Saturday, February 04, 2023

Frankie's World, The Golden Hour, and Goddess Girls

I read three graphic novels this Shabbat.

Frankie's World by Aoife Dooley is a book that should be in every middle-school classroom and every children’s library. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. 

Frankie is an 11-year-old Irish girl who thinks she might be an alien. Her brain doesn’t work like anyone else’s she knows, and she keeps saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. She wants to meet her father, because she believes he might be able to explain why she is the way she is. The book is a wonderful introduction to autism in girls, written and drawn by a woman with autism. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Golden Hour by Niki Smith is a modern masterpiece that deserves the great reviews it has received. It deals with the tough topics of school shootings (one teacher is shot, but she recovers) and PTSD in young people, but against a gorgeous rural backdrop and through the lens of an adolescent who loves photography. The story is funny and touching, and the art is gorgeous. This might be a good graphic novel for a young person either dealing with anxiety or PTSD or who knows someone dealing with anxiety or PTSD. The book also teaches a little about photography and composition, as well as farm life. It’s a great book.

Goddess Girls: Athena the Brain by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams reimagines Zeus as the principal of a high school and the other characters of Greek mythology as the students. Athena has no idea she’s a goddess until she gets a letter from Zeus, who tells her she is his daughter and Hermes will be picking her up to take her to Olympus Academy. There she makes friends with Aphrodite and Pandora.

This book is okay. The writing and art are both fine. It’s a nice introduction to Greek mythology, but there’s no real conflict and no depth. The main girls are cheerleaders, and most of the girls in the book are a bit too boy obsessed. Personalities really don't go very far beyond “this is the smart one, this is the pretty one, and this is the curious one.” Still, I do think this could appeal to some very young girls, maybe in grades three and four, as an alternative to all the fairy and princess books.

And that’s it. I also started a fourth graphic novel I’m really enjoying, and I look forward to reviewing it next week. 

Happy reading!

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