GRAPHIC NOVELS

The Courage Party: Helping Our Resilient Children Understand and Survive Sexual Assault

Microcosm. (American Splendor). Aug. 2020. 224p. ISBN 9781621067856. $27.95. Rated: Teen+. nf
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When Danielle is sexually assaulted at a public park, Brabner (Our Cancer Year) realizes that how she reacts will affect how her daughter remembers the incident for the rest of her life. So Brabner decides to throw Danielle a courage party celebrating the girl’s bravery—surrounding her with supportive women and making it clear that there is no shame in being the victim of a crime. Brabner’s guide for navigating the difficult conversations surrounding sexual assault is written in plain, frank language that older kids will understand, with asides and footnotes intended for adults. With a comprehensive dictionary of terms and resource list in the back of the book, this is a valuable tool for teaching kids how to get help from “good grownups” if they are victims of sexual assault, rape, or inappropriate attention, with an emphasis on what to do if the adults closest to the victim don’t believe them or are the perpetrators.
VERDICT Full pages of text between Oparaku’s illustrations make categorizing this as a graphic novel a bit of a reach, but its association with comics creator Harvey Pekar (Brabner and Danielle appear as characters in Pekar’s “American Splendor” comics and the 2003 film) will interest comics fans. Timely and important content make it a worthy addition to any adult or YA collection.

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