seal of approval

SEAL OF APPROVAL: DRAMA by Raina Telgemeier

Seal of Approval: DRAMA by Raina Telgemeier Written by Grant Goodman, 4/29/2015

Raina’s first graphic novel, SMILE, is one of the most popular books in my classroom library. I have had two copies fall apart from being read so many times. When I saw her speak at the National Book Festival in DC two years ago, she did an amazing job of connecting with the audience and even invited some of the younger ones to help her in creating a comic on the stage. An all-around A+ person!

DRAMA has been out for a little while, but I didn’t get around to reading it until this week. It has all of the successful pieces that made SMILE so enjoyable:

  1. The main character is a girl who is trying to find her place in school. In this case, Callie is a member of the drama production team at her school, helping out with set design.
  2. Her issues are the everyday issues that teens run into. She’s got a crush on a guy who already has a girlfriend. Her little brother is annoying. The drama budget doesn’t allow her to make the stage props she dreams of making. She’s wondering if someone will ask her to go to the school dance.
  3. The art is clean, colorful, and clearly emotive.

At its heart, DRAMA is about a cast of young people learning about who they are. Cassie has her heart set on being a part of the arts. One of the boys she meets has realized that he likes other boys. It’s all about identity.

DRAMA is an all-around winner of a graphic novel. Add it to your shelves immediately.

Seal of Approval - THE RISE OF AURORA WEST by Paul Pope, JT Petty, and David Rubin

Seal of Approval – THE RISE OF AURORA WEST by Paul Pope, JT Petty, and David Rubin Aurora-West-Paul-Pope-Main

Written by Grant Goodman, 1/7/2015

A few weeks ago I was awestruck by Paul Pope’s BATTLING BOY graphic novel. I was searching for the sequel, which I thought I had found when I came across THE RISE OF AURORA WEST. But something was different about it. Unlike the original comic, this one was the size of a manga. And the art was all black and white. And it turned out to be a prequel.

That said, AURORA is another great graphic novel work seeking out. It builds upon the world that Pope set up in BATTLING BOY and gives far more time for us to learn about the daughter of hero Haggard West.

Needless to say, Aurora is shaping up to be a character with depth. We learn about her family history, an invisible friend, and her insanely busy education and physical training schedule.

The honest criticism: this is not as good as BATTLING BOY. The art seems slap-dash at times and the story has a weird moment in which Aurora turns to one of her classmates out of nowhere and says something along the lines of, “Hey, can I trust you and tell you everything?” Then she brings him along on all of her investigations.

That said, it’s still a fun read. Plus, I really wanted to know way more about the worlds and the people Pope will be working with as he expands his main story and this provided some very cool insights (and plot twists!)