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Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm

Sunny Side Up

by Jennifer L. Holm

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I almost didn't pick this book up. I was fairly certain it was going to fit in with like the Dork Diaries, Captain Underpants, Big Nate category. Middle grade drama.
I was pleasantly surprised by Sunny Side Up!
Sunny is a ten year old girl who has been sent to her grandpa's for a little while, and we learn through the book that the reason is that her older brother has a substance abuse problem. A problem that she is ashamed of and feels responsible for.
It's such a simple story, told in little frames of cartoons and speech bubbles. But, it is written perfectly for the audience it is geared toward. The message gets across better than a picture book would, and less heavy than a novel would. It's a quick read with a quick message.
It is OK to tell on someone when they are doing something bad. I have a seven year old girl. I am going to have her read this. You can tell then "drugs are bad, if you ever see someone doing drugs then let an adult know."
But, we can't really show it to them from a child's perspective. This book does it WONDERFULLY!
A graphic novel done right. ( )
  mollypitchermary | Oct 11, 2017 |
I grabbed this for Jackson, but I enjoyed it so much! Multigenerational and family-oriented, this was a great story about the effects of an adored older brother's addiction on a young girl in the late 70s. How could this be funny and interesting and appropriate for kids...it is all those things. The illustrations are expressive and the arc for Sunny is wonderful. It can be very simple for kids, but full of loaded background and societal, cultural stuff for adults who know the times. I'm glad I picked it up and can't wait to book chat with Jackson about it. ( )
  lissabeth21 | Oct 3, 2017 |
Sunny Side Up is a middle-grade graphic novel written by the brother and sister creators of the Babymouse series of graphic novels. The book is a semi-autobiographical account inspired by their childhood. Jennifer also wrote several Newbery Honor books.

The book takes place in 1976. Sunny is a 10-year-old living with her parents and two brothers - one a toddler and the other a senior in high school. She is eagerly anticipating a trip to the shore with her family and best friend when she is sent to stay with her Grandfather in Florida for the summer. Florida is not what she expected - instead of Disney World, it is a retirement community with grumpy old people, visits to the post office, and dinner at 4:30, until she meets Buzz. Buzz shares with her his love of comic books and how to make money by collecting golf balls. But Sunny is tired of keeping other people's secrets, like her Grandfather's smoking when he is not supposed to, and what her older brother does behind her parents' backs, and she finally explodes like a volcano.

The authors explain at the end of the book that they wrote it because when they were young, they had a close relative with a substance abuse problem. They wanted to let kids know that they don't have to feel ashamed like they did and they don't have to keep secrets.

I thought the book handled a sensitive issue very well - it was funny, but also a little sad. It sends a great message to kids, even if they do not have the same issues at home. I think it might help kids understand that while substance abuse might not affect them directly, it may be something a friend is facing. When I was growing up in the 70's, my cousin, who was three years older, had a substance abuse problem. We only saw my uncle's family every few years, but I recall on one occasion when they were visiting, my cousin stole his father's medication and then took our motorcycle for a joy ride, wrecked it and injured himself. Perhaps it is because we now live in a different community, or perhaps it is not as prevalent 40 years later, but it doesn't seem that substance abuse is as common as it was in the 70's. I'm glad that there are still those who are willing to address it, because between the time my older son was in 5th grade and my younger son was in 5th grade, our school system stopped the DARE program, which I think is terrible. We did not pick this book out because it dealt with a serious and sensitive issue, but I'm glad now that we did pick it out because it gave me a chance to open a dialogue with my younger son. ( )
  rretzler | Jun 9, 2017 |
Unique, interesting graphic novel about the struggles a family goes through when someone has an addiction. I think it was very well done, especially for the age level it is written for. I liked being left in the dark as to what was going on with the family until later in the book, because it made it seem more urgent and secretive, like how families would most likely deal with it, especially in that time period. ( )
  howifeelaboutbooks | Dec 26, 2016 |
I loved this book!!!! I loved the way they approached the family issues. I loved how they added in a boy for her, but he wasnt romantic. And i loved the use of comic books to help her deal. Just a great story!! ( )
  pickleroad | Nov 10, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0545741661, Paperback)

From the groundbreaking and award-winning sister-brother team behind Babymouse comes a middle-grade, semi-autobiographical graphic novel.

Following the lives of kids whose older brother's delinquent behavior has thrown their family into chaos, Sunny Side Up is at once a compelling "problem" story and a love letter to the comic books that help the protagonist make sense of her world.

By sister-bother team Jennifer and Matthew Holm. A 200-page, full-color graphic novel in the vein of Raina Telgemeier's Smile.


(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 13 Jul 2015 19:56:28 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Sunny Lewin is sent to live with her grandfather for the summer in Florida, where she befriends Buzz, a boy completely obsessed with comic books, and faces the secret behind why she is in Florida in the first place.

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