Frankie’s World: A Graphic Novel

Scholastic/Graphix. Aug. 2022. 272p. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781338813111.
Gr 3-6–Eleven-year-old Frankie is a sweet yet socially awkward girl living in Ireland. She’s been told she talks too much and has a habit of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time; she never quite feels like she fits in, and the mean girls at school are quick to call her “weird” and “freak.” Frankie does have a support system, though: she’s very close with her Mam; her best friend, Sam; and even her stepfather and annoying younger sister. An upcoming art competition at school prompts introspection in Frankie as she thinks about her “true self”—the competition’s theme—ultimately sending her on a quest to find and connect with her father, who may have answers as to why she is the way she is. Dooley, who is autistic, presents a positive journey to self-discovery and an autism diagnosis, depicted as a moment of enlightenment rather than a grim delivery: “No wonder my brain didn’t know what to do. It had the wrong manual.” Clean, bold comic-style artwork in black, blue, and orange is eye-catching and easy to read, and illustrations are fun and engaging. Frankie and her family present as white, and diverse characters populate the story.
VERDICT An excellent first purchase for graphic novel collections.

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