Positively Izzy is the sequel to Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson. Both combine illustrated diary-style storytelling with comic format inserts to contrast visually how kids feel about themselves and how others may see them.
Brianna (whom we met in the first book as Emmie’s best friend) is feeling constrained by being known as a brain. Izzy is full of imagination, creating her own stories, but she has trouble paying attention in school. Izzy gets the diary format, Brianna the comics.
The images establish the details of the story and add more jokes, always a good thing when they’re funny (and they are). There’s a talent show at school that evening, and Izzy is really looking forward to doing a monologue scene. Brianna, meanwhile, is embarrassed that her mom is the drama teacher and wants her to help out, which pushes her outside her comfort zone.
The end of the book reveals a previously unsuspected connection between the two leads. It’s refreshing to see how these kids address issues of friendship and getting to understand other people better (including their family members) without it needing to be high drama. It’s comforting and encouraging, aided by the welcoming cartoons. A great read for kids wanting more graphic novels about their age group.
Positively Izzy is also available in hardcover. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)