Little Fish: A different kind of memoir for a different kind of teen (and a different kind of TPiB)
I don’t know about you, but graphic novels and graphic novelish type books are hot at my library. Heck, they are hot at my house. And with the school year just starting, it’s great for Juniors and Seniors to start thinking about WHAT COMES NEXT. So, tada: Little Fish, a memoir from a different kind of year by Ramsey Beyer. (Zest Books, 2013 ISBN: 978-1-936976-18-8)
Ramsey Beyer was a teenager from a small town in Michigan. My family is from a small town in Michigan. They have one blinking stop light and thought they were a big deal when they got a McDonalds. Trust me, I know all about small towns in Michigan. And most people growing up in a small town anywhere just want to escape. To find a way out to something bigger. Beyer did that when she went to college. She became an apartment dwelling, city living art student. And she created this artistic book to chronicle her experiences.
Little Fish is told in a series of comics, illustrated poems, and illustrated lists. So you know where you see all those journals that are “destroy this book” and “make it yours”? Beyer did that. And it is pretty cool. In fact, it is a built in program (TPiB). You can buy blank books from Oriental Trading and invite your teens to come in and create their own journal. Duct tape, markers, torn pages from magazines and glue . . . anything goes. You can take anyone of the different lists from the books and asks teens to do the same. Or just let them freestyle it.
In Little Fish, Beyer captures all the hopes and fears of moving away and embarking on a journey like starting college and moving away from home. I remember packing up what I could fit in my little car and setting out from California to drive cross country and go to college in Ohio. Why Ohio? My then fiance’s family (now my husband) was from Ohio and after his dad died from Cancer, he needed to move back there because living in California without a good job is super expensive. So he moved back to Ohio to help his mom and go to college and a semester later, I followed. The first winter there I remembered all about winter snow and the need for gloves – the hard way (and almost lost a couple of fingers to frostbite.)
I have always journalled. I write poetry (not necessarily good poetry, but poetry). I collect my favorite quotes from the books that I read. And when my first daughter was born I wrote in a journal to her every day. And now I blog, which is kind of a journal. It’s great to have this little book of your life that you can look back through and remember who you were and how far you have come.
Little Fish by Ramsey Beyer is a must have. It is definitely in a popular format that has huge teen appeal. And it is great insight for all of our high school students who are about to venture out into the big unknown of what’s next.
More Memoirs for Teens
More Memoirs from Zest Books
Have more memoirs to add to our list? Add them in the comments.
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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