Review: Alterations by Ray Xu

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Life is complicated for Kevin Lee. His single-mother mom always needs help at her alterations shop. His older sister is interested in life without her younger brother in tow. And his grandmother, recently arrived from China to live with his family, embarrasses him with her lack of English and strange ways.

Kevin also struggles to fit in at school, where others expect him to fit the stereotype of a typical Asian student. He wants to be seen and accepted for who he is, which is a kid who likes to draw comics, who misses his dad, and who wants time to just be a kid. A class trip to a local amusement park offers him the chance to be the hero of his own story. But will he be able to ditch the principal first?

Alterations by Ray Xu is a graphic novel set in the 1990s, when the author was growing up in Toronto. Kevin’s story draws on Xu’s own memories from childhood to capture the realities of middle school, particularly for children of immigrants. At turns funny, thoughtful and heartfelt, Alterations is great for readers aged 9 to 12.

The publisher provided a copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

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