Friday Reads: SMILE by Raina Telgemeier

We bought a house! Posts will be pretty sporadic while we clean and pack and move, but this summer will be full of goodness. I’ll be participating in #PitchToPublication as one of the freelance editors, and I’ll be hosting #70pit the first week of July. So get those manuscripts ready for some full requests! For now, here’s a quick review of Smile, a middle-grade graphic novel memoir by Raina Telgemeier.


Everyone in my family adored this graphic memoir.

I was reading it in my hammock outside and kept laughing. Soon my husband came over (he’s the one with orthodontic experience) and began reading with me, laughing and reading his favorite quotes aloud. Then our son came and joined us, reading along.

The toddler wasn’t particularly interested, though. I’m thankful, because the hammock was already dragging on the ground at that point.

As for the actual content, Raina (the main character) goes through middle and high school, relaying her dental and social dramas. Telgemeier (the author/illustrator/adult) managed to fit a lot into a single volume graphic novel. Secondary characters were drawn in the 2D cartoony style but weren’t flat caricatures of people.


Click to view sample pages on Amazon.

Telgemeier can pack so much emotion into one facial expression—she’s insanely talented as an illustrator! But her storytelling is also finely crafted. We’ve got subplots, conflicts, friends and foes, self reflection. Life lessons aren’t a prerequisite for me in juvenile literature. Smile does have them, but Telgemeier never lectures her audience. Teen Raina is conversational, assuring and inspiring.

Recommended for 5th and 6th graders, and for anyone who’s survived middle school and/or orthodontia.

Characters: MBTI continued

Last week I gave you a little “quiz” to use to figure out the Myers-Briggs of you or your characters.

This week I am giving you another little helpful chart about eight divisions of the MBTI types. As before, please see the official Myers-Briggs page here, or read more about typing on blogs dedicated to typing. Again, these are my favorites: Which MBTI Type… and  MBTI Types.

Below you will find a downloadable reference I created for the sixteen MBTI types divided into eight groups of two. I gave examples of fictional characters that, I think, embody those types. In real life, people are complex and may not fit neatly into one of the divisions. (I certainly don’t.) Fiction imitates life, so well-written characters are pretty complex, too. See my note about Hermione Granger following the images. Continue reading