Win Pawcasso by Remy Lai

Remy Lai’s new book is the most adorable kid’s graphic novel you’ll read this year. You can read my review here on the blog.

Thanks to Remy’s wonderful publishers, Allen and Unwin, I have 2 copies of Pawcasso to give away. To get in the draw just flick an email to bestfriendsrbooks@gmail.com, with your name and address, and the subject ‘Pawcasso.’

Competition closes Sunday 16 May and winners will be contacted by email. NZ only sorry.

Interview with Brian Conaghan

Brian Conaghan is the author of such award-winning books as The Bombs That Brought Us Together, We Come Apart (a verse novel co-authored with Sarah Crossan) and The Weight of a Thousand Feathers. Brian’s latest book, Cardboard Cowboys, is destined to become another award-winner. It’s an unforgettable read, with characters that stick with you long after you finish their story. You can read my review of Cardboard Cowboys here on the blog.

I caught up with Brian to ask about the importance of music in his stories, his characters and how he ensures readers connect with them.

– What inspired you to write Cardboard Cowboys?

I simply had the idea for this 12 year-old character, who evolved into Lenny. However, like all my books, my inspiration is always the same: find an engaging story with an interesting set of characters, chuck some obstacles in their way and tell their story in the most entertaining manner I can think of.

– Music plays an important role in the story, especially in the connections between people. It’s what Lenny’s Mum holds on to when Frankie goes away and what gives Lenny confidence. Does the music featured in the story hold some significance to you?

​Music plays a huge part of every book I write. I feel that it can provide an additional layer to certain characters; in many ways it galvanises Lenny and Bruce’s relationship. The music featured in the story is exactly the music my own mother was listening to when I was Lenny’s age so it’s hugely significant for me. Plus it still sounds amazing!

– Do you play music as you write to help you get in to the characters heads and set the tone for the story? If so, what did you listen to as you wrote Cardboard Cowboys?

When I want to capture a particular moment or tone within what I’m writing I tend to listen to music that corresponds to that mood. It helps to place me in that emotional space that is required. Music has been hugely important in my life for as long as I can remember, I always listen to it when I’m working. For the past few months it seems all I’ve been listening to is Vikingur Olafsson, Kevin Morby, Waxahatchee, Arab Strap and Mogwai…and always Bob Dylan.

– Lenny is a character that I immediately connected with. His voice sounds really authentic. Did he come to you fully formed or did you have to spend time fleshing his character out?

He came to me in many guises throughout the past few years, and his voice kept getting layered as these years trundled on. He is an amalgam of three things: my imagination, students I taught when I was a teacher and one of my closest school friends.

Cressida Cowell has said that ‘empathy is a vital skill, and books are the best, and most fun way to learn it.’ Cardboard Cowboys is a story that will teach readers a lot about empathy. How do you ensure that readers will connect with your characters and what they’re going through?

I always want my characters to be honest with how they are feeling, and how they might express themselves. Emotion manifests itself in many ways, be it laughter, sadness, silence, self-harm etc. Most of my characters over the course of my books have demonstrated such feelings and more. I think readers will always recognise snippets of my characters’ lived experiences, be it relationships with parents/peers or environmental.

– Lenny and Bruce are one of those fictional duos that are really memorable. Who are your favourite fictional duos?

​My favourite fictional duo, by a mile, is Vladimir and Estragon from Waiting For Godot. Beckett shows the possibilities of language through these two characters, and how dialogue functioned beyond anything I had ever read previously (and since). I know it’s essentially an absurdist piece yet the communication between the duo is so fluid and emotional, which is something I always try to aim for in my own work. Although, I’m certainly no Samuel Beckett. 

Pawcasso by Remy Lai

Have you ever told a little white lie that has snowballed into a huge lie? What starts off as you not correcting something false becomes a whole string of untruths that you can’t keep up with. This is the situation that Jo finds herself in in Remy Lai’s first graphic novel, Pawcasso.

