Have you ever faced a difficult change in your life, such as having to make a big move to a new city? Ramsey Beyer’s first published book tells her real life story of moving from a small farming town to the big city. In this autobiographical-style graphic novel, we get a glimpse into this brief period of her life that’s filled with more change than she’s ever had to deal with before – not living with her family and having her best friends around her. She chronicles all aspects of her life that are important and familiar to her from what’s in her friend Merry’s basement to what she considers to be the top 10 worst sounds.
Little Fish has a unique scrapbook-type style that includes many snippets of papers and items she’s collected along the way. Manual typewriter-style lists, doodles, cartoons, notes and diary entries collectively depict how the author truly felt. Smudges and photocopied items are included, adding warmth to the pages. This collection of pieces from her life shows more than words alone possibly could.
The black and white format, combined with the scrapbooked pieces of her life, create a deep connection between the reader and the author. While I was reading this book, I felt that I could really relate to the emotions the author was dealing with. Memories from periods of transition in my own life surfaced as I followed along with her story. You can feel her excitement for the opportunities ahead, and also her fear as new challenges present themselves at the same time. In the end, however, Beyer always finds the optimistic way to deal with these problems or stresses. The lists that she creates often add humor and show her true personality. I highly recommend this as a first graphic novel to read.
I loved this graphic novel and would encourage teens to experience what Beyer went through by reading Little Fish. It’s easy to relate to, particularly for international students who have recently experienced similar circumstances first-hand.
Kendra Perkins is Coordinator for the Shanghai Librarian Network, Ambassador of China for the International Librarian Network and Head Librarian at YK Pao School. Find her at www.theinspiredlibrarian.com.