Squished: A Graphic Novel
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Squished, a graphic novel by Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Lee Nutter, is a lively, nuanced, relatable tale of being a kid in a big family. Obnoxious, whiny, clingy sibs; overwhelmed parents doing their best, who don't seem to take your needs seriously; never a moment of privacy -- it's all there, along with a lot of love, kindness, humor, empathy, support, and being there for each other, no matter what. Kids bully and torment older brother Theo. The story finds the large Lee family, especially oldest daughter (and thus designated "helper") Avery, 11, on the cusp of big changes, as friendships alter and the Lee parents ponder a cross-country move that will uproot the kids from everything they've ever known. "Kids don't get to make the big decisions like that" is a hard-won, painful lesson, but there may be good things to come of it all amid strong messages of accepting what you can't change.
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What's the Story?
Avery Lee is feeling SQUISHED as the second of seven children. She's really looking forward to a fun summer vacation with her friends in Hickory Valley, Maryland, where she's lived her whole life, and then starting middle school with them in the fall. But it's not to be: friend Cameron is off to space camp, friend Dani is off for a vacation at the beach, while Avery's stuck at home with her six siblings. Dani returns from vacation with a new friend who seems to be replacing Avery. And there's more to come, as Mrs. Lee's in line for a job on the opposite side of the country in Oregon. Avery just wants a little space, a little privacy, a little chance to be herself, but no, and the thought of leaving all she's known and has to look forward to is terrifying.
Is It Any Good?
The joys, sorrows, sweet moments and maddening aggravations of life in a big family are in full view in this lively, colorful graphic novel as a tween girl deals with a summer of big changes. As told in Megan Wagner Lloyd's narrative and brought to life in Michelle Lee Nutter's engaging, appealing graphics, Squished is pretty much the story of 11-year-old protagonist Avery Lee's life, as she's overwhelmed by her large, loving, intrusive family and now faces a cross-country move uprooting her from her hometown, her friends, and much of herself. "If we move, I'll lose everything except being a Lee. I'll be more squished by my big family than ever," she sobs, and it will take more than group hugs to make things better.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about stories like Squished that involve leaving your home and all your friends when your family moves -- and the different ways people cope with it. If you were in this situation, would you work hard to keep up your connections with your old friends, or do you just figure it's over?
If you put a lot of thought and effort into something, only to have your plan fail and people tell you you should have known better, does it make you want to try harder next time, or just give up?
If you come from a large family, what do you like most and least about it? If you don't come from a large family, how do you think you might feel about being in one?
- Author: Megan Wagner Lloyd
- Illustrator: Michelle Mee Nutter
- Genre: Graphic Novel
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models
- Character Strengths: Empathy, Teamwork
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Scholastic
- Publication date: March 7, 2023
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 256
- Available on: Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: March 15, 2023
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