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list price: $21.95
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published: Apr 2019


by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler

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music, bullying, emotions & feelings
0 of 5
0 ratings
list price: $21.95
also available: eBook
published: Apr 2019

A story of friendship, first crushes, opera and the high drama of middle school told by award-winning Kyo Maclear in her debut graphic novel.

Somewhere in the universe, there is the perfect tune for you.

It’s almost the end of middle school, and Charlie has to find her perfect song for a music class assignment. But it’s hard for Charlie to concentrate when she can’t stop noticing her classmate Emile, or wondering about Luka, who hasn’t been to school in weeks.

Then, the class learns about opera, and Charlie discovers the music of Maria Callas. The more she learns about Maria’s life, the more Charlie admires her passion for singing and her ability to express herself fully through her music. Can Charlie follow the example of the ultimate diva, Maria Callas, when it comes to her own life?

Key Text Features
speech bubbles

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).

Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.

Contributor Notes

Kyo Maclear is a beloved author of books for children and adults. Her recent children’s books include Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli, illustrated by Julie Morstad, Yak and Dove, illustrated by Esmé Shapiro, and The Liszts, illustrated by Júlia Sardà. She lives in Toronto with her two sons, two cats and a singer.

Byron Eggenschwiler is a graduate of the Alberta College of Art and Design. He is an award-winning illustrator whose many clients include the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, GQ, the National Post, O, The Oprah Magazine, the Walrus and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. He has also illustrated Coyote Tales by Thomas King. He lives in Calgary.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
10 to 14
5 to 9
Reading age:
10 to 14
  • Short-listed, Red Maple Award
  • , The List — Toronto Public Library
  • Commended, The List, Toronto Public Library
  • , Black-Eyed Susan Book Award — Graphic Novels, Grades 6-9
  • , Red Maple Award
  • , Quill & Quire Books of the Year for Kids
  • Commended, Quill & Quire Books of the Year for Kids
  • Short-listed, Cybils Award for Elementary/ Middle Grade Graphic Novels
  • , Cybils Award for Elementary/ Middle Grade Graphic Novels
Editorial Review

Praise for author Kyo Maclear, illustrator Byron Eggenschwiler and Operatic:

“Opera is an unusual but pitch-perfect match for that swell of overwhelming feeling, and Maclear and Eggenschwiler fold it into the story perfectly. A poignant, pithy, and arrestingly illustrated story.” — Booklist, starred review 

“Brimming with raw emotion, music references, and gorgeous art, this memorable and relatable graphic novel will linger with readers.” — School Library Journal, starred review

Operatic offers a deft look at adolescence, rich but subtle, accessible but beautifully complex. 

… Maclear has created a setting and a cast of characters that feel extraordinarily fresh, alive, and, above all, very real… . Eggenschwiler’s visual metaphors create their own network of social, emotional, and sensory connections… . This book will delight not only young people and graphic-novel aficionados but anyone who believes that art — especially opera — is a powerful force in the world. ” — Quill & Quire, starred review 

“Maclear and Eggenschwiler cleverly weave together story, visual art, and music… . Clever and contemplative, with music history readers might find unexpectedly fun.” — Kirkus Reviews

Operatic displays a beautiful, poetic and subtle interplay between text and image. A sensitively written, and knowing portrayal of early teen life, highlighting the formative and identity-forming role that music plays in those years. The illustrations are loose and lovely, pairing quiet, realistic portrayals of the awkwardness of everyday life in high school, with metaphoric, imaginative images of inner worlds.” — Julie Morstad, award-winning illustrator of Bloom; Julia, Child; and This Is Sadie

Operatic reveals an optimism that I find generally missing from comics. I loved Byron Eggenschwiler’s flowing, layered illustrations and I was hit in the gut by Kyo Maclear’s story about the magic and frustration of art and adolescence. Like all of Kyo’s work, this book is not only an invitation to read, but to create.” — Matthew Forsythe, two-time Eisner Award–nominated illustrator and Emmy Award-winning designer of Adventure Time

Operatic is a sweet read. Maclear’s charming, understated writing and Eggenschwiler’s inventive cartooning are a perfect match.” — Hope Larson, Eisner Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling creator of A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel  

Operatic is stunning; reading through it reminded me why I love comics. The atmosphere is tantalizing and rich, and the story is not one I will soon forget.” — Tillie Walden, two-time Eisner Award nominee and Ignatz Award–winning creator of the graphic novels Spinning, On a Sunbeam, and Are You Listening? 

“Kyo Maclear’s debut middle-grade graphic novel is every bit as witty, charming and deliciously subtle as her award-winning picture books. Operatic, illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler, is a riveting story about the power of music, friendship and discovering what makes us all different.” — Globe and Mail

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