Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Amelia Rules!

  “One thing I noticed about grown-ups…They’re not funny!” – Amelia, The Whole World’s Crazy by Jimmy Gownley

In honor or Round 15 for ABCWednesday and summer of 2014, I thought I'd highlight an incredible graphic novel series, Amelia Rules by Jimmy Gownley.
Amelia Rules! by Jimmy Gownley (Simon & Schuster)
Amelia Rules!  is a New York Times Bestseller. It has been nominated for thirteen Eisner Awards (four nominations in 2008 alone), five Harvey Awards, and was a short list finalist for the Howard E. Day Prize in 2002. In 2007, Volume 3: Superheroes won the Cybil Award for best graphic novel for readers aged twelve and under. In 2008 Gownley won the Pennsylvania Library Association One Book Award, and in 2012, Volume 8:  Her Permanent Record became the first Amelia Rules! Book to make the New York Times bestseller list.

There are eight books to the Amelia Rules Series:
1.     The Whole World’s Crazy
2.     What Makes You Happy
3.     Superheroes
4.     When the Past is a Present
5.     Amelia Rules!: The Tweenage Guide to Not Being Unpopular
6.     True Things (Adults Don’t Want Kids to Know)
7.     The Meaning of Life and Other Stuff
8.     Her Permanent Record

Why not take a look at the Amelia Rules! Trailer on YouTube:

And if you want more, here's an Amelia Rules! True Things Trailer on YouTube:

Finally,  here's an interview with Jimmy Gownley where he reveals all...well, almost all - espcially about being popular and background inspiration for his series:

Amelia Rule! by Jimmy Gownley (Simon & Schuster)
Amelia Rules!  is an empowering, heart-warming story about Amelia Louise McBride who moves with her Mom to a small town in Pennsylvania to live with her uber-cool aunt Tanner, after her parents’ divorce.  Amelia, along with her friends Reggie, Pajamaman (or PJ), and Rhonda Bleenie (Amelia’s best frenemy) tackle all the world throws at them, with some guidance from Tanner, Amelia’s aunt, confidante, and former rock-star. Through laughs, challenges and spills, we all learn about friendship, family, about the “truths” of life, and about the joys of not taking anything too seriously – as long as there are people (as flawed as they may be) to provide support when necessary.
Amelia Rules! by Jimmy Gownley (Simon & Schuster)
Throughout the series, Amelia and her friends deal with divorce, bullies, death, stardom, and just about everything Gownley throws at them. From beginning to end, the series shows us how to gracefully and not-so-gracefully embrace life.
Aside from the wonderful “truths” and laughs that fill these pages, Gownley also creates a rich visual world for us to savor. While his characters are simply drawn (much like Charles Schulz’s Peanuts and Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes), they are by no means simple.  The image, panel and page design are dazzling. They’re vibrant, colorful, and casual, and the overall panel elements are brilliant as Gownley scaffolds levels of insight and storytelling through image, font, color, design and text. Gownley (seeming effortlessly) weaves present, past and future, with references to Scott McCloud, Bob Dylan, and other glorious and not-so-glorious pop culture references.
While these books are geared for 7-12 year olds, they are wonderfully entertaining for readers of all ages, and provide summer, school, or any-time fun.
Amelia Rules! by Jimmy Gownley (Simon & Schuster)
In short Amelia Rules!  is a story about life’s truths and challenges. It shows us it’s ever so much easier to face those challenges with friends, family and a sense of humor. And, while learning life’s lessons, the series is full of GEMS from literature, music, and philosophy. But most of all, it’s just PURE FUN.

Throughout Amelia Rule! Jimmy Gownley discusses:
  • ·      The ups and downs of friends, frenemies, bullies and group stereotypes;
  • ·      Learning how to live and navigate through divorce;
  • ·      The fears and challenges of moving;
  • ·      Whether or not Santa Clause is real;
  • ·      Dealing with death and fears of funerals;
  • ·      How people with disabilities are often treated differently;
  • ·      The affect a “bad” label can have and the importance of perspective and being true to oneself;
  • ·      Finding what makes us happy;
  • ·      Coming of age and learning to balance dreams, flaws and life’s challenges;
  • ·      How to deal with real and imagined dangers (from camping, to games like Truth or Dare and Spin the Bottle, to a parent deployed for a year overseas).
Amelia Rules! by Jimmy Gownley (Simon & Schuster)
Suggested Prose Novel and Poetry Pairings
For greater discussion on literary style and/or content here are some prose novels about growing up, about being a pre-teen/teen, and about challenges of middle school and high school that you may want to read and pair with Amelia Rules!:
·      Smile and Drama by Raina Telgemeier –an autobiographic memoire about Telgemeier’s dealing with middle school, serious (and embarrassing) dental work, high school, friendships, and finding one’s voice.
·      Freckle Juice, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing;  Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret; and Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great – just a few of the books Judy Blume wrote about the honest and humorous trails of growing up.
·      Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney – a series about a boy and his struggles in middle school.
·      Pippi Longstocking – a series by Astrid Lindgren centering around Pippi, an irrepressible nine-year-old girl with a unique way of doing things.  Pippi, and her neighbors Tommy and Annika make everything into an adventure and are hard to put down.
·      Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – a series of books about sisters growing up in a time long past. Have students compare the stories, the characters and the way the authors address similar themes.
·      Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson – collections of comic strips about a rambunctious six year old with a vivid imagination and sharp intellect who shares “truths” with us much like Amelia.
·      Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud – an outstanding book and resource that brilliants explains fundamental concepts of visual literacy and the art of making comics.

Amelia Rules! by Jimmy Gowley (Simon & Schuster)
NOTE: Being summer, I am not including teaching suggestions.  For extensive teaching and classroom suggestions, please go to http://cbldf.org/2014/08/using-graphic-novels-in-education-amelia-rules/ - "Using Graphic Novels in Education: Amelia Rules!"

 As always, thanks for your visit.
Please leave a comment before leaving and enjoy these GREAT READS!!!
In closing, here's one last glimpse:


  1. This is a way cool character I'll have to share with the daughter!

  2. HUmmm... I am speechless, to much information to process right now.

  3. I'll have to keep this one in mind for when my granddaughter is old enough.

    abcw team

  4. Unfortunately I have never heard of her !
    ABC Wednesday Team

  5. Thanks for putting me in touch with a literary genre that doesn't seem to have a place in my life anymore, - grandchildren all into adult life and great grandchildren just little bitty kids so I miss my contact with the 7 to 12s - great reading and learning about life....

  6. Looks like a great series....Love to get kids hooked on reading♪ http://lauriekazmierczak.com/abstracts/