Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Raina Telgemeier's newest book Ghosts!

I couldn't wait to read Raina Telgemeier's new book Ghosts. As I've written before, I became a huge fan of hers the first time I read Smile. Ever since then, I've eagerly awaited her books, and since this one was about ghosts, one of my favorite topics to read about, it was a little torturous waiting over a year for it.

I picked up the book this afternoon at B&N so the library can have a copy available ASAP, and I was excited that I'd be the first one to read it. As soon as I got home, I started in on it.

Well, actually, the first thing I did when I got it home was to take a nice long sniff  of it. It had that wonderful new book smell to it. I rarely buy new books because I either borrow them from a library (duh) or purchase used/vintage/antique copies at thrift stores.

My husband took this picture of me while I was busy sniffing the book:

Like Telgemeier's other books, Ghosts is a quick, fun read. I can read her books in about an hour, but most younger readers don't require a whole lot of time to finish them either. It's one of the wonderful things about graphic novels.  Finishing a whole book i a short span of time is really empowering for a kid, especially ones who struggle with reading and comprehension.

While Smile and Sisters are biographical, Drama and Ghosts draw some inspiration from the author's life, but they are fictitious. Ghosts centers on Cat, who is forced to move with her family to Northern California so that her younger sister Maya, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, can reap the benefits of the cooler climate.

They move to a town that prides itself on its ghosts; specifically, the ghosts of long-dead people who return to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos, the Mexican holiday that honors family members who have died.

I love reading about ghosts because I love horror, but readers who aren't into horror shouldn't keep away from the book because of that aspect; the ghosts are comical and make the subject of death- realism for families who are forced to deal with cystic fibrosis complications on a daily basis- much more accessible for younger readers and even light-hearted. Telgemeier's story is genuine, and communicates the relatable emotions of all her others, but it's not a somber story. Her familiar style of drawing and the colorful contributions of Mexican imagery give the book more of a celebratory mood rather than a frightening tone.

A graphic novel that includes Spanish dialogue and an introduction to Mexican culture is a welcome addition to pretty much any library collection as we all continue to advocate for diversity in our literary lexicon.

I admit that Smile is, and probably will always be my favorite Telgemeier book, but Ghosts is a unique story, and a worthy contribution to an art form that is so often boiled down into superheroes and manga.

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