Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth. What follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.

Book Worms Discussion Date: November 15, 2012

Discussion Questions

  1. Smile is a graphic novel, have you read these types of books before? Was reading a graphic novel different than reading a text novel, how so? Would this book have been better or worse without the pictures?
  2. Does this story take place during present day? What are the clues in the story that let the reader know when the book takes place? (For example; no cell phones, older style of clothing, etc.)
  3. Are you afraid of the dentist? Why do you think so many people are? Ask everyone to share their funniest or most unpleasant dentist story.
  4. Have you ever had braces? How long did you have them? What is the worst thing about them?
  5. In Smile, Raina deals with a lot of issues besides her teeth. What are some of the other difficult things that are going on in Raina’s life?
  6. Is Raina’s experience of middle school realistic? Are there things that happen to Raina that have happened to you or someone you know?
  7. Raina has lots of embarrassing moments in middle school, how did she deal with them? What do you do when you are embarrassed at school?
  8. How do feel about Raina’s friends in the book? How do they treat her? What causes Raina to “break up” with her friends? How should good friends treat each other? How do you tell the difference between friends playfully teasing each other and people just being mean?
  9. When Raina finally gets her braces off, she thinks she looks weird. Why?
  10. Why do you think the author named the book Smile? Where does the word smile come up in the book?

Books like Smile

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Gossip from the Girls’ Room by Rose Cooper

How to Survive Middle School by Donna Gephart

Amelia Rules by Jimmy Gownley

Babymouse by Jennifer Holm

The Popularity Papers by Amy Ignatow

Dear Dumb Diary by Jamie Kelly

How I Survived Middle School by Nancy Krulik

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

Middle School, the Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson

Nerd Girls by Alan Lawrence Sitomer

The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter by Kristen Tracy