Camp Prodigy

Atheneum. Jun. 2024. 256p. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9781665930383.
Gr 3-8–Tate decides they want to play the viola just like their hero, the musical child prodigy Eli. When Tate attends a concert where Eli loses confidence and runs away from playing their solo, Tate becomes more determined to master the instrument. The two middle school protagonists meet at Camp Prodigy the following summer and form a mutually supportive bond that includes refining musical technique, and for Eli, regaining self-confidence, and for Tate, becoming brave enough to come out to their family as nonbinary. A full cast of variously motivated tween campers, encouraging camp staff, and supportive families for both Tate and Eli creates a story that readily contains the twin arcs of gaining comfort with artistry and with gender identity. Colorful and overflowing with camp activities as well as musical performances, Tate and Eli’s summer evolves with inspired and inspiring positivity. Tate is biracial white and South Asian, Eli is Black, and their peers are a range of ethnic backgrounds and body shapes.
VERDICT A tween graphic novel that checks both aesthetic and message boxes with grace—this one belongs in all public and middle and elementary school libraries.

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