Holm, Jennifer L. and Matthew Holm. Sunny Side Up. New York: Graphix, 2015. 978-0-545-74166-8. 217p. $12.99. Gr. 3-7.
Sunny Lewin is a ten year old girl growing up in Pennsylvania in the mid-1970s. She is being forced to fly to Florida alone to spend part of her summer vacation with her grandfather. Through flashback chapters, we learn that she is being sent away while her family deals with her older brother’s drug problem. In Florida, she meets another boy whose obsession with comic books rubs off on Sunny. Together, they debate the pros and cons of hiding one’s identity and keeping secrets. Sunny eventually bursts from the strain of keeping her family’s secret and realizes she does not have to keep holding everything inside. The authors’ note at the end explains that the story is somewhat autobiographical and hopes to help children deal with the stress of addiction in their family. Told with warmth and humor, and many detailed nods to the time period (Dorothy Hamill haircuts, Eastern airlines, and metal lunchboxes with a thermos inside!) unpeeling the layers of Sunny’s story through the graphic format is a wonderful experience. Thoughts: Fans of Raina Telgemeier’s books (Smile, Sisters, Drama) and Jennifer Holm’s novels (The 14th Goldfish) will enjoy this one as well.
Graphic Novel Lisa Weiss, Churchville Elementary School