Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2024) Featured Review: Embrace You Size: My Own Body Positvity by hara

  • Embrace Your Size: My Own Body Positivity
  • by hara
  • Publisher: Yen Press
  • Publication Date: November 22, 2022
  • ISBN-13: 9781975347307

Embrace Your Size follows author, hara’s, journey of self-acceptance as she learns more about the body positivity movement. These graphic essays cover a wide range of subjects, all linked to hara’s attempts to build a positive relationship with her body. Topics include: recovery from an eating disorder, a growing interest in fashion, movie reviews, and interviews with other members of the body positivity community. 

The art style is charming, and Hara’s positive depiction of bodies of all sizes is a refreshing change of pace from the traditionally limited range of manga body types. Very little is prescriptive here, with the emphasis on the uniqueness of each person’s version of body positivity giving the book an inclusive and welcoming feel. Difficult topics such as hara’s eating disorder and body image issues are raised, but the tone remains lighthearted and upbeat throughout. 

Readers who enjoy the fictional adventures of plus-sized characters in novels like Amy Spalding’s The Summer of Jordy Perez or Lyla Lee’s I’ll Be the One will find similar discussions of fashion and beauty standards here. Embrace Your Size will also appeal to readers looking for adorably illustrated fat characters, similar to Grace Ellis and Shae Beagle’s Moonstruck. Fans of other autobiographical manga like The Bride Was a Boy or My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness may also be interested in Hara’s emotional journey and commentary on social expectations. 

—Meg Bowie

Other Nominated Titles

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The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.

Foodie Companions for With the Fire On High


2019 Printz Winner for The Poet X, Elizabeth Acevedo’s much anticipated sophomore novel With the Fire On High, is a book about embracing your passions, and charting your future. Emoni Santiago, an Afro-Boricua high school senior has had a gift for cooking since she was young. She and her toddler daughter live with her supportive grandmother, but Emoni needs to decide where she wants to go to school and what she wants to do after graduation. When her school offers a new class, “Culinary Arts: Spain Immersion,” Emoni has a chance to immerse herself in cooking in a way that she can start to see what is possible with her gift.

Foodie readers will swoon over Acevedo’s writing on food and cooking, and it will leave them hungering for more.  Here are a few delicious titles about food and cooking to pair With the Fire On High:

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Crossovers: It Happened to Me

Jon and David Kushner
David and Jon Kushner

Earlier this year, journalist David Kushner published his eloquent memoir, Alligator Candy. At the core of his story is a terrible crime. When Kushner was just four-years-old, he watched his older brother, Jon, ride away on his bicycle, never to return. Jon’s mutilated body was found later. At first, Kushner is a confused small boy missing his brother, fearing that he could have prevented the crime had he not requested candy from the store. Then, as a thirteen-year-old boy, he secretly begins reading accounts from the newspapers on microfilm at the library. There were details that he couldn’t have even imagined as a four-year-old boy.

After publishing several books and articles as an adult, Kushner was ready to write about Jon’s disappearance and murder. As part of his research, he received access to police records. He discovers details that are so horrific that he wonders how his family survived.  Kushner also realizes that while Jon’s disappearance and murder devastated his family, the entire community was deeply affected by the violence of the crime.

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8 Books from YouTube Stars

Just this week, I’ve had a co-worker tell me about his 4-year-old son’s fascination with “unboxing” videos on YouTube featuring new toys, had a parent ask for help finding books for her twelve-year-old daughter who is “obsessed with YouTube” and received two purchase requests for books by YouTube stars months ahead of their release (a rare occurrence).

YouTube has long been popular with teens, and vloggers have amassed millions of followers. Especially in the last year, the publishing world has taken notice. These are eight 2015 releases of memoirs and essays from YouTube stars that might be of interest to teen patrons.

8 books from YouTube stars YALSA The Hub

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