Big Apple Diaries

Alyssa Bermudez. Roaring Brook, $22.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-77428-6
Bermudez (My Singing Nana) makes her solo debut with this humorous and sincere graphic novel memoir chronicling her middle school years in New York City. Drawing on her own childhood diaries, recollections with former classmates, and a friend’s “special 9/11 diary with poems, reflections, and news articles,” the telling opens on Sept. 7, 2000. It’s 11-year-old Alyssa’s first week of seventh grade at St. Ignatius, a Catholic school on 84th Street—the burgeoning artist struggles to balance schoolwork with hopes of popularity, and feels socially constrained by her parents’ rules. Utilizing a palette of blacks and blues, as well as lively, fully illustrated diary entries, Alyssa shares her interior life as a shy and artistic half–Puerto Rican, half-white tween with divorced parents. Entries include everything from lighthearted comedy (a disastrous eyebrow mishap) to nervous excitement (her first romance) and—most powerfully—poignant reflection (the aftermath of 9/11). Combining eye-catching layouts with frank vulnerability (“Tomorrow I will be in the vast unknown space of my future”), Bermudez puts her whole heart on the page, and the love she holds for her younger self can be deeply felt in every entry. Ages 8–12. Agent: Claire Easton, Painted Words. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 06/17/2021
Release date: 08/17/2021
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-1-250-77427-9
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