Stepping Stones
The graphic novels form a middle-grade contemporary trilogy based on Lucy's own life. The first book, Stepping Stones, tackles the experience of new step-siblings.

Stepping Stones Details

TitleStepping Stones
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 1st, 1970
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Sequential Art, Graphic Novels, Comics, Realistic Fiction, Autobiography, Memoir

Stepping Stones Review

  • Julie Ehlers
    January 1, 1970
    Stepping Stones is the completely adorable story of Jen, a girl who, after her parents' divorce, is obliged to move with her mother and her mother's boyfriend from NYC to an upstate farm. Two stepsisters, who come to stay on weekends, are part of this new living arrangement. If you've read Knisley's earlier book Relish, the images of the farm and the farmer's market will feel familiar to you, and the book also contains some really cute pencil artwork ostensibly done by Jen (who is a thinly Stepping Stones is the completely adorable story of Jen, a girl who, after her parents' divorce, is obliged to move with her mother and her mother's boyfriend from NYC to an upstate farm. Two stepsisters, who come to stay on weekends, are part of this new living arrangement. If you've read Knisley's earlier book Relish, the images of the farm and the farmer's market will feel familiar to you, and the book also contains some really cute pencil artwork ostensibly done by Jen (who is a thinly veiled portrayal of Lucy Knisley herself at that age). As a middle-grade read, Stepping Stones effectively and movingly portrays the hardships and rewards of "step" relationships, and I thought the whole thing was delightful. I didn't want to stop reading! I'm looking forward to passing this book along to my 10-year-old niece—I'm sure she's going to love it even more than I did.I won this ARC via a Shelf Awareness giveaway; thank you to the publisher. My opinions, as always, are my own.
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  • Sara Grochowski
    January 1, 1970
    I really, really loved a lot about this book, especially the depiction of life as a farm kid and navigating relationships with (step)siblings. That said, the stepfather character felt really unhealthy to me and, in my opinion, needed to apologize for his behavior towards the main character (and possibly demonstrate more personal growth). I do believe the main character and supporting characters are modeled after the author's own experience, and she does mention her real stepfather favorably in I really, really loved a lot about this book, especially the depiction of life as a farm kid and navigating relationships with (step)siblings. That said, the stepfather character felt really unhealthy to me and, in my opinion, needed to apologize for his behavior towards the main character (and possibly demonstrate more personal growth). I do believe the main character and supporting characters are modeled after the author's own experience, and she does mention her real stepfather favorably in the author's note, but I do find the lack of acknowledgement of his ill-treatment of his step-daughter worrisome. Except for this troubling characterization, this middle grade novels has all the makings of a best-seller, so I'm curious to see how it will be received.
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  • Billie
    January 1, 1970
    This was, at times, incredibly painful to read. Walter was borderline, if not straight out, emotionally abusive toward Jen and everyone made excuses for him. There was a lot of "Oh, that's just how he is. You just need to deal with it." And he never changed, never grew. Everyone just accommodated him and let him go on with his belittling and dismissing of Jen—and everyone else for that matter. In a graphic memoir/novel for adults, this behavior could be offered without anyone changing because This was, at times, incredibly painful to read. Walter was borderline, if not straight out, emotionally abusive toward Jen and everyone made excuses for him. There was a lot of "Oh, that's just how he is. You just need to deal with it." And he never changed, never grew. Everyone just accommodated him and let him go on with his belittling and dismissing of Jen—and everyone else for that matter. In a graphic memoir/novel for adults, this behavior could be offered without anyone changing because most adults have the tools to understand that this is not okay. In a graphic novel for middle schoolers, the normalizing of Walter's behavior and punishment of Jen for speaking up for herself can be harmful. It sends a message that the adult—especially the male adult— is always right and that the women and girls just need to suck it up. I don't think this was the message that Ms. Knisley intended to convey, but it is the one that came through most clearly to me.
