Be Prepared

by Vera Brosgol

At her classmate’s sleepover birthday party, Russian immigrant Vera feels like... read more

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)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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