Jo thinks that she’ll spend the summer bored out of her mind, until she spies a dog, with a basket in its mouth, stroll past her house. She follows the dog to the shopping circle in town and discovers that he is doing a spot of shopping. The dog visits some of the shops and buys the things on the list in its basket. When Jo follows the dog to the bookshop, called Dog Ears, she gets mistaken for the dog’s owner. She tries to correct them at first, but the thought of making new friends and getting free books tempts Jo, and she goes along with the lie. The kids from the art class at the bookshop call the dog Pawcasso, as he becomes their model, and the name sticks. Each Saturday, Pawcasso comes into town, and Jo waits for him to walk past. As the people of South Redhart fall in love with Pawcasso, Jo’s chihuahua-sized lie becomes Great Dane-sized. It becomes harder and harder to tell everyone the truth. Even when Pawcasso rolls in poo Jo can’t bear to lose him. When Pawcasso’s real owners show up in town one day, Jo’s lies unravel and she must explain the truth, even if it means losing her friends.

I love Pawcasso so much! It is the most adorable kid’s graphic novel ever and it will make you grin from ear to ear. Whether you’re a dog-lover or not, you can’t help loving Pawcasso. Sure, he loves to roll in poo, but he makes the lives of everyone he meets just a little bit brighter. Kids and adults alike can relate to Jo and her little lie getting out of control, and everyone will wish they had a Pawcasso in their life. As with her previous books, Remy captures the funny moments but also the anxiety, sadness and frustration of her characters.

I have loved each of Remy’s books, especially the comic sections of her stories, Pie in the Sky and Fly on the Wall. I was super excited when she announced she was creating a graphic novel. Pawcasso is every bit as wonderful as I hoped it would be. Remy’s artwork is outstanding! It is so colourful and vibrant, and her characters are full of emotion and personality. I love that Jo wears the same outfit throughout the story, but with different colour combinations. Remy and her colourist, Samantha Bennett, must have had a lot of fun choosing colours for Jo’s clothes. I love Jo’s character and the way that Remy shows her range of emotions throughout the story. I cracked up laughing at the illustration of her, with her face smooshed against her window, when she first sees Pawcasso. My favourite parts of the book were the wordless panels that just featured Pawcasso. These are the bits that perfectly capture Pawcasso’s personality, whether it be his head wrapped in a towel after a bath, rolling in poo at the park, or laying upside down on a beanbag, wagging his tail. Pawcasso is such a loveable goofball that people become smitten with him. I also love how, at the back of the book, Remy has drawn the people she wants to thank as dogs, cats and other creatures.

Remy has written the story and created the illustrations, but it is the whole team that has worked on the book that makes this graphic novel stand out. Samantha Bennett’s colouring makes the illustrations jump off the page, and Colleen AF Venable’s design work helps the story to flow and look good on the page. It’s great to see Allen and Unwin publishing more graphic novels from our part of the world too. Please sign Remy up for many, many more graphic novels.

Pawcasso is one of those graphic novels that will spread like wildfire between readers. I preordered multiple copies for my school library because I was that confident it would be a winner. I can’t wait for kids to meet Pawcasso. It is perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier, Victoria Jamieson, and Kayla Miller.

My Elephant is Blue by Melinda Szymanik and Vasanti Unka

When a child is full of worries it can be tricky for them to process how they feel and explain it to those around them. This is where picture books that focus on mental health are hugely valuable. They can explain to a child how they are feeling, using words and images, and show them some ways that they can shake off that feeling and start to feel happy. Melinda Szymanik and Vasanti Unka’s latest picture book, My Elephant is Blue, is about a child and and the big, heavy feelings that take over their life.

The child in the story wakes up one day to find an elephant sitting on their chest. It’s so heavy that it is difficult for them to breath or talk. The elephant, called Blue, is very comfortable sitting on the child and doesn’t want to move. Mum and Dad are worried and do what they can to help, including reading lots of books about elephants and calling an elephant specialist. The child’s sister even tries to help push the elephant off, but nothing helps. Dad suggests that exercise might help, so the child and Blue go for a walk around the block. This is just the start of getting the elephant to move, and with some nice family time, Blue starts to change colour. Together, they discover that they quite like other colours too.

My Elephant is Blue is a magnificent picture book about mental health, that is bursting with empathy and positivity. This is the kind of book that every family should have on their bookshelves, for those days when anyone feels a little blue. We all have those days and it’s good to remind ourselves that they don’t last, and that by doing things we enjoy, we can have a brighter day. This is a book that is great for so many ages, whether you’re reading it to preschoolers or intermediate-age children. The concept is simple enough for younger children to understand, but it will also resonate with older children (and adults).

