Review: Sylvie

Title: Sylvie
Author: Sylvie Kantorovitz
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel, Memoir
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 9, 2021
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

In a wise and witty graphic memoir, a young artist finds her path apart from the expectations of those around her.

Sylvie lives in a school in France. Her father is the principal, and her home is an apartment at the end of a hallway of classrooms. As a young child, Sylvie and her brother explore this most unusual kingdom, full of small mysteries and quirky surprises. But in middle and high school, life grows more complicated. Sylvie becomes aware of her parents’ conflicts, the complexities of shifting friendships, and what it means to be the only Jewish family in town. She also begins to sense that her perceived “success” relies on the pursuit of math and science—even though she loves art. In a funny and perceptive graphic memoir, author-illustrator Sylvie Kantorovitz traces her first steps as an artist and teacher. The text captures her poignant questioning and her blossoming confidence, while the droll illustrations depict her making art as both a means of solace and self-expression. An affecting portrait of a unique childhood, Sylvie connects the ordinary moments of growing up to a life rich in hope and purpose.


Sylvie was born in Morocco and moved to France as a child when her dad got a job as a principal. They lived in the teacher’s school where he worked. Sylvie and her younger brother loved to explore the school. As she got older, Sylvie started to notice her parents arguing and became aware of being different, since they were the only Jewish family in the town. Sylvie was passionate about drawing, but her mom wanted her to have a more secure job, which forced her to study math and science even though she didn’t want to. This was a great coming of age memoir.

This graphic novel consisted of a variety of anecdotes from Sylvie’s life. There were moments with her friends and her siblings. Each chapter was like a snapshot of a moment in her life, which all added up to her childhood.

I loved the illustrations in this graphic novel. They looked like innocent drawings by a child, though they were more detailed than a child’s art. Since they had a childlike simplicity, it reinforced the theme of Sylvie’s childhood.

This is a beautiful graphic memoir!

Thank you Candlewick Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

Have you read Sylvie? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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