Middle Grade Graphic Novel: Smile

This was SUCH a cool book.

This is the first ever graphic novel I’ve reviewed AND read. I loved it so much I’m really keen to read more.

I felt this book so much. I had braces and a headgear and a plate when I was primary school and going into high school, so I felt this book in my bones.It reads so well, the pictures are AWESOME. I wish I had this book as a young kid with braces as I think it is perfect for its target audience and incredibly relatable.

Smile follows Raina (the author!) who just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts, she trips and falls and the poor darl seriously hurts her front teeth. After this she has to go through some traumatic and blatantly embarrassing dental work over a long period of time including all kinds of braces, surgery, head gears and even fake teeth. I felt so sorry for her knowing it is such a tough time in young adolescence when you are trying to figure out who you are and where you fit in in terms of friendships and boys and school… and throwing this all in the mix must have been horrific.

Smile is perfectly written, it felt so real and truly encapsulated that feeling of how everything is so incredibly important at that age and how stressful things like image and friendships and anxiety can be. I really loved the illustrations and think they make the whole book incredibly readable and fun.

Every kid who has to go through the gruelling prospect of having braces or and dental work should be given this book afterwards.

Smile actually came out ten years ago but Scholastic released this limited edition version with a super lovely shining hardcover. I am holding onto this one in case one of my kids has braces and I can pass this on. It also includes extras from the author and I was surprised/delighted to read that this entire story is completely autobiographical and is based on the author’s own experiences. That poor poor girl, and even includes photos of when she had no front teeth. Made me feel better about my experience!

To get yourself a copy of this book, click here!

Also, you can find me on Twinkl’s Library Lover’s Campaign, to take part, visit their Library Lover’s Day 2021 blog!

Title: Smile

Author & Illustrator: Raina Telgemeier

Publisher: Scholastic

Published: 2010 (originally)

Ages: 9 – 12 years


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