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  • Kaylee
    January 1, 1970
    What a gorgeous book! The color and design is beautiful throughout the advanced copy. I can't wait to see the final product! I was so thrilled to see Lucy Knisley breaking into kids graphic novels, and she does not disappoint. Jen, the story's Knisley stand-in, is funny, relatable, and charming. Her annoyances feel real and justified, and it is a joy to see her grow and adapt throughout the course of this book. Where I wanted to see more growth was in Jen's family. While Jen grows and changes, What a gorgeous book! The color and design is beautiful throughout the advanced copy. I can't wait to see the final product! I was so thrilled to see Lucy Knisley breaking into kids graphic novels, and she does not disappoint. Jen, the story's Knisley stand-in, is funny, relatable, and charming. Her annoyances feel real and justified, and it is a joy to see her grow and adapt throughout the course of this book. Where I wanted to see more growth was in Jen's family. While Jen grows and changes, the adults in her life stay the same throughout the book. Adding some more development for the adult characters would have added a fun complexity to this middlegrade novel!Ultimately, a great, beautifully-illustrated read for young people, particularly those whose parents are divorced.
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  • Kayla Miller
    January 1, 1970
    A realistic take on the changes and stress brought about by divorce and a big move. The illustrations are amazing and the characters were engaging. There is one issue I really hope will be handled in the next book in the trilogy-- Jen's Mom's boyfriend, Walter. While I think it is realistic that at that age the girls would just deal with his behavior, I hope it's addressed in more detail.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    I love Lucy Knisley's work and was very excited to hear she was writing a children's graphic novel based on her own childhood experience of moving to a farm after her parents' divorce. In many ways this book was exactly what I hoped for, but I wished that the future stepfather character would have admitted that he was wrong in his treatment of Jen, the main character, by the end of the book, but since this book is the first in a trilogy, perhaps we'll see that conflict resolved in the second or I love Lucy Knisley's work and was very excited to hear she was writing a children's graphic novel based on her own childhood experience of moving to a farm after her parents' divorce. In many ways this book was exactly what I hoped for, but I wished that the future stepfather character would have admitted that he was wrong in his treatment of Jen, the main character, by the end of the book, but since this book is the first in a trilogy, perhaps we'll see that conflict resolved in the second or third book. The book's real success lies in its depiction of a growing friendship between the "part-time sisters." As usual, the artwork is amazing!
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    Reviewed from an ARC at NYCC 2019. Thank you to Random House Graphic.This was a lovely read. I unexpectedly finished it in one sitting. The art is wonderful; loose but detailed. This very much feels like a younger person's journal. And I love stories about intentional families coming together. There's always comfort in those stories.This is also a bit difficult to read. The story does deal with some tougher topics. The way adults gaslight and dismiss our POV character is very real. Very true to Reviewed from an ARC at NYCC 2019. Thank you to Random House Graphic.This was a lovely read. I unexpectedly finished it in one sitting. The art is wonderful; loose but detailed. This very much feels like a younger person's journal. And I love stories about intentional families coming together. There's always comfort in those stories.This is also a bit difficult to read. The story does deal with some tougher topics. The way adults gaslight and dismiss our POV character is very real. Very true to how adults are terrible to kids. How men are terrible to women. The worst (and best) part is how the story structure doesn't make a big deal of those issues. It doesn't highlight them dramatically. They are just part of the fabric of the story. The casual nature of their presentation makes the cuts deeper. But that's what I like about it.By the end, those story points are not resolved at all. This is likely due, in part, to future planned volumes. But it also feels very natural to human nature. People don't change that drastically in a couple months or even years. Characters do grow and develop in this story. But if you're looking for everything wrapped up with a bow on top, for a story where bad actors learn their lessons, this is not the book for you. -S
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  • Cherei
    January 1, 1970
    Tweeners of divorced parents are going to totally identify with Jen and the adventure that awaits her outside of the city. Poor kid is forced to move to the country and watch as her mom becomes a farmer. A FARMER. In this day and age. UGH. A living nightmare for any city slicker.Top it off with her Mom making a "friend" who just happens to also have two daughters of his own. Life just cannot get any worse. WAIT. Jen also has to adapt to living with critters. A mean goose that is intent on making Tweeners of divorced parents are going to totally identify with Jen and the adventure that awaits her outside of the city. Poor kid is forced to move to the country and watch as her mom becomes a farmer. A FARMER. In this day and age. UGH. A living nightmare for any city slicker.Top it off with her Mom making a "friend" who just happens to also have two daughters of his own. Life just cannot get any worse. WAIT. Jen also has to adapt to living with critters. A mean goose that is intent on making Jen's forays outdoors a living H-E-double hockey sticks. The entire story is done in cartoon format! It doesn't get any cooler than that! I do believe that kids of all ages are going to totally enjoy reading, STEPPING STONES by Lucy Knisley! It will make a fun Christmas stocking stuffer!
