Zita the Spacegirl, #1
by Ben Hatke
First Second Books
graphic novel, middle grade science fiction
There are two ways of getting home; and one of them is to stay there. The other is to walk round the whole world till we come back to the same place. ~ G.K. Chesterton
Hatke opens with this appropriate quote from Chesterton. Two friends are ripped out of normal childhood activity after stumbling upon a device that opens a portal to another planet. They lose each other in this raucous new world and Zita spends her time trying to find her friend. She meets many new friends and makes some enemies along the way. Oh, and she and her friends save the planet.
I am actually rereading Zita right now because I recently recommended it to someone seeking out middle-grade science fiction. I read it previously and gave it four stars then. But upon rereading it I bumped it up to five stars.
This is a great read that explores science fiction themes in an nonthreatening way for young readers. There are touching moments between friends, silly sidekick characters, and I am always a sucker for a good female lead. Even better, Zita could have been ambiguously gendered and nothing would have changed. Hatke gives her depth by showing her fear and strength. He shows silence and movement beautifully in his illustrations.
I would purchase this title for a public library collection and definitely recommend it (again) for anyone seeking out middle grade science fiction!