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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Demonstrates value of practice and working through discomfort when tackling new challenges. Introduces Meisner technique for training to act.
Children and parents may have more in common than they often realize. Empathy -- viewing things from another perspective -- can help you better understand friend and family dynamics and strengthen your relationships. Trying new things and working through discomfort can lead to great accomplishments. Even when two people don't share the exact same interests or skills, they may still find some common ground where their interests and skills overlap.
Positive Role Models
Brianna takes responsibility seriously, whether it's schoolwork or helping her mom. She changes her view of Dev and other important people in her life by interacting with them in new ways. Her mom opens up about wanting more connection with Bri but respects her independence and different interests. Izzy gains a better sense of the pressure on her mother and older sister and steps up to help make their lives a little easier. Izzy's sisters prove to be advocates for Izzy, and her mom is able to adjust her own perspective to draw boundaries while supporting Izzy. Dev is a patient, honest coach for Bri.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Girls acting out TV shows include "regular or French" air kissing and affairs in their play. Young girl regularly sneaks out of house to look at "dirty magazines" at a friend's house.
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Products & Purchases
Mentions of YouTube, Dumpster, Nike, Cheetos, Honda.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Joke about pretending to slip Xanax in parent's food.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Positively Izzy is second graphic novel by Terri Libenson (Invisible Emmie) about two very different middle-school girls who share a surprising connection. Izzy has a flair for the dramatic but struggles to focus on schoolwork, while Brianna is most comfortable concentrating on academics. Libenson deftly portrays kids dealing with pressures and worries straddling school and home: Personal connection and appreciating how you influence and are influenced by others are strong themes. Although the publisher recommends this for ages 8 and up, but that's a little young for some of the material in Izzy's storyline -- references to "dirty magazines," French kissing, and affairs.
Is It Any Good?
In her second graphic novel, cartoonist Terri Libenson takes a fairly light plot and creates a thoughtful story about an emotionally turbulent -- and important -- day for two young teen girls. Libenson (creator of The Pajama Diaries strip) has a great feel for how middle school can turn relationships inside-out and upside-down in bewildering ways. She uses small glances, a few words, or a giggle to speak volumes about her characters' loneliness, irritation, hopes, and inner conflict.
As she did in Invisible Emmie (Emmie plays a role in this story as well), Libenson unspools each girl's story on parallel tracks but with different styles: comic-style panels for Bri, and short text with plentiful illustrations for Izzy. The references to "dirty magazines" and French kissing in Izzy's storyline are distractingly out of step with the tone of the overall book, unfortunately. It's a quick and easy read for parents, too, looking for help starting a conversation with their kids about how to stay close as their teens grow older.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.