Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze written and illustrated by Alan Silberberg was published in 2011 and based on the cover, I had no idea the serious nature of the content inside.
Silberberg uses humor and cartoons to tell what is at many times a very serious and touching story. The illustrations and comic strips help lighten what might otherwise be a dark story. Milo has recently moved to a new house, but his mother died from cancer before this move and he is struggling with grief: missing her, his brain fog, things that remind him of her illness.
Silberberg at times brought me to tears and often, he brought me to laughter. He hits just the right balance of tenderness, sorrow, and laughter because that's how life is. We laugh, we cry, we mess up, and we find people to fill the holes in us.
Milo finds friends who help fill his holes, and the friendships are realistic. I think any middle grade or middle school student can relate to this book - the awkwardness, the fears of not fitting in, the trying to get courage to do the things you want to do. I also feel this book would help children understand someone who has lost a parent and how to best be their friend when things get hard for them because grief is a spiral.
I gave this book five stars and that doesn't happen very often. This book is great for younger readers that read above level because the content isn't too old for them. It carries a lexile of NC1110L, which means it's a non conforming book for younger readers of higher reading ability. That being said, I think my middle school students would have loved this book. There is plenty of white space on the page and the illustrations and comics make this a quick read.
Read to a child today even if that child is you.
Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit so their parents can read to them while they grow. You can also donate gently used books to our project by sending them to me or to Angie. Email me for a mailing address. We can use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the books you donate.