Share Your Smile: Raina’s Guide to Telling Your Own Story

Raina Telgemeier’s latest book, Share Your Smile: Raina’s Guide to Telling Your Own Story, puts a workshop course between covers. Her many devout fans will find this journal, full of prompts and activities, a friendly guide to making their own comics.

After a welcoming introduction, there are four chapters, each focusing on one of Telgemeier’s books: Smile, Sisters, Drama, and Ghosts. The first, covering Smile, is the longest, with the most detail about Telgemeier’s creative process and short lessons on drawing characters and expressions.

The chapters each include a three- or-four page excerpt from the graphic novel, information on what inspired the book (illustrated by selected panels), brainstorming questions to spur thoughts on the subject, photos from Raina’s childhood, and blanks to draw or write according to the prompts. The book ends with a list of creativity tips and a couple of preview pages from Telgemeier’s next book, Guts.

Share Your Smile: Raina's Guide to Telling Your Own Story

A library might consider that much of the book encourages readers to write and draw in its pages, making it difficult to lend without caution. Even those uninterested in creating may find the short sections about background and influences informative about favorite reads, although they are generally light and breezy, aimed at the younger audience. The emphasis here is firmly on showing kids how to start making comics about things that interest them.

Telgemeier makes the process look attractive and fun, with plenty of inspiration and a general feeling that anyone can do this. As Telgemeier says in her introduction, “most of what it takes is time, dedication, and a desire to tell a story! (And, you know, lots and lots and lots of practice.)” (Review originally posted at Good Comics for Kids.)

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