This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki


One of my favorite collections in the library is our collection of graphic novels. Yes, we have Superman and manga, but we also have many other complex, beautiful and literary stories expressed through this medium. And one of my favorite graphic novels is the Caldecott and Printz award-winning This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki. This One Summer the story of two girls who meet every summer for their families vacations on Awago Beach. But this year is different. Rose is growing up, her parents’ marriage is in trouble, and Rose and her younger friend Windy are growing apart. As Rose and Windy explore the island together, they become witnesses to a tragedy involving older teens.

Like last week’s featured book Althea & Oliver, one of the most likable things about this book is its realism, honesty and clarity about the struggles of growing up. Reading this book, I was reminded of similar situations I faced as a tween and young teen. Teens and adults will relate to this book for different reasons, and it would be a great book for the family to explore together as part of a summer reading activity. Try asking your kids what they would do in similar situations–or think about how you handled difficult times when you were a teen. The book’s sincere, affecting art, rendered in shades of blue, highlights the experiences of youth that can’t always be expressed in words. Occasional mature (but not explicit) content and strong language make this a good choice for more grown-up children. It should be a big hit with ages 14 and up, including adults who are ready to dig in to a graphic novel that goes beyond the Avengers.

Similar reads: Peanut, El Deafo, Persepolis

Find it in the library: That One Summer