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  • Cat
    January 1, 1970
    Oh, do I know kiddos who will adore this book! Loosely based on author, Lucy Kisley's youth, it's the trials and tribulations of being a city kid, uprooted by divorce, moved to the country, and THEN, to add insult to injury, her mom gets her boyfriend to move in, and along with him, his 2 daughters from a previous marriage. Adjustments all around! His his daughters aren't any happier. I think, sadly, too many children will be able to relate to step-families; life is so complicated...Still, it's Oh, do I know kiddos who will adore this book! Loosely based on author, Lucy Kisley's youth, it's the trials and tribulations of being a city kid, uprooted by divorce, moved to the country, and THEN, to add insult to injury, her mom gets her boyfriend to move in, and along with him, his 2 daughters from a previous marriage. Adjustments all around! His his daughters aren't any happier. I think, sadly, too many children will be able to relate to step-families; life is so complicated...Still, it's a good story and everything works out at the end (I think that is a good thing, as too many step families disintegrate). I did enjoy the format of the story- graphic novel. Illustrations were very good! It's not sugar coated tale, just a nice tale for kids 4th grade up. I received an arc from the publisher in exchange for a fair review.
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  • Shannon Fuad Deane
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. I read this graphic novel in order to see if it was age-appropriate for my grandson who loves graphic novels. It deals with blended families and the adjustments that can bring. The story follows Jen and her mom after they move to the country to start a hobby farm with her mom's boyfriend, Walter. Walter has two daughters. The girls adjust to being sisters and Jen has to adjust to Walter as she misses her dad and the city. I felt Walter was harsh and disrespectful which had me shaking 3.5 stars. I read this graphic novel in order to see if it was age-appropriate for my grandson who loves graphic novels. It deals with blended families and the adjustments that can bring. The story follows Jen and her mom after they move to the country to start a hobby farm with her mom's boyfriend, Walter. Walter has two daughters. The girls adjust to being sisters and Jen has to adjust to Walter as she misses her dad and the city. I felt Walter was harsh and disrespectful which had me shaking my head quite a bit but overall, there was a good story here. The graphics were very well done and helped the story to flow. I really liked how the author drew upon her own life experience for this story and it was nice to have her personal story to fill in the gaps and understand the relationships further.
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  • Kristie Miller
    January 1, 1970
    Knisley does not disappoint in her first middle grade graphic novel. Fans of Telgemeier and Hale will discover what Knisley's adult fans already know, she can deliver a relatable story about the joys and tribulations of everyday life.Jen's parents are recently divorced. Jen and her mother have relocated to a farm in the country along with a new significant other. There are a lot of adjustments that need to be made- cleaning out chicken coops, step-siblings, the farmer's market and a know-it-all Knisley does not disappoint in her first middle grade graphic novel. Fans of Telgemeier and Hale will discover what Knisley's adult fans already know, she can deliver a relatable story about the joys and tribulations of everyday life.Jen's parents are recently divorced. Jen and her mother have relocated to a farm in the country along with a new significant other. There are a lot of adjustments that need to be made- cleaning out chicken coops, step-siblings, the farmer's market and a know-it-all stepfather. Common ground can be found despite differences and individual strengths are eventually recognized and celebrated.
