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Anthology, Contemporary Fiction, Graphic Novel, Humor, Interactive Idea Springboard, Memoir, Middle Grade Readers, Reading Age, Teacher & Parent Recommendations

FUNNY GIRL Edited by Betsy Bird

I truly enjoyed Funny Girl. Edited by Betsy Bird, Funny Girl is a collection of poems, stories, comics, and essays by women authors, aimed specifically at girls around the 3rd to 6th grade demographic. The contents are both fictional and personal experiences, by turns witty and inspiring. Many of the best voices in current children’s literature have contributed to this book and it shows! Accessible and thoroughly entertaining stories are fused with the strong message from these women to young girls everywhere: find your own voice and have the courage to use it–and laugh a little on the way.

Populated by authors such as Shannon Hale, Rita Garcia-Williams, Ursula Vernon, Jennifer Holm. Raina Telgemeier, Cece Bell, Lisa Graff and Lenore Look–among others–there is a variety of style and story here that makes this one of the best story collections I have ever read for this age group.

Alison Decamp’s  Dear Grandpa:  Give Me Money was so funny I immediately went to my library site and reserved her book My Near-Death Adventures 99% true!. I realized I had actually checked it out before but, for whatever reason, had returned it without reading it. I am now excited to pick it up again and dive in! The zany, hilarious, over-the-top comedy of errors in Lisa Graff’s Over and Out and Shannon Hale’s Babysitting Nightmare had me chuckling out loud. I was thrilled to see One Hot Mess by Carmen Agra Deedy (whose book The Cheshire Cheese Cat I loved!) in which she relates an example of how your family can feel normal to you before the day you realize not every family does things the way you do.  Akilah Hughes’ storytelling stood out to me so much in Swimming Is For Other Kids that I looked her up at the library and discovered she has a 2019 memoir out called Obviously: stories from my timeline which I have also reserved and look forward to reading in the next week or so! The comics from Cece Bell and Amy Ignatow are both clever and delightful. And Mitali Perkins’ Brown Girl Pop Quiz: All of The Above openly expresses her frustration with Indian stereotypes in a way that’s both humorous and pointed.

I started and finished Funny Girl in one sitting but because it is a collection of stories it’s the perfect book to reach for when you just want a short, self-contained entertaining story. I highly recommend this one as an independent read for girls ages 9 – 11, or it would be a fun mother-daughter read! (I would totally use it as one if my daughter were still in the target audience for this book!)

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