All Summer Long

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
All Summer Long Book Poster Image
Best friends battle summer blues in heartfelt graphic novel.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

All Summer Long explores how friendships can change over time. It promotes family diversity and stresses the importance of music.

Positive Messages

Friendships change over time, but their essential qualities can last forever. Boys and girls can be best friends.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Bina struggles with feeling left behind for the summer, but she has the energy and imagination to explore fresh options. She's especially interested in music and uses it to reach out to potential new friends.

Violence

Friends engage in a minor shoving match.

Sex

Austin and Bina have a rich platonic friendship. He, however, finds a girlfriend over the summer.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hope Larson's All Summer Long is a stand-alone graphic novel about a 13-year-old girl trying on new roles during a long, lonely summer. Diversity, artistry, imagination, and resiliency are all stressed. Violence is limited to a mild shoving match. No swearing, sex, or substance use.

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What's the story?

As ALL SUMMER LONG opens, Bina's looking forward to another action-packed vacation with her best friend, Austin. But when Austin heads off to soccer camp and begins ignoring her texts, Bina doesn't know how to react. She starts to connect with Austin's older sister, but that relationship doesn't feel quite right. With the support of her family and her guitar playing, can she find a way to make the most of her time off from school?

Is it any good?

Summers are supposed to be fun, but this sensitive and heartfelt graphic novel shows the downside of too much free time. All Summer Long's writer-illustrator Hope Larson understands what it's like to be 13 and forced to amuse yourself, and she tells Bina's story through engaging dialogue, expressive artwork, and a cast of diverse and well-rounded supporting characters. Bina's sensitivity and empathy make her a character worth rooting for, and middle-grade girls will especially enjoy her quest for connection with others.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how All Summer Long works as a graphic novel. Are some stories better suited to the graphic medium than others?

  • Bina and Austin are good friends even though they are of different genders. Is it unusual for boys and girls to be best friends? What can be problematic about depending on a single friend for support?

  • Music is important to Bina. Why do people enjoy the arts? What do arts give to people and to the community?

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