Saturday, April 22, 2023

Saturday Morning Cartoons- Doodles from the Boogie Down

Rodriguez, Stephanie and Bell, Andrea (Contributor).
Doodles from the Boogie Down 
April 25, 2023 by Kokila 
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

It's the early 2000s, and in New York City, applying for high schools is a big thing. Steph lives with her busy but strict mother, who is from the Dominican Republic, and who wants her to keep attending Catholic Schools. Her mother also doesn't allow her to do much by herself, and is super embarassing, walking her to school and buying her the wrong kind of shoes. Steph's friends are looking at a variety of schools, but because she likes art, Steph is very interested in LaGuardia, an  arts school. It is in Manhattan, so her mother thinks it is a very bad idea, even though she knows how much Steph likes art. Art isn't a good career choice, says her mother, so Steph is encouraged to apply to more rigorous, academic, Catholic schools. Steph's art teacher notices her interest, and encourages her. The two have an after school "club" where they work on Steph's portfolio. The teacher also invites Steph to go to art galleries with her and her daughter, and also explores art in Steph's neighborhood of the Bronx as well. How will Steph make her mother see the value in her art work, and convince her to follow her dreams?
Strengths: Steph's love of bright colors is evident in the vibrant pages of this semi-autobiographical story. Tween readers will relate to being left alone after school, and also to having parents who care too much some times, and don't care enough others. There is some friend drama, a lot of adventure in New York City, and a palpable feeling of wanting to be in control of one's own life despite parental attempts to control it. In my  mind, the 2000s are indistinguishable from today, but this managed to convey a pre 9/11 sense of optimism and light heartedness that is notably lacking in modern works. I'll be curious to see what else Rodriguez writes. 
Weaknesses: While it is great to see the early 2000s explored, I'd also like to see graphic memoirs from earlier decades, like Copeland's Cub. It would be great if artists and authors like Rodriguez teamed up with older authors like Lois Lowry to tell their stories before we've lost that generation. 
What I really think: This will be a big hit with fans of Bermudez' Big Apple Diaries or Holm's Sunny Side Up books. Because it's a graphic novel, my students will read it even though the idea of applying to a high school and worrying about getting in will be a very foreign concept!

No comments:

Post a Comment