GRAPHIC NOVELS

Act

HMH. (A Click Graphic Novel). Jul. 2020. 224p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780358242185; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780358206354.
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Gr 3-7–Olive enters the world of small-scale politics when she decides to run for student council at her school. Spurred to action when she discovers that some students are being excluded from field trips because they can’t afford the costs, Olive earns the trust of classmates who confide in her about their problems with the school, such as an unfair dress code. She’s committed to making the school a better place for all the students, but the competition is fierce: Sawyer and Trent clown their way through the election, promising students more pudding, and Belinda’s got politician parents influencing her performance. Olive’s supportive mother and her activist aunt Molly help her research protest movements, which the back matter supports through brief historical summaries and a recommended reading list. While the stated moral of the story is that kids should take action to make a difference, Miller also emphasizes practical planning and teamwork rather than taking the easy way out or appealing to the lowest common denominator. What keeps the book from being overly didactic is its gentle, sensitive depiction of its core cast. Olive’s diverse classmates support one another, which makes the occasional bruised ego all the more deeply felt. Friendships are tested along candidate lines, and readers will have many angles to consider before casting their own vote. Attractive coloring, paneling, and lettering ensure a simple, clear sight line through each page.
VERDICT Olive’s latest journey since Click and Camp is an eye-opening microcosm of the often bumpy democratic process.

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