My Own World

First Second. Jun. 2021. 240p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781250208279; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781250208286.
Gr 5-8–Nine-year-old Nathan used to be best friends with his older brother, Ben, but they’ve slowly drifted apart. Nathan longs for their old relationship, but he only feels more alone over the summer after enduring run-ins with neighborhood bullies and overhearing that Ben is gravely ill. Fleeing the turmoil of life, Nathan discovers an abandoned lighthouse with a portal to a world where he is safe from all that haunts him—and where he can create whatever he can imagine. Holmes skillfully captures the joy of escape as scenes of Nathan’s imaginary world convey the delight of exploration, with his explosive, saturated crimson illustrations evoking the joy of creation, exploration, and life. Yet the portal world also underscores Nathan’s impending loss and his need to fill a void. By contrast, the real world—early 1990s British Columbia—is illustrated with lush chartreuse and emerald green scenery. Messy scribbles are used as stand-ins for cursing on a handful of pages. Characters are white.
VERDICT Readers looking for the gravity of a story like Fanny Britt’s Jane, the Fox, and Me will find a worthy option.

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