When You've Read All the Raina Telgemeier... (Part 2)
I didn't want to overwhelm you with too many titles in my first Raina readalikes post, but boy do I have more. If you love Raina Telgemeier's books so much that the only ones you haven't read are the ones she hasn't published yet, there are so many other books you can enjoy in the meantime!
This list, like the last one, includes graphic novels and traditional novels, realistic stories and fantasy, brand new titles and older ones you might have missed. The main thing all these titles have in common with Raina Telgemeier's books is that they portray kids and tweens as interesting, thoughtful, funny, smart, dynamic people -- which, of course, they really are! So consider pausing before reading Smile for the 18th time, and maybe try out one of these first:
New Kid by Jerry Craft
Kids who love comics, both reading them and drawing their own, are likely to relate to protagonist Jordan, who is a budding cartoonist himself. As such, he wants to go to art school, but instead winds up caught between two worlds -- the world of an elite private school where he is one of only a handful of kids of color, and the world of the neighborhood he grew up in. Does he belong in either? Craft doesn't shy away from the painful presence of racism in Jordan's life, but manages to create fun and levity as well.
The Moon Within by Aida Salazar
This novel-in-verse manages to deal with a girl's first period and the pain and wonder of puberty, the complexity of cultural and gender identity, the challenges of mother-daughter relationships, the ups and downs of a first crush, and the difficulty of discovering who you are while simultaneously being a good friend -- and it does it successfully and fluidly, without feeling forced or didactic. With moments of humor sprinkled throughout the intensity of pubescent emotions, this book took me back to my Judy Blume days while also reflecting cultural & personal experiences that we so desperately need represented in kids' books (for more on that, check out #weneeddiversebooks).
Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova
Middle school is awkward, and you definitely don't want to be on the mean kids' radar. But what if, in your effort to blend in, you wind up being mean yourself? A realistic tale of the trials and moral ambiguity of tween social dynamics, Awkward has fun manga-inspired art and a protagonist at the center who is relatable no matter what social group you fit into.
Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel adapted by Mariah Marsden & illustrated by Brenna Thummler
This graphic novel adaptation of L.M. Montgomery's classic will not disappoint fans of the original, and will bring the antics and adventures of precocious, lovable, thoughtful Anne to a new audience. I cannot emphasize enough how gorgeous and lush the art is in this book -- it really brings to life the magical beauty that Anne sees when she looks at Green Gables.
Mya's Strategy to Save the World by Tanya Lloyd Kyi
Mya cares a lot about social justice, and she is full of ambition to make the world a better place. She also desperately wants to prove how grown-up she is to her parents so that they'll let her get a cell phone (granted, they never said they would do that, but she's got a plan). Throw in the fact that her mom is currently away taking care of her grandmother all the way in Myanmar, and the result is Mya taking on LOTS of responsibility. She may, in fact, be in a little over her head. The publisher calls this title a "Dork Diaries for today's socially conscious young readers," which seems like a pretty accurate description of its vibe.
Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol
A fresh take on an outsider longing to fit in, this semi-autobiographical graphic novel is hilarious. Feeling like she doesn't quite fit at school -- or anywhere else, really -- Russian-American Vera is looking forward to Russian Orthodox summer camp; maybe this will be her place to shine. But of course, it can't be that easy, right? Did I mention this book is super funny? The humor is both subtle and laugh-out-loud, and I can't get over how CUTE Brosgol's monochrome art is. I mean, look at these panels, set at Vera's classmate's birthday sleepover extravaganza:
Complicity! Chamber Pot! HA! Definitely a great pick for fans of Kate Beaton as well.
All Summer Long by Hope Larson
Here we have another summer story, although in this one, thirteen-year-old Bina stays home and it's her best friend, Austin, who goes to camp. She doesn't really know what to do with herself in her boredom, and really digs into playing guitar, which becomes so much more than just a casual hobby. If you're itching for a story of a girl coming into her own that doesn't involve boy drama, this is a great choice. Fans of stories about girls who rock out may also enjoy Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly and Celia C. Pérez's The First Rule of Punk.
Glitch by Sarah Graley
Izzy and Eric are best friends, and they are both pumped to play Dungeon City, a new video game set to arrive at Izzy's house the day it comes out. They promise to play it together for the first time and set a date, but when it comes in the mail, Izzy decides she should try it out, just in case. No big deal, right? Sure. Except she gets sucked into the game...literally. Gamers, lovers of stories about friendship and fans of Gene Luen Yang's Secret Coders series and Cory Doctorow's In Real Life may especially enjoy.