for Be Prepared
by Vera Brosgol
At her classmate’s sleepover birthday party, Russian immigrant Vera feels like an outsider, not just culturally but economically. When she convinces her mom to let her have her own sleepover birthday party, the feeling doesn’t change. These scenes, mined for humor as well as pathos, set up Vera’s desire to attend summer camp. Not just any summer camp, but ORRA, a camp for Russian immigrant children. With tuition help from their church, she heads off with her comically resistant-to-camp younger brother, eager to participate in the camaraderie and activities. But from the bathrooms (latrines!), to tentmates (longtime campers and best friends who barely tolerate Vera), to capture the flag, to things that go scratch in the night, Vera finds little to like and a lot to hate about summer camp, until she (finally) starts hanging out with Kira. Only 8–1/2 to Vera’s almost 10, Kira is the first person at camp Vera genuinely likes. And unlike Vera, Kira doesn’t worry about what others think—both relief and inspiration. This funny, poignant graphic novel, inspired in part by the author’s childhood, is drawn with clean lines and slightly comical style, and colored in shades of camp-tent khaki green. (Ages 9–12)
CCBC Choices 2019. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019. Used with permission.
"Beautifully drawn, brutally funny, brilliantly honest. Vera is such a good cartoonist I almost can't stand it." -Raina Telgemeier, author of Smile
In Be Prepared, all Vera wants to do is fit in-but that's not easy for a Russian girl in the suburbs. Her friends live in fancy houses and their parents can afford to send them to the best summer camps. Vera's single mother can't afford that sort of luxury, but there's one summer camp in her price range-Russian summer camp.
Vera is sure she's found the one place she can fit in, but camp is far from what she imagined. And nothing could prepare her for all the "cool girl" drama, endless Russian history lessons, and outhouses straight out of nightmares!
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.