I always loved reading the children's books nominated for awards in the states where I lived. This book won the Iowa award this year.
Winner: Iowa Children’s Choice Award, 2011-2012
(it also won awards in other states including Maine and Vermont)
Smile is a graphic novel chronicling the life of Raina as she goes through middle school and into high school. She experiences good friends and not-so-good friends, orthodontics with serious complications, siblings, crushes, major and minor embarrassments, and even an earthquake. Through it all, can Raina “Smile?”
I don’t have much experience with graphic novels, so it took a bit for me to get into that format. Once I did, Smile was quick, easy, and fun to read. It seemed like a sort of stream of consciousness style of writing, but managed to masterfully work in all kinds of important themes. The main character and author share the same name, so I’m not sure if this is meant to be a memoir of sorts—it certainly has many characteristics of middle/high school that I remember.
I can see graphic novels being really appealing to young adult readers and with a story that’s easy to relate to, I’m not surprised at all that Smile won multiple awards. I certainly recommend it!
In what format would you create a memoir? What do you most remember about middle/high school?