Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon: The Graphic Novel by Paula Danziger, adapted and illustrated by Victoria Ying

Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon: The Graphic Novel by Paula Danziger, Adapted and illustrated by Victoria Ying
Publisher:  G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers 
Format:  E-ARC
Number of pages:   112 pages
Published:  Today, May 21st, 2024
Source:  Media Matters Publicity via NetGalley

Opening Line:  "In ten minutes, our entire class is getting on a plane for our flight to China."

Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon: The Graphic Novel is the adaptation of Paula Danziger's chapter book first written in 1994, into a graphic novel.  It was also adapted into a TV series for Apple TV+ in 2022 and lasted for one season.    

Since preschool, third-grader Amber Brown and Justin Daniels have been inseparable, the best of friends. They have always sat together at school; Justin helps Amber with her fractions, while she helps with any writing assignments.  They also spend time together at each other's houses after school.  Justin was the one who was there for Amber when her parents got divorced and her dad moved away to France.   
But now that Justin's dad got a new job in Alabama, his parents are planning to sell their house and move away, leaving Amber really sad.  She struggles to imagine her life without Justin, who will be her best friend now?   Justin seems to be adjusting quite well to the move, claiming that "everything is going great."  While also avoiding discussing his feelings about how the move makes him really feel with her, despite her many attempts to bring up the topic, leaving Amber confused and really mad.    

While helping Justin pack his room, they find a ball made of chewing gum which they both contributed to.  Justin decides to throw it away, which sparks a huge argument, and Amber vows she'll never speak to him ever again.  Thankfully, Amber's hurt feelings don't last long and soon she's trying to find a way for them to makeup before Justin has to move.

I deeply related to Amber's feelings of not wanting her friend to move and the fear of being alone.   As an army brat, my family moved roughly every three years during my childhood.  Often, I was the one leaving or a friend's dad received orders to move to a new post.  Saying goodbye can be incredibly tough and challenging for kids to adapt to.  I believe the story addressed this with sensitivity, conveying how Amber had already experienced loss due to her parents' divorce, and how now having to deal with Justin's impending move compounded things for her.  She shows considerable sadness and anger, yet you can tell that she really cares for Justin.  With its short chapters, vibrant, full color illustrations and concise text this book is an excellent adaptation for young readers tackling similar issues and emotions.  I'm really hoping that the rest of Danziger's chapter books will be adapted into graphic novels.  As a bonus the back of the book features a behind-the-scenes look at the development of the characters and insight into Victoria Ying's process for creating the interior artwork. 

**A huge thank you to Media Matters Publicity and the Publisher for the E-ARC via NetGalley**

1 comment:

  1. I remember this one from when I was a kid! It sounds like a great story to adapt into a graphic novel and find a new audience with today's readers.