Review Detail

engaging graphic novel that tackles tough topics well
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
AMBER BROWN IS NOT A CRAYON: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL is an engaging and approachable look at tough topics around a friend moving away, teasing, and divorce. Amber Brown hates when other kids tease her for having a name like a crayon, but she has come to appreciate her name over time. This year, in third grade, she is sad that her best friend, Justin, may be moving away. His father got a job in Alabama, which means that once they sell their house in New Jersey, he will be leaving.

Amber and Justin are the best of friends, and Amber is not sure what she will do when he leaves. As the time approaches, she considers her feelings and possibilities. She knows what it feels like to lose someone, as her father moved to another country after the divorce. Luckily, with good friends and her mother, Amber will learn how to approach these changes and feelings.

What I loved: This is a really relatable and approachable graphic novel that tackles some tough topics in a way that young elementary schoolers can appreciate. The story is illustrated well with plenty of details in each panel, plus plenty of color and silliness that will appeal to the intended age range. The characters are expressive and the story is primarily told with images, without having too much text on any page, which works well for the intended audience. Some particular jokes that make readers giggle are concerns about kids who pick their noses and Justin's telling of his plane trip.

Amber is a compelling character, and the story spells out her emotions, why she feels that way, and how she and other characters are handling these big feelings. This is great for elementary school aged kids who are working on understanding, naming, and dealing with tough emotions. The experience of having a good friend move away is one that many kids will understand, as are the feelings left behind after a divorce. While these are tough topics, the story handles them well and includes many light-hearted moments to help break them up along the way.

The text in the story is mainly told through narrative call-outs, but there are places of dialogue in key moments. This style works well for young readers who need things spelled out. They are easy to follow and the order is clear throughout, which is great for young independent readers who can easily travel the graphic novel on their own. The story is also broken into chapters to make it even more digestible.

Final verdict: AMBER BROWN IS NOT A CRAYON is a delightful graphic novel that handles tough topics in an approachable way and with plenty of humor to keep young readers engaged and giggling. Recommend for elementary schoolers who love a story with heart, expressive illustrations, and memorable characters, and/or who might be facing their own similar situations.
Report this review Was this review helpful? 2 0


Already have an account? or Create an account