterproof India ink and a no. 2 Windsor & Newton sable brush, and erase the pencil lines with a Staedtler Mars plastic eraser.”

Author’s Website


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The Banshee by Eve Bunting

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Image from

Bunting, E., & McCully, E. A. (ill.) (2009). The Banshee. Boston: Clarion Books. ISBN: 9780618821624

Annotation: Young Terry is awoken one night at his home in Ireland to an awful wailing. It’s the Banshee, foretelling death in his house! Can he convince her to leave his family alone?

Reaction: I really like the team Eve Bunting and Emily Arnold McCully make. McCully does a great job of translating Bunting’s words into beautiful illustrations that get across the mood and tone of the story. Her watercolors are washed in greys, indicating night as well as spookiness.

Bunting’s story introduces readers to the Irish superstition of the Banshee, a wailing woman who foretells death nearby, and she gives a portrayal of how that superstition might affect a child. I like that Bunting often introduces kids to different perspectives from what they’re used to, and this book could start a discussion about other bogeyman sort of superstitions they know about.

While this isn’t really a Halloween story, I think it’s one that could be read with older kids during that time of the year. The story is a little spooky and probably too scary for the preschool and under set, so I would wait to read it with children who appreciate fiction and that thrill of being a little scared.

Media Used: Watercolor

Author’s Website: None

Illustrator’s Website