Tuesday, November 2, 2010

SMILE by Raina Telgemeier: A Book Review & Author Visit

Earlier this year, I picked up a book at my local book store titled, SMILE, by Raina Telgemeier.  At first glance, the standard yellow happy face on the book cover seemed ordinary.  But when I looked closer, the smile was not so traditional.  This particular happy face wore braces!

Raina with some of her characters
 in her book: The real Dr. Dragoni & Jaime
I flipped through the pages of the book and quickly realized that it was a graphic novel.  And who could resist browsing through colorful illustrations.  The familiar scenes caught my attention.  I recognized highway 380, the apartment complex, the view of San Francisco, and the dental building.  "Hey, I work in that building!"  I proudly announced.  I even recognized the dentist and his staff.

SMILE is a true story about Raina's dental fiasco during her preteen years.  But it's more than that.  It's about adolescent life, the problems she faced and the lessons she learned.  Her story is funny and sweet.  Yet is covers some serious issues that teens face like acceptance, love, and friendship.  It is a must read for middle and high schoolers.  Raina's illustrations are wonderful.  She really conveyed the emotions of her characters through their expressions well.

When I heard that Raina planned on visiting her former orthodontist, I just had to be there to meet her.  She was so gracious to do a private book signing.

The advice given to artists/writers is, "Don't quit your day job."  Well, that's why I'm still a dental hygienist working in the dental building of Raina's former orthodontist.  And that's how I got to meet Raina Telgemeier!

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