Book talk: Braces were going to be bad enough, but when Raina trips and knocks out her two front teeth she's in for an even longer journey full of pain and trips to various -dontists. It will take years to get her mouth looking normal again. While she waits she has to deal with friends who are acting less and less friendly, decide who she wants to be, and cope with all the other usual pains of growing up. Sometimes it seems like nothing will ever be right again and she's finding it more and more difficult to find reasons to smile.
Rocks my socks: I went through braces, an expander, retainers, and headgear when I was growing up, but that was all nothing compared to Raina. It was cathartic to read about experiences that were similar to and even worse than my own (I remember customizing my retainer and nearly spit out my drink when one of Raina's friends shows her the picture of Joey McIntyre on hers.) I love the way Raina illustrates concepts--for example to show how she was always thinking of her crush she draws a thought bubble reading "15...16...Sean" as she enters the combination for her locker. My favorite part by far though was when she finally stood up to her mean friends. She ends up finding new ones that she gets along with better and I think it will be a great example for other students.
|I love the way Raina depicts the Loma Prieta earthquake|
|I found her description of growing up particularly apt--it's funny because it's true!|
Every book its reader: I'd give this to anyone who has had any major dental or orthodontic work done or who soon will. Despite all she goes through Raina says in an end note that she is actually not afraid of dentists and believes that they can do a lot of good. This will give students an idea of what to expect without being too negative. Of course anyone looking for a good comic about middle school will enjoy it as well. I'd give it to 5th graders and up.
Raina has her own website with some illustrations, free webcomics, and more
Scholastic has a trailer for the book over on YouTube
Scholastic has a comics creator game for it as well that allows you to make your own comic using images from the comic
Smile by Raina Telgemeier: Buy it or check it out today!