Saturday, September 17, 2016

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Break out the tamales, the Fanta (that's orange soda, right?), concha (yum--"sorta like a donut"), a bag of your favorite Halloween candy, a bouquet of marigolds, a couple of tissues and take an escape to the Northern California coast for awhile.  The most talented, incredibly imaginative, I-just-want-to-meet-and-leap-with-you Raina Telgemeier has unsurprisingly done it once again.

6th grader Cat and her family just moved to Bahia de la luna from Southern California.  And although Cat isn't impressed with the scenery, I certainly am from Raina's illustrations.  Cat's sister, Maya, has had cystic fibrosis since birth.  The family's move North is with hopes that she will feel and breathe better. Interestingly, this is at least the second book this year which includes a significant move for a younger sibling's health (see Counting Thyme).

The thing about Baha de la luna is that it is home to many ghosts.  Cat and Maya's introduction is neighbor, Carlos's ghost tour.  Want to see more?  Be sure and be around on the Day of the Dead. But after the ghosts they meet with Carlos inhale some of fragile Maya's breath, Cat is on her own to explore their new surroundings, and make friends (both alive and dead).  This is not a fearless gig for her, especially on the eve of Halloween and the midnight Day of the Dead party, and is not something Cat jumps into enthusiastically.

I cried tears of joy when I met Jenni Holm at ALA in 2015 and then riled up the courage to ask her to leap with me.  I imagine the same will happen with Raina, if I ever get face time with Raina.  How people can be so talented literally "blows" me away, something like Cat did with Carlos and Jose.  Raina's heart warming and thought provoking text paired with her unique style and detailed images of a diverse family and new friends make this one I couldn't put down and can't wait to talk about with students.

Right now my Smile, Sisters, and Drama are all pretty tattered, always checked out, quite loved and well read.  As soon as I get a copy of Ghosts, I'm sure it won't take long to join that club.

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