“Smile” by Raina Telgemeier. A Book Review by Kirsteen McLay-Knopp

Smile 3 cover

This comic-style book is suitable for kids from about age 8 (depending on their reading level).  My 8 year old daughter and 10 year old son both read and loved it.

Set in San Francisco, USA, Smile tells the true story of how, at age 11, the author Raina Telgemeir broke her two top teeth, resulting in numerous trips to the orthodontist and other dental specialists.  The “journey of Raina’s teeth” in the early 1990s is a true story, and not just one about dental issues.

Smile2 FY

Many young people have braces or other things that effect their physical appearance during the “transition” period (teenage years) between childhood and adulthood.  Many will sympathise with Raina’s fate and her concerns about the reactions of her peers.  (Having had braces myself, I “got” where she was coming from).

The story is very reader friendly, as well as interesting and engaging.  A major San Francisco earthquake happens during the course of the story and impacts Raina and her family.

Smile is a story of “growing up”.  The author is eleven years old at the beginning and around fifteen at the end.  As well as telling us the story of her teeth, Telgemeir chronicles the things that were most important to her at this time of life: friendships, romantic crushes, moving from Middle School to High School and, ultimately, her journey towards self-acceptance.  A great read with colourful illustrations, I highly recommend this book!Smile 1 fy

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