Vasanti Unka’s illustrations are delightful. For most of the book her illustrations are quite subtle and sparse, but as the child starts to become happier, the illustrations are busier, brighter and more colourful. They become more full of life, especially on the page with the picnic. Vasanti captures the emotions of the child perfectly, using facial expressions that the youngest readers will understand.

One of my favourite things about this book is that the child is gender neutral. Melinda hasn’t used any pronouns or given the child a name, and Vasanti has drawn them so that they could be any gender. This makes the story really accessible to all children. I want to thank Melinda and Vasanti hugely for this.

Cat Taylor has done a wonderful job of the design, especially the front cover. Blue the elephant has been raised on the front and back covers, so you can feel the groves and bumps of his skin. This little touch makes the book really tactile, and I love running my hands over it. You just know that kids will love this too.

My Elephant is Blue is a must-have for schools and families. It will create some good conversations and help children to understand their emotions. It will also give them some strategies to try when they are feeling blue. It will help children to become more empathetic, as it will help them to understand how others feel.

My Elephant is Blue is due for release in NZ on Monday 17 May.

Cardboard Cowboys by Brian Conaghan

Cardboard Cowboys is one of those books that you want to keep reading, so that you can find out how the story ends, but you desperately don’t want the book to end and have to say goodbye to the characters. I knew, as soon as I read the blurb for this book, that I would love it, but I underestimated how much it would work its way into my head and heart.

Lenny is 12 and has just stated big school. He hates almost every minute of it because he is bullied because of his size. Lenny hates his body and the way that he gets treated because of it. He doesn’t get much attention at home and he thinks that his parents hate him, because of what he did. His brother, Frankie, was sent away as a result and his mother is struggling to deal with this. Lenny’s father is a lorry driver, so he is often away for long periods of time. With things the way they are at home and at school, Lenny often skips school and goes to his bench beside the canal. When he throws his Irn Bru can into the canal one day he meets Bruce, an old guy in a red bobble hat who lives in a cardboard house beside the canal. Lenny is intrigued by Bruce and he returns to the bench more often to talk with him. Bruce is the only person in Lenny’s life who will listen to him and Lenny finds himself opening up about his life and what happened to Frankie. Lenny knows that the only way to make things right is to go on a road trip to talk to his brother. Lenny can’t tell his parents about his plans so he has to convince Bruce to come with him. First though, they’ll have to earn some money to help them get the 177.3 miles to Frankie. Lenny isn’t even sure that Frankie will want to see him, but he has to try.

Cardboard Cowboys is an incredible, unforgettable story about two unlikely friends and the bond that grows between them. I loved every minute that I spent with Lenny and Bruce, whether it was watching them busking together or opening up to each other. Brian portrays two male characters, of completely different ages, dealing with complex emotions, whether it be guilt, shame or love. This is a story that helps you become a better person because you can’t help but feel empathy for these characters. You worry for Lenny and the guilt that he holds on to, and wonder what has happened in Bruce’s life that means he now lives in a cardboard house. Both Lenny and Bruce are complex characters, and Brian drip-feeds us details about them throughout the story. What is it that has happened to Lenny’s brother, Frankie, that means he isn’t at home anymore? And where has he gone away to? Why is Bruce living by the canal and where does he get his fancy clothes from? All these questions make you want to keep reading to get answers.

I love Lenny and Bruce’s friendship and the way that Brian addresses the strangeness of their relationship. They get on like a house on fire and have some great banter. In Bruce, Lenny finds someone that understands him, but also someone who just lets him talk. Lenny knows that Bruce will listen and offer advice, unlike his parents who don’t talk about their problems. Bruce sees the good inside Lenny and tries to bring it out. Bruce also does what he can to help Lenny out, including pretending to be his dad at an interview at his school. I loved watching their relationship develop throughout the story.

Music plays an important part in the story too, especially in connecting people. Lenny’s Mum clutches on to her favourite song and plays it on repeat after Reggie goes away. Thanks to Brian I now have Billie Jo Spears’ song ‘Blanket on the Ground’ on repeat in my head as I write this. Lenny and Bruce share a love of country music and go busking together to earn the money for their road trip. While they perform they comfort others with their music.

Lenny and Bruce are going to be hanging out in my head for a long time. Cardboard Cowboys is a book that I’ll be recommending to anyone who wants to listen. I highly recommend it as a read aloud or class novel for Years 7-9.

