For most of her twelve years, Astrid has done everything with her best friend Nicole. But after Astrid falls in love with roller derby and signs up for derby camp, Nicole decides to go to dance camp instead. And so begins the most difficult summer of Astrid's life as she struggles to keep up with the older girls at camp, hang on to the friend she feels slipping away, and cautiously embark on a new friendship. As the end of summer nears and her first roller derby bout (and junior high!) draws closer, Astrid realizes that maybe she is strong enough to handle the bout, a lost friendship, and middle school… in short, strong enough to be a roller girl.
In this graphic novel debut that earned a Newbery Honor and five starred reviews, real-life derby girl Victoria Jamieson has created an inspiring coming-of-age story about friendship, perseverence, and girl power!
978-0803740167 240 pages Ages 8-12
Read Alike: Smile by Raina Telegemaier
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com
My students are really into Rick Riordan's stuff, so rather than teach a novel that they've already read but tap into their interest, I've also used Gareth Hinds's graphic adaptation of The Odyssey. They're really into graphic novels, so it's a good way to teach a canonical text with a lot of historical importance and some modern themes and roles worth challenging, while also teaching some of the textual elements present in graphic novels that they may not have the vocabulary for. Other graphic novels that have been popular are Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson and Baba Yaga's Assistant by Marika McCoola. These were both "Battle of the Books" texts for our district and were big hits. Roller Girl has some good social-emotional elements along the lines of a young coming-of-age book that I think would make it a good text for the curriculum too. I've also used Gene Luen Yang's pair of graphic novels Boxers & Saints to look at perspective, and students were engaged and it created some great discussion.--Rich Farrell, Educator, Illinois--NCTE Teaching and Learning Forum, February 2017