The Middle School Confidential series is a full colour graphic novel (first published in 2009) that has been imported and adapted to the iPad.
The stories in Be Confident in Who You Are revolve around a group of 7th grade friends dealing with the everyday challenges of growing up and finding their place in the world. The illustrations are fantastic: page design, panels and close-ups all serve the story well. The chapters are short, just a few pages each, and conclude with a character giving clear advice derived from the story. This book communicates positive coping skills without preaching.
It’s written by Annie Fox, who has been answering teen’s questions for years as ‘Hey, Terra!’ She also created The InSite, a “place for teens and young adults to turn their world around.” The artwork is by multiple Eisner Award nominee and Hardy Award winner, Matt Kindt.
So why buy the iPad version. Does it add anything over the paper book?
You can read this book much like you would the graphic novel. Double tapping will zoom in to view the novel, panel by panel. The art stands up to the scrutiny and the page/panel turn ensures that critical narration is read. Another feature that separates this graphic novel from a paper edition is the background sound. It’s very well done, and supportive of the scene without being intrusive.
Given great content, readability and execution, Be Confident in Who You Are certainly sets the bar high for adapted graphic novels. Further interactivity, such as incorporation of the quizzes and resources included in the paper book might have pushed the rating to five cheeses. How cool would it be to take a self-knowledge quiz between chapters!
The primary value of this series on the iPad lies in its easy availability to readers. It’s much easier to download an app than it is to search out a paper copy. By wrapping the advice in an intriguing comic book package and offering it on a cool platform, Middle School Confidential is sure to reach its intended audience.
Highly recommended. Exceptional quality, art and advice for navigating the awkward years.