A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Almost American Girl is a graphic memoir of 14-year-old South Korean teen Chuna trying to adapt to a strange new existence in Alabama after her single mother marries. Writer and illustrator Robin Ha recounts her experience as a lonely teen, one who eventually learned to belong by concentrating on her art. College-age characters drink beer and cocktails in a few scenes. Swearing is limited to "hell" and "bulls--t."
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What's the story?
At the start of ALMOST AMERICAN GIRL, 14-year-old Robin Ha has a close relationship with her single mother in South Korea, until they suddenly move to Alabama with no warning. Speaking barely any English, Robin is lonely and miserable as she tries to fit in with a new school and a blended family. One of the few things that give Robin pleasure is comics, especially anime and manga. Will they be enough to make her feel like she truly belongs?
Is it any good?
America is a land of struggling immigrants, and this tenderhearted memoir captures the mixed feelings that often accompany the experience. With humor and compassion for her younger self, cartoonist Robin Ha presents in Almost American Girl the sadness and confusion of being in a strange land among people with different cultural expectations. Robin learns that it's wise to have goals that can be reached step by step, and it's fortunate that she chose cartooning as her passion in life. Her artwork is bright and lively, mostly realistic but with some manga and anime influence. Middle- and high-school readers will identify with young Robin's predicament and enjoy the resolution of the story.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Almost American Girl depicts the immigrant experience. What kinds of struggles do immigrants face when they arrive in a new country? What skills do they bring with them?
Robin is taunted by a group of White boys. What can students do if they are bullied at school?
Robin is furious that her mother moved to Alabama without telling her. How should parents and teens talk about the big decisions in their lives?
- Author: Robin Ha
- Illustrator: Robin Ha
- Genre: Graphic Novel
- Topics: Arts and Dance, Great Girl Role Models, Middle School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: Balzer + Bray
- Publication date: January 28, 2020
- Number of pages: 240
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: August 15, 2021
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