Review of Mexikid: A Graphic Memoir

Mexikid: A Graphic MemoirMexikid: A Graphic Memoir
by Pedro Martín; illus. by the author
Intermediate, Middle School    Dial    320 pp.
8/23    9780593462287    $24.99
Paper ed.  9780593462294    $14.99
e-book ed.  9780593462300    $9.99

Martín’s humorous and heartfelt memoir recounts a momentous 1977 road trip with his “big Mexican American family.” Apá and Amá gather the nine Martín children to drive to Jalisco to pick up Apa’s father. The younger four “Somewhat Mexican” boys, including the author, travel in the family motor home, while the older “Somewhat American” siblings follow in a pickup truck. Martín captures each family member’s quirks—Amá’s habit of offering half bananas, or Apá’s whistling call—to bring their distinct personalities to life. Panels smoothly transition to splash pages with added visual guides and gags to create a dynamic flow. A full-color palette gives way to soft watercolor hues as the narrative evokes the past or, as Pedro learns more about his abuelo, integrates Ben-Day dots to lend a vintage comic vibe to Abuelito’s imagined adventures. Bits of Mexican Revolutionary history are integrated, reminiscent of the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series, and myriad pop culture references, from Star Wars to superhero action figures, reflect contemporary nerdom. Spanish is integrated throughout, with translations and comical addenda provided at the bottom of the page. Deep familial bonds, a lovingly chaotic household, and a heartfelt exploration of culture and identity underpin this very memorable debut.

From the September/October 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Jessica Agudelo

Jessica Agudelo is the youth collections coordinator at BookOps for the New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library, and a member of the 2023 Newbery committee.

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