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Little Fish: A Memoir From a Different Kind of Year

by Ramsey Beyer

Published by Zest Books, 2013
272 pages
ISBN: 978𢴗36976188

Age 12 and older

When Ramsey Beyer was eighteen, she left the small, sheltered, predominantly white middle-class Michigan town she抎 lived in her entire life for art school in Baltimore. This graphic novel chronicles a first year at college that is, in its way, idyllic. She lives in an apartment with two young women and they quickly form a tight group with several others. These friendships, along with challenging classes, largely define her first year. There are no major fights or fallouts; a lot of hard work but only one instructor who makes her feel hopeless about being an artist. At the same time, this is an engagingly honest account of her genuine desire to broaden her world. Ramsey抯 friends introduce her to political activism (veganism, GLBTQ issues), and expand her musical tastes. And over the course of the year she discovers a new passion when she changes her major to animation. She even starts falling in love, and her uncertainty and hesitation about this is as real as her innocence. Beyer抯 black-and-white art is uncomplicated but appealing, while the narrative includes some of the actual journal entries and lists she kept during this time. (She抯 a compulsive list maker.) Her desire to challenge herself and seek out new experiences is balanced by her strong sense of self: Ramsey remains grounded as she expands her understanding of and experience in the world.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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