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Books in Brief: A Hodgepodge

Share Your Smile: Raina's Guide to Telling Your Own StoryI’ve been reading such a hodgepodge of books! There’s no rhyme or reason to what I’m reading. There are review copies coming to my doorstep that interest me and books arriving in new shipments and books I hear about finally available at the library. So here’s a few random titles…

Share Your Smile
By Raina Telgemeier
Graphix, May 2019, 144 pp. $12.99
Grades 3 and up

I can attest to the fact that I cannot keep anything by Raina Telgemeier in the library. Whether it’s the Baby Sitter’s Club or any of her memoirs or stand-alone graphic novels, her titles don’t stay on the shelves.

Share Your Smile allows young readers create their own graphic novel. Using excerpts from her titles, Telgemeier gives readers step-by-step directions on how they can share their own stories. There are pages left mostly blank to write their own prose and draw or paste in their own pictures.

Though this isn’t an original concept, Telgemeier’s popularity will definitely entice readers to jump in and hopefully tap into their own creativity. This is probably not a title many libraries will purchase, because of its intended use as a personal journal, but for libraries who are willing to risk users writing inside the book, it’s a worthwhile purchase. I remember that when Adventures in Cartooning came out, the publisher offered print-your-own labels that said it was a library copy, don’t write in this. Or pick it up as a gift for your favorite young person.

divided earthThe Divided Earth: The Nameless City
By Faith Erin Hicks
First Second, $21.99, 2018.
Grades 7 and up

The conclusion of the Nameless City trilogy has been out in bookstores since September, but I only recently had a chance to read the it. It’s been a really long time since I read the first two volumes… back to back… and I was concerned about whether or not I would remember the bits and pieces, but as soon as I started to read, I picked it up as if I had just finished reading the other two volumes.

The Dao are invading the city and things are in chaos. Mura is given the job of preparing the Napatha – an all powerful weapon. Kaidu and Rat are determined to stop Mura from using it and to return the power to the Named. There are lots of twists and turns and plenty of action scenes. The rich colors that give the aura of fire throughout the book lend a sense of excitement to this final volume.

time museumThe Time Museum V. 2
By Matthew Loux
First Second, $14.99, 2019
Grades 5 and up
The rip-roaring adventure continues! In volume 1, group of teens from different time periods are brought together to travel through time and save the Time Museum. In this volume, they are sent to France to save an importance alliance between the U.S. and the French, but they inadvertently get trapped in a time loop—and see their other selves at the same time. Brightly colored and fast moving artwork will keep readers engaged. The title is packed with humor and adventure. A good pick for fans of the first volume for sure.

Esther Keller About Esther Keller

Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. Her collection is also the model for all middle school libraries in NYC. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library, and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.


  1. Great article– my son is excited for all these books, especially Raina’s!

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