Wow in the World: The how and wow of the human body by Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz, illustrated by Jack Teagle

I love children’s nonfiction books that present their information in a fun and fresh way. These are the books that I know will inspire kids to learn about something new. It might be the design of the book, that breaks the information in to small chunks, or the format in which the authors present the information. Wow in the World: the how and wow of the human body, by podcast hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz, is one of these great nonfiction books. It is sure to teach kids heaps of interesting facts about the human body and have them laughing out loud while they read.

My eyes were drawn towards this book in my local bookshop, with its bright yellow cover, the title exploding off the front and the cartoon images of the authors. As soon as I picked it up and flicked through it, I knew I needed it for my school library. It’s the most visually appealing book about the human body that I’ve seen and it looks funny. This makes it a great book for dipping in to as you could just pick a section that you’re interested in. I started reading from the start and just kept on reading, because it’s so interesting and entertaining.

Like all human body books, this one is split in to different sections. There’s a welcome to your body section, where Mindy and Guy tell you the different ways you could experience this book (read it out of order and share interesting facts with your friends and family) and things you shouldn’t do with this book (barf over it when you read the gross parts). We then go on a tour of the human body, including the stuff on the outside (like hair, skin and nails) and the stuff on the inside (like the skeleton, heart and digestive system). Each section is jam-packed with info about how each part works and why it’s important. That is accompanied by Jack Teagle’s diagrams, comics and other visual gags that will make you chuckle. There are also heaps of Fact Snacks, quizzes and Bonus Body sections. The Fact Snacks are quick facts that are easy to remember and share with your friends and family.

This is one of the coolest children’s nonfiction books ever! I love that it is so visual, because this makes it both super fun and very re-readable. There are lots of comics throughout the book, like the Body Parts Awards and Muscle Mania, which will make this book appealing to those kids who love comics and graphic novels. The Bonus Body sections are hilarious! They tell you about the body parts you (probably) don’t need and all about your butt. There’s a good glossary and index at the back of the book, along with a bibliography, and books and websites for recommended reading. The book is based on a podcast by the authors, so there are also QR codes linking to each episode of Wow in the World.

Wow in the World: the how and wow of the human body is a must-have for all primary and intermediate school libraries and would make a great gift for inquisitive 8-12 year olds.

Skydragon #2: Fly Free by Anh Do

A new book by Anh Do is like Christmas in my library. The kids are always excited, whether it’s a new Hot Dog, a Ninja Kid or a Wolf Girl. It has been especially his Wolf Girl series that has hooked the kids at my school, with one teacher reading aloud the first four books to her class last year. That same teacher decided to try Anh’s latest series, Skydragon, with her class this year and they are hooked on this series now. Having just read the first book myself, I can see why. Anh Do certainly knows how to hook readers – lots of action, tension and cliff-hanger endings. I didn’t expect to enjoy this series as much as I did but book I was at the end of the book before I knew it. Luckily it wasn’t too long to wait until book two, Fly Free, which releases this week.

Fly Free picks up straight after the end of book one, so you’re thrown right back into the action again. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry, and Agent Ferris is REALLY angry! Skydragon has evaded him and the National Service, but he’s determined to track her down. Readers are allowed a minute to catch their breath, before Amber is running for her life and trying to hide from the agents. After falling from a tree, Amber injures her ankle, but luckily her insect friends have her back. Amber can’t shake the thought that Firefighter is someone she knows, and she returns to her adopted family in search of answers. It isn’t long though before she is on the run again. While the National Service are tracking down Amber, Reggie (also known as the Firefighter) is being forced to carry out dubious missions for Agent Ferris. Skydragon and Firefighter’s paths cross but will they discover the truth about each other?

Fly Free keeps you on the edge of your seat, wondering whether Amber and her insect friends will defeat the bad guys. The story jumps between Amber and Reggie, so we get their different perspectives. The pace of the story is swift, so young readers certainly won’t get bored.

James Hart’s illustrations are a really important part of what makes this series so engaging and appealing. His illustrations are on just about every page and show readers how epic Amber’s powers are. James and the design team have done a fantastic job on the cover for Fly Free too. It will certainly jump off the shelf! I especially love the foil used for the insect wings.

I have kids queuing up to get their hands on Fly Free and I know they won’t be disappointed. This book has another cliffhanger ending, which leaves you desperate for book 3!

