Friday, October 31, 2014


Title: Sisters 
Author: Raina Telgemeier  
Illustrator: RainaTelgemeier 
Publisher: Scholastic 
Publication Date: August 26th, 2014 
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction - Memoir/Graphic Novel 
GoodReads Summary: The companion to Raina Telgemeier's #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling and Eisner Award-winning graphic memoir, SMILE.

Raina can't wait to be a big sister. But once Amara is born, things aren't quite how she expected them to be. Amara is cute, but she's also a cranky, grouchy baby, and mostly prefers to play by herself. Their relationship doesn't improve much over the years, but when a baby brother enters the picture and later, something doesn't seem right between their parents, they realize they must figure out how to get along. They are sisters, after all.

Raina uses her signature humor and charm in both present-day narrative and perfectly placed flashbacks to tell the story of her relationship with her sister, which unfolds during the course of a road trip from their home in San Francisco to a family reunion in Colorado. 
What I Think: Today is Halloween but I have more of a treat to share than a trick. Sisters is another great story from Raina Telgemeier. I love that she wrote another graphic-memoir. I gave El Deafo to my sister to read but now I'm going to make sure she reads Sisters. Just for fun, here's a picture of my sister and me when we went apple picking in September.
     If readers have a sister like I do, they'll completely relate to this book. I can't imagine how you couldn't. But whether you have siblings or are an only child, Raina also captures feelings and experiences that are part of growing up. I especially enjoy how she captures what she learns about herself but also what she learns about her relationship in this book.
     A couple summers ago we went to Kids Read Comics in Michigan over the summer and Raina presented on how to take one event and make it into a whole story. It was neat to watch her take one of the audience member's moments and expand upon it until it was a page of comic panels. As a writer, there are often times when we say too much in writing but there are also times when you can take a moment, freeze it in time, look at it from a 360 spin view and expand. There are definitely times for both so it's a good skill to have. When you need to cut something or someone from your book, you just have to let it go. When you have to expand, it's easy to feel like it's just not possible to write more but I've found that you can breathe life into situations by slowing down and thinking about how to describe the moment and then asking your characters to say something.
     Writing a personal narrative or memoir isn't. To me it can seem frustrating because you want to tell an engaging story but at the same time you want to be true to what happened. For me, it's much easier to infuse my own experiences or bits and feelings of emotions into fictional stories...but as a mentor text, Smile and Sisters both offer examples of how you can take a moment and describe what is happening and use characters to build what is happening.
Read Together: Grades 3 - 8 
Read Alone: Grades 4 - 8 
Read With: Smile and Drama by Raina Telgemeier, Chloe Instead by Micah Player, El Deafo by CeCe Bell, Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge,
Snatch of Text:  
Writing Prompts: Write about an experience you had with one or all of your siblings or as an only child. Do you ever wish you had more siblings? How might things be different if you did have more siblings?
Topics Covered: Family, Siblings, Relationships, Friendship, Courage  
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