SHARE YOUR SMILE by Raina Telgemeier | Book Review

Once again, thanks to Kidlit Exchange and to Scholastic/Graphix for the advance review copy of SHARE YOUR SMILE: RAINA’S GUIDE TO TELLING YOUR OWN STORY by the great Raina Telgemeier. 

Her name alone practically sells books, but if you must have a high-level description:  This book is Stephen King’s ON WRITING, but for graphic novels, and like if Stephen King was your positive and super-talented-but-not-in-an-irritating-way older sibling who wrote the book wanting nothing more than to see YOU succeed.* 

Oh, and with interactive exercises, step-by step drawing instructions for faces, expressions, bodies, and writing prompts galore.


  • Due to the excerpts as Telgemeier breaks down her creative process step-by-step… you’re going to want to buy every Raina Telgemeier book after reading this one.  Behold, a scene from her newest GUTS (out TODAY!). Watch the wallet, lady.
  • Pages aren’t always numbered, so if you’re using this as a reference book, get some post-it flags.


  • Seeing the step-by-step process of creating scenes, settings, storylines, makes the process seem real and attainable to kids. 
  • The open panels and space for jotting story ideas really make the process come alive.
  • Somehow, Telgemeier’s prose reads like it’s directed personally at YOU.  Your story needs to be told. Telgemeier herself truly believes in you, and that rolls off the pages.

The “A” in STEAM is not an area where enough kids get encouragement… until now. 

As someone who works with websites for my day job, again, I am struck by the tremendous overlap between the skills for graphic novels and the skills for UX design. 

I’m not one of those moms who’s cool with my kid reading just graphic novels (to my son’s dismay) but visual storytelling is a crucial skill for this new generation of kids to have, and Telgemeier delivers a solid foundation for that knowledge in an enjoyable and endearing way. 


*Sorry, Raina, I can’t really hold a pen/pencil that long.  But @me if you’re ever a speaker at the SCBWI Miami/Orlando conference. Or want to be. 

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