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My Progress:

12 / 30 books. 40% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

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My Progress:

28 / 51 states. 55% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

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23 / 50 books. 46% done!

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23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

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48 / 50 books. 96% done!

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40 / 52 books. 77% done!

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27 / 40 books. 68% done!

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15 / 40 books. 38% done!

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10 / 25 books. 40% done!

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12 / 26.2 miles. 46% done!

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26 / 100 books. 26% done!

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64 / 104 books. 62% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

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43 / 52 books. 83% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

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69 / 165 books. 42% done!
Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Colorful, Engaging Graphic Memoir an Empowering Read for Kids

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Graphic—meaning illustrated, not explicit—memoirs are all the rage at my daughter's elementary school.  She's not a big reader, but she does get really into these comic book-ish volumes, as do hordes of her classmates.  A raging Raina Telgemeier fan, she's already devoured that author's middle grade offerings, so she decided to give The Dumbest Idea Ever! by cartoonist Jimmy Gownley a try.  So into the book was my girl that I had to tell her—repeatedly—to put it down so that she could eat dinner, do her homework, and go to sleep at a decent hour.  While I didn't find myself quite as enraptured by it, I still very much enjoyed Gownley's story about how he found his true calling in life.

Gownley's tale starts in junior high with him trying to convince the nuns at his Catholic school that his beloved comic books are legitimate reading material.  Largely unsuccessful, he nonetheless continues with his own quest to become a comic book writer/artist.  He'd rather draw than do almost anything else, but he can't seem to come up with an original story idea that everyone likes.  In the meantime, he's struggling with his grades, his friends, and getting girls to notice him.  When a friend suggests a radical idea that just might change everything, Gownley decides to take a chance.  As he experiences the ups and downs of pursuing a dream not everyone understands, he comes to understand the power of perseverance and of being true to oneself in the face of doubt, rejection, and fear.

The Dumbest Idea Ever! offers a funny, engaging story with colorful illustrations that make it come alive.  It's an encouraging, empowering tale that teaches valuable lessons about not giving up in spite of repeated failures and staying humble in spite of success.  Misunderstood artists and reluctant readers will especially appreciate this book, but really, it's the kind of read anyone can pick up and enjoy.  My 9-year-old gives it two thumbs way up! 

(Readalikes:  I'm guessing Gownley's Amelia Rules! series is similar, although I haven't read it.  I'm also reminded of books by Rainia Telgemeier; Real Friends by Shannon Hale; and Janet Tashjian's [fictional] Cartoonist series)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

To the FTC, with love:  I borrowed a copy of The Dumbest Idea Ever! from my daughter's elementary school library as part of my volunteer work with the school's reading program.


  1. This one sounds adorable. I’m getting to be a fan of GNs more and more.

  2. This sounds like a fun read. I'm not the biggest fan of graphic novels, but I might like this one.


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