The Spy Kid franchise (2001) -or- Little Nikita (1988)
Note/Summary: I wanted to review Little Nikita, the story of an unwitting dependent child of parents who happen to be Russian moles in 1980’s USA. However, the IHLS does not appear to have a copy available for viewing at this time. As the character played by River Phoenix looks to his future and considers the military after high school, a red flag alerts the spy-hunter played by Sidney Poitier to the family’s proximity. An intricate back and forth between cat and mouse ensues before the truth is revealed and accepted. This may not place the parents in their best light, but as a family, they care very much for each other and want to be supportive. If you prefer Bond-like spies from the 2000s to Iron Curtain sleeper moles, try the Spy Kids franchise starting in 2001.
Recommendation: The adults keep secrets, but not because they mean to deceive their children – it’s to protect them. The love and respect between the generations is palpable (heh heh, particularly in #2 -my favorite movie). Great kid-level entertainment.
Inside Out (2015)
Summary: Inside Out introduces Riley and her parents as they move out of state for dad’s new job. The changes bewilder Riley and the insecurity she encounters is personified by the emotional states within her brain, five colorful extremes of her personality which help form and direct her reactions to life. Mom and Dad have just as much anxiety piling up, but they deal with it more effectively because of their life experiences and practice. Poor Riley is beset by sadness, anger, fear, and disgust while her normally joyful self is overwhelmed with the adjustments of the move. A new state, a new home, a new schedule, a new school, trying to make new friends, not having the usual comforting diversions available she might rely upon… it’s tough being a kid.
Gush Sesh: The soundtrack is spectacular as well.
Guts | Raina Telgemeier
Summary: Telgemeier’s graphic novels are always relatable. This one can be harrowing, especially if the reader doesn’t identify with the main character’s issues. It may seem confusing, but hold out for the complete story – it’s worth the read. Is something seriously wrong with Raina’s stomach or is it ‘all in her head’? Stress and fear, anxiety and depression; Raina and her family and classmates learn a lot about the stages of nearing and entering puberty. What can she do to calm her body and mind when both are out of control? What’s a ‘trigger’ anyway? How can identifying a trigger help her deal with the pain, worry, and symptoms? Introduced to cognitive behavioral therapy, Raina finally gets some aid that actually helps and she’s still the person in charge of her thoughts and body.
Recommendation: Not everyone will need mental health treatment along their lives, but knowing what it is and how it helps others can be important – especially in understanding each other.
Jenna’s Note on Guts’ author, Raina Telgemeier: The Longest Shortest Time Podcast has an episode titled “How Raina Telgemeier Got Guts” Check out the podcast episode here.