by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Interest level: grades 3 and up
Reading level: 2.8
5 out of 5 stars
Sunny Side Up is an incredibly well-done graphic novel for middle grade students that focuses on 10-year-old Sunny and a summer vacation she spends in Florida visiting her grandfather. Sunny struggles to enjoy her grandfather’s fifty-five and over community, until she meets a new friend and they discover a love of comic books and finding things. Sunny further struggles with issues in her family, and through flashback scenes, we learn about her brother’s addictions and what led Sunny to spend time in Florida.
The story is set in August 1976 and includes wonderful glimpses into the realities of life in that era. Smoking was prevalent; seat belt use was not, and it introduces kids to the wonders of Polaroid pictures and their unique smell.
Jennifer and Matthew Holm have created a graphic novel that does not shield tweens and teens from the realities of life and the presence of addiction in our world, but provides a safe and realistic look at the impact on families. There is a message from the authors that encourage young readers to find trusted adults to talk to if they are confused and scared about addictions that may be in their family.
This will be a sought-after book for kids aged 9 and up, especially fans of Smile and Drama.