Space Oddity by Christopher Edge

I’m a huge fan of Christopher Edge. Many of his previous books have had a science theme, from inter-dimensional travel to the laws of the universe. His characters, and the unusual situations they find themselves in, stick with you. Christopher’s latest book, Space Oddity, has all the things I love about his stories, with a good dash of humour mixed in.

Jake is always being embarrassed by his dad. Whether he is breakdancing at the school disco or making a surprise appearance as a rubbish Darth Vader at his school production, Jake’s dad just can’t seem to stop doing silly things. When Jake’s dad tells him that the two of them are going away for the weekend to spend some quality time together, Jake can’t think of anything worse. His dad takes him to a Dads and Kids Weekend Adventure, where they will spend the weekend doing fun activities together. However, when his dad embarrasses him in front of the whole camp, Jake is ready to pack it in and go home. Then, his dad tells him who he really is – an alien who crashed to Earth twelve years ago. Thanks to a special device, Jake’s dad has been able to disguise himself as a human and blend in. But, when Jake fiddles with the device, he inadvertently signals the Cosmic Authority. They appear out of nowhere and abduct his dad, taking him back to his home planet. Jake’s dad may be super embarrassing but he is still his dad, and Jake will do anything to get him back.

Space Oddity is an intergalactic adventure with a whole lot of heart and humour. There is something in this story for everyone, from stinky aliens and killer robots, to alien technology and a giant out-of-control Lego spaceship. It’s a story about family and the lengths that we would go to for the ones we love, even if they are super embarrassing. It’s part science fiction, part adventure, but there are also plenty of laughs. I especially loved the range of ways that Jake’s dad has embarrassed him in the past. It’s a slightly younger story than most of Christopher’s other books, but a great way to hook kids into this amazing author.

Jake is a really relatable character, whose voice I loved. Most readers will have a family member who can be embarrassing, so they’ll understand how Jake feels. Jake’s dad hasn’t been able to explain why he gets things so wrong, and when he tells Jake the truth, Jake has trouble believing it. Jake does actually love his dad though, and he can’t bear to think about losing him forever. Jake puts his own life in danger in order to try and save his dad.

The fantastic Ben Mantle has created the cover illustration and illustrations throughout the story. Whenever I see one of his covers I always pick it up, and his cover for Space Oddity is spectacular. The cover designer, Steve Wells, has added some nice touches, with the raised title and the shiny, textured bits on the spaceship.

Space Oddity would be a brilliant read aloud or class set for Years 4-6. It’s funny and action-packed, so it will engage everyone.

Lightfall: The Girl and the Galdurian by Tim Probert

I love children’s graphic novels that have some real depth to them, both in story and illustration. Graphic novels like the Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi and This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews tell you a fantastic story, with gorgeous art, but you know that the story you’re reading is only a small part of the world. The first book in Tim Probert’s new graphic novel series, Lightfall, is one of these graphic novels. The Girl and the Galdurian is one story from Irpa, but Tim’s world is so detailed that you know there is much more of this world to explore. This first book has me hooked and desperate for book 2.

Bea lives deep in the heart of Irpa, with her adopted grandfather, Pig Wizard. Their home is Salty Pig’s Tonics and Tictures, where people come to buy remedies and elixirs. Pig Wizard is old and forgetful, so he must leave reminders for himself everywhere. Luckily he has Bea to help him, and she gathers ingredients that he needs from the land around them. While gathering ingredients in the woods one day Bea meets Cad, a member of the Galdurians, a race thought to be long-extinct. Cad is looking for Pig Wizard in the hopes that he can translate an ancient scroll, so he follows Bea back to Salty Pig’s. When they arrive they discover that Pig Wizard has left to perform a duty that he has neglected. Bea and Cad go in search of him. Along the way they meet some interesting characters who both help and hinder them. There is also a sinister presence that is stepping out of the shadows and there is something they are desperate to get their hands on.

I love everything about The Girl and the Galdurian, from the story and the characters, to the artwork and the design. Tim has both written and illustrated the story, so the text and illustrations are seamless. The story flows really well, cutting smoothly between Bea and Cad’s journey and the other, darker thread of the story. It is a beautifully designed and produced graphic novel, with thick, quality paper and vivid inks (its smells of quality too). Bea and Cad are lovable characters, who already feel like your best friends by the end of the book. I would follow them anywhere.

