Smile and Taxi: Our Picks for Week 2 of the Summer Reading Challenge

CBLDF is back with new recommendations for Week 2 of the CBLDF Summer Reading Challenge! It’s not too late to start the challenge and read a new graphic novel each week this summer. Just download our Challenge Checklist! Be sure to check with your local comic shop and see if they’re participating with their own set of recommendations. This week, we’re challenging you to read a graphic novel that’s based on a true story.

CBLDF Recommends Smile for Younger Readers

Based on the author’s real life experiences, Raina Telgemeier’s Smile is all about the trials and tribulations of middle and high school as Raina deals with braces, changing friendships, and growing up. Thanks to her relatable and accessible storytelling, Raina remains one of the most popular creators among middle grade readers, and it’s these traits that make Smile such a great read. As children start a summer break that’s very different than past years, Smile might just offer a respite for those nostalgic for their “old normal.”

Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth, and what follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly. This coming-of-age true story is sure to resonate with anyone who has ever been in middle school, and especially those who have ever had a bit of their own dental drama.


Pick up a copy of Smile signed by Raina Telgemeier from our Rewards Zone!

CBLDF Recommends Taxi! Stories from the Back Seat for Older Readers

Dutch cartoonist, Aimée de Jongh’s Taxi! Stories from the Back Seat is a collection of vignettes featuring her experiences taking cab rides. While a taxi ride might seem too mundane to cover in a graphic novel, the rides covered in Taxi feature compelling conversations that highlight the intrinsic value in human connection.

Aimée de Jongh, one of the brightest new talents in Europe, creates her first autobiographic work, focusing on taxi rides from four cities: Los Angeles, Paris, Jakarta, and Washington, DC.

Despite the stunning and detailed streetscapes she passes, de Jongh discovers she’s more interested in the cab drivers than the view from the backseat. As the drivers slowly open up about their personal lives, de Jongh does too ― even when it means challenging her own ideas and prejudices. Through these vulnerable ― and often humorous ― moments, de Jongh finds common ground with the people driving her. Taxi is an ode to taxi drivers everywhere.

Conundrum Press

Pick up a copy of Taxi Tales from the Backseat signed by Aimée de Jongh from our Rewards Zone!

Don’t forget to add the graphic novel you read this week to your Challenge Checklist!

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