Author and Illustrator: Victoria Jamieson
Published March 10th, 2015 by Dial Books
Goodreads Summary: For most of her twelve years, Astrid has done everything with her best friend Nicole. But after Astrid falls in love with roller derby and signs up for derby camp, Nicole decides to go to dance camp instead. And so begins the most difficult summer of Astrid’s life as she struggles to keep up with the older girls at camp, hang on to the friend she feels slipping away, and cautiously embark on a new friendship. As the end of summer nears and her first roller derby bout (and junior high!) draws closer, Astrid realizes that maybe she is strong enough to handle the bout, a lost friendship, and middle school… in short, strong enough to be a roller girl.
In her graphic novel debut, real-life derby girl Victoria Jamieson has created an inspiring coming-of-age story about friendship, perseverence, and girl power!
My Review and Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: How did I not read this book the instant it came out?! First, it has eye-catching, colorful artwork which is my favorite in graphic novels. Yes, everyone is comparing it to Raina’s work, and I can see why, because they are both just so well done and fun to read. Second, it is such a girl power book. Not an over-the-top girl power book, but it is a book about being a girl and being awesome at it. Third, it has roller derby in it! I love that we get to learn about the sport with Astrid. Fourth, the book has an awesome mom! Even when Astrid is complaining about her, she is being awesome (like taking her to poetry readings and the art museum). Fifth, this book is also about friendships and the ebbs and flows that come with teenage friends. Finally, it is about putting your mind to something and doing it! Astrid works her butt off, and it pays off. I think Roller Girl is also a great jumping off point to talk about bullying, friendship, and working hard to meet a goal.
This book is going to be loved by fans of Raina Telgemeier, El Deafo, The Dumbest Idea Ever!, Astronaut Academy, and Cleopatra in Space. It is definitely going to make the rounds in my classroom library!
Discussion Questions: How should Astrid had dealt with Nicole not going to derby camp?; Have you had a friend like Nicole?; Astrid really wants to learn roller derby; Nicole wants to get better at ballet–what is your passion?; How did Rainbow Brite help Astrid?; What do you think about Astrid’s mom?
Read This If You Loved: Smile, Sisters, and Drama by Raina Telgemeier, El Deafo by Cece Bell, The Dumbest Idea Ever! by Jimmy Gownley, Astronaut Academy by Dave Roman, Cleopatra in Space by Mike Maihack