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Smile Hardcover – February 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5 Up—When she was in sixth grade, Telgemeier tripped while running and lost her two front teeth. In the years that followed, she went through a torturous series of dental surgeries and repairs, the trauma of which was mirrored by the social struggles she experienced during her adolescence. A minor complaint is that there is no mention of when all of this took place, and readers may be puzzled by seeming anachronisms such as old-school Nintendo games. Telgemeier's full-color artwork is confident and light, and her storytelling is appropriately paced. This straightforward and entertaining autobiographical comic is sure to please.—Douglas P. Davey, Halton Hills Public Library, Ontario, Canada
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From Booklist

The dental case that Telgemeier documents in this graphic memoir was extreme: a random accident led to front tooth loss when she was 12, and over the next several years, she suffered through surgery, implants, headgear, false teeth, and a rearrangement of her remaining incisors. Accompanying the physical treatment came social rough spots with friends, while puberty delivered another set of curveballs with crushes, maturing bodies, and changing family expectations and judgments. Both adults and kids—including various dental professionals and younger siblings—are vividly and rapidly portrayed, giving quick access to the memoirist’s world. Telgemeier’s storytelling and full-color cartoony images form a story that will cheer and inspire any middle-schooler dealing with orthodontia. At the same time, she shows how her early career choice as an animator took root during this difficult period—offering yet another gentle reminder that things have turned out fine for the author and can for her reader as well. Grades 5-8. --Francisca Goldsmith

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: GRAPHIX (February 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545132053
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545132053
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (683 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Raina Telgemeier is the author and illustrator of the graphic novels Smile, Sisters, and Drama, all #1 New York Times bestsellers. She also adapted and illustrated four graphic novel versions of Ann M. Martin's Baby-sitters Club series. Raina's accolades include an Eisner Award, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, a Stonewall Honor, and many Best Of and Notable lists. Raina lives and works in Queens, NY, with her cartoonist husband, Dave Roman.

Visit her online at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Kramer Bussel VINE VOICE on February 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
Smile starts with Raina as a typical pre-teen...until she falls and her two front teeth fall out. She's not only in major pain, but scared, and her trip to the dentist doesn't yield the greatest news; they can put the one tooth they found back in but the other is stuck up in her gums, but she'll have to wear braces. Turns out, there was bone damage, and she endures the braces only to find that her teeth wind up embedded in her gums, leaving her feeling like she's a freak.

Her so-called friends don't help, with their perpetual teasing, but Raina adjusts to being a "brace-face" and weathers typical teenage crushes. As she moves on to a new high school, her friends keep on teasing her and playing pranks, until she finally decides she can seek out new friends who accept as she is.

It's hard not to wince at some of the tooth trials, but Raina is a trooper as she toughs out numerous orthodontist and endodondist and other "dontist" appointments, all rendered in Telgemeier's wonderful drawing style, which complements her story perfectly.

The book ends happily, with a big, toothy smile, and Raina learning that she can find friends who stick by her and don't make fun of her.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Penny for your Thought on February 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
I got this book at a Scholastic book fair last month and thought that the comic-book style would be great for my students. I wanted to read the book beforehand and fell in love with the art work and the storyline. It brought back so many memories from my middle school days. Raina is amazing! I've decided to purchase her Babysitters Club books as well!
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful By R. Gilmore on February 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My 12-year-old daughter is a big (read: BIG) fan of Raina Telgemeier's graphic-novel adaptations of 'The Babysitter's Club' books. I pre-ordered 'Smile' with the anticipation of giving this to her as a gift. The book fell out of the shipping box, and I couldn't help but peruse its pages. It made me recall the days when I was subjected to the torments of wearing braces as a teenager. Upon skimming through the book, it was clear that this graphic novel was special. It beautifully captures that period in a teen's life when social-awkwardness and orthodontic-care collide, causing emotional and physical trauma.

Telgemeier is a true talent, and confidently displays a skill with her artistic tools that I haven't seen since the heyday of "For Better or for Worse". In fact, the author credits Lynn Johnston as an influence...

It shows.

There is a deft power to Telgemeier's narrative -- there are times when it's a little heartbreaking to read -- going to junior-high school can (at times) be hard. The author does not sugarcoat, and creates a satisfying world for her characters to exist in.
I can't recommend 'Smile' enough. It's heartfelt and funny and perfect for anyone, whether they wear braces or not.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Annathaema on February 1, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've said in another review that last year that I had massive amounts of dental work done. I have had terrible teeth since I was very young, stemming from heredity and lack of dental insurance to pay for regular care. As a result I have had a long, long history of dental trauma.

I would have killed for this book at thirteen. As it is, I am 34 and this book made me cry, and made me feel so much better about everything.

I got it after my major oral surgery, and read it while I was recovering. I have long been a fan of Raina's art and I had seen some of her Smile story online, and I was so happy to see more. It really is true-to-life, and the fact it takes place in California - where I live - makes it even more relatable. I cried. I giggled, around the gauze in my mouth. And man, does this ever remind me to brush my teeth and look where I'm running.

I would give this to any kid dealing with braces, bad teeth, even issues unrelated to teeth, because the whole point is that everyone goes through something as a kid that shakes their confidence, and knowing you're not alone makes it a tiny, tiny bit easier to survive it.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Nicola Mansfield on December 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
Reason for Reading: This is a Cybils '10 nominee and required reading for me as a graphic novels panelist.

This is a graphic memoir that follows the author from grade six through her sophomore year of high school specifically focusing on her dental problems. In the 6th grade, just shortly before she is scheduled for braces for an overbite Raina trips and knocks out her 2 front teeth. A host of other problems follow as we watch Raina's dental nightmare over the next several years. During this time Raina is going through adolescence, her normal self-esteem issues at this age are multiplied by the extensive work she has done which includes a retainer with two false front teeth attached to it.

I loved this book. First the artwork is wonderful. Cartoony but so very expressive. The characters facial expressions almost tell the story by themselves. Set in the late eighties, there are lots of fun retro moments for adult readers in the background as one notices her watching 'Silver Spoons' on TV and they play an original 8-bit Nintendo system. The dental story is transfixing. I didn't wear braces myself, so that and all the extra problems of missing teeth and loss of bone, etc. was fascinating. Raina goes through this experience with pain and complaints but she is a happy child and can always see the bright side of things, eventually. Children going through/or about to will identify with Raina and feel for her while at the same time being thankful they only have to wear braces. This is also a story about growing up and it very nicely shows how Raina slowly notices over the years how she has become the butt of jokes in her group of friends and while no one is mean to her (on purpose) she's not exactly in healthy relationships friend-wise.
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