Move over, Anne of Green Gables! Watch out, American Girls! There are some awesome new girls on the book shelves that kids are reading—and they are all featured in comic books!
Smile by Raina Telgemeier
The author's true story of dental drama helped popularize the graphic novel memoir in classrooms around the nation. After a bad fall, young Raina spends years in and out of braces, retainers, and the dentist’s chair. On top of that she has to deal with crushes, unfriendly friends, and getting ready for junior high. This comic also won an Eisner Award, the top prize for comics and graphic novels.
In the sequel, Sisters, Raina paints a portrait of her difficult relationship with her annoying sister. Both stories are well written and drawn to perfection, but what’s really great about these books is that they never speak down to the kids reading them.
El Deafo by Cece Bell
El Deafo, a 2015 Newberry Honor Winner, tells the story of the author’s hearing difficulties that led her to wearing “the phonic ear,” a huge clunky device that gives her really good hearing. In fact, she’s even hearing things she shouldn’t be hearing: whispered gossip, teachers' private moments, and even her own friends' secrets. Will El Deafo use this new “superpower” for good…or evil?
Tomboy by Liz Prince
For all the girls who dream of being Jedi instead of princesses, Liz Prince’s autobiography about being the only girl in town creating her fashion statements from the boys’ clothing racks hits home in a big way. Uncomfortable in dresses and anxiously body conscious, young Liz decides to take herself out of the female equation and don boys' clothes that match her “boy” interests like comics, Star Wars, and rock music. Is it a phase or can she find a way to express who she is without worrying about gender hang-ups?
This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki
This very serious teen book inexplicably received a Newberry honor, a distinction usually given to books found in the picture book bins. This comic book masterpiece features two tween girls learning the ropes of womanhood by watching the neighborhood boys chase after the teen girls they’ll soon become. The Tamaki cousins create a brutally honest portrait of what it is truly like to grow up girl.