Tim’s fantasty world of Irpa is richly detailed. You feel like Bea’s story is just scratching the surface of what is going on in this complex world. As this is the first book in the series, we learn bits of details about Irpa and its history, but there feels like there is so much more to explore in future books. I love the details that Tim puts into the illustrations. These details tell you things about the world, without explicitly explaining what they are or what they mean. As you’re reading you’ll see creatures in the background or ruins of a building poking through the ground.

Tim’s illustrations are sublime! He takes us through a variety of landscapes throughout the story and my mouth dropped open in awe at the different landscapes he has created. I would love to have prints of some of the bigger panels all over my house. Tim’s battle scenes are also epic, especially when they involve giant crabs. I also love the colour palette that Tim has used, which highlights the difference in the light of Irpa. The wordless scenes, with the sinister creatures, are quite creepy, and set the tone for the story.

I can’t wait to introduce the kids at my school to this graphic novel. I know that it is going to be incredibly popular, especially with those kids who love Amulet. It’s a similar epic fantasy story, set in a world that is rich in detail. This is a must-have for primary and intermediate school libraries. I am desperate for the second book and I know kids will be queuing up for it too.

Girl Haven by Lilah Sturges, Meaghan Carter and Joamette Gil

I love that there are more and more children’s graphic novels being published with LGBTQ+ characters and themes. It’s important for our kids to be able to see themselves in books, no matter what their identity. These graphic novels don’t just appeal to kids who are trans or queer though. One of my favourite graphic novels is The Prince and the Dressmaker and it is one of the most popular graphic novels with the older children at my school. The themes of discovering your identity and being the person you truly feel you are, resounds with all readers. Girl Haven is a fantastic new graphic novel from Oni Press, which deals with gender identity and sexuality in a way that older children can relate to.

Three years ago, Ash’s mom, Kristin, left home and never came back. Now, Ash lives in the house where Kristin grew up. All of her things are there. Her old room, her old clothes, and the shed where she spent her childhood creating a fantasy world called Koretris. Ash knows all about Koretris: how it’s a haven for girls, with no men or boys allowed, and filled with fanciful landscapes and creatures. When Ash’s friends decide to try going to Koretris using one of Kristin’s spell books, Ash doesn’t think anything will happen. But the spell works, and Ash discovers that the world Kristin created is actually a real place with real inhabitants and very real danger. But if Koretris is real, why is Ash there? Everyone has always called Ash a boy. Ash uses he/him pronouns. Shouldn’t the spell have kept Ash out? And what does it mean if it let Ash in?

Girl Haven is such a cool story! It is an inspiring story about being the person you want to be, wrapped up in a fantasy adventure. The story is full of fun and adventure, but Lilah and Meaghan also make you think about gender identity and how society makes you fit in to one box or another. The characters are diverse, representing cisgender, transgender and nonbinary people, and different sexual orientations. I think this is an important book that will help children who are confused about their identity. It will help them to see that they are not alone, and that it is important to have people around you who understand and support you.

The story mainly focuses on Ash’s journey to acceptance. Ash didn’t realise that the place his mum talked about and wrote about was actually a real place. He knows that Koretris is a haven for girls, so it is confusing when he is able to get in, along with his friends who are all girls. Ash has always felt like he was supposed to be a girl and has wished that something would happen to turn him into a girl. Coming to Koretris gives Ash the chance to become the person he’s always wanted to be. Junebug, Eleanor and Chloe are all great friends to Ash, and I love that they all identify differently. Anybody reading this graphic novel will be able to find someone to relate to. Something that really resonated with me was the idea of every person being a story and that ‘a boy is one kind of story, a girl another kind. And they are but two of many stories.’

Meaghan Carter’s illustrations bring the world of Koretris to life, from the Rabbits of the Reeds to the candy people of Sugar Valley, and the dreaded Scourge. Meaghan has drawn Ash in such a way that he looks androgynous, but as his friends say, he ‘looks really cute in that dress.’ Meaghan’s illustration style is similar to Molly Ostertag and Gale Galligan, so anyone who likes their style would like Girl Haven.

Girl Haven is one of my favourite children’s graphic novels this year and I will be recommending it to kids and adults alike. It is a must-have graphic novel for intermediate and high school libraries, and I know it will be incredibly popular. If you have loved The Prince and the Dressmaker, Witch Boy, Dungeon Critters or Snapdragon, you’ll love Girl Haven.