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  • Kazia
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not sure how I feel about this because a lot of it was quiet and lovely and relatable but also the protagonist's stepdad seems pretty emotionally insensitive at best and emotionally abusive at worst. All the women in his family sort of sit around and commiserate that that's "just how he is," but it's not really addressed beyond that? And, like, that's a realistic thing, but it's painful to watch her mom do nothing to support her daughter(s) in this situation and nothing to really shift in I'm not sure how I feel about this because a lot of it was quiet and lovely and relatable but also the protagonist's stepdad seems pretty emotionally insensitive at best and emotionally abusive at worst. All the women in his family sort of sit around and commiserate that that's "just how he is," but it's not really addressed beyond that? And, like, that's a realistic thing, but it's painful to watch her mom do nothing to support her daughter(s) in this situation and nothing to really shift in the stepdad's relationship with anyone. This is still absolutely one to add to any middle grade graphic novel collection, but I wish I could more euphorically shout about it from rooftops.
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  • Jamila
    January 1, 1970
    This is a sad, yet charming graphic memoir. Readers will get excited by the barn attic for reading and drawing, fresh butter and eggs, farmers’ market fun, and pond swimming!The boyfriend/stepfather, however, is cruel and hideous. I kept waiting for the mother to strongly stand up for her daughter, the protagonist. Similar to some of the other reviewers, his unchecked abusive power creates a negative shadow over this beautiful story.
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    I am a huge fan of Lucy Knisley's graphic memoirs so I was elated to discover that she has a new middle grade fiction graphic novel. This book does not disappoint. It is a fictionalized version of her own childhood experience of moving from the city to a farm and learning how to deal with not only the culture shock of going from an urban to rural environment, but also the drama of a new blended family, gaining a step-father and step-sisters.
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  • Leann Mary
    January 1, 1970
    This one was great for young adult readers. Jens parents split and now she has to navigate moving out to the country with her Mom, tending to the chickens, working at the farmers market and worst of all a whole new family dynamic complete with new step sisters. I thought this did a great job of reminding you of the time in your life where your choices weren’t your own (or acknowledging that fact if you’re a kid) and showing how to navigate through a new reality.
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  • Debbie
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this graphic memoir for tweens! Jen and her two new “sisters” navigate changes in their family lives as the two parents begin their education in farming. It brought me back to my days working my grandmother’s farm stand with my sister. Hand this to readers who have read all the Telgemeiers and Holm titles. I found the mood and coloring reminiscent of both those series. I hope we see more chicken antics in the next title.Thanks to RH Graphic for the ARC.
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  • Brianna
    January 1, 1970
    This was so cute! Such a summery vibe, made me nostalgic for going to the farmer's market in my town as a kid. The illustrations were gorgeous too! I got this as an ARC from New York Comic Con this year, and I was so happy to get it!
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    About on par with French Milk - not my favorite, and definitely something new for Lucy, but still has her wit and charm
  • Holly (Texan Girl Reviews)
    January 1, 1970
    I don't read graphic books often for the content they provide but this book is something that I totally adored for the story that is told within the pages!Jen didn't want to leave the big city life to move to the country with her mother and new boyfriend, Walter that also involved two new step-sisters (Andy and Reese) as well. With Jen having to take care of baby chicks and discovering kittens in the barn, it's when Walter's daughters show up when everything takes a turn for the worse or so it I don't read graphic books often for the content they provide but this book is something that I totally adored for the story that is told within the pages!Jen didn't want to leave the big city life to move to the country with her mother and new boyfriend, Walter that also involved two new step-sisters (Andy and Reese) as well. With Jen having to take care of baby chicks and discovering kittens in the barn, it's when Walter's daughters show up when everything takes a turn for the worse or so it seems. Only when Reese has a meltdown on not wanting to be at the farm is the moment when all three girls come together to find their place on the farm that will leave you with a huge smile on your face!I loved this book and I have to say that it was read rather quickly after getting into it and it was almost a sad moment for myself when it ended. The way the whole story was set up in a way that all ages can find a little piece of themselves in it if you ever were in a situation that you were in Jen's shoes. I can relate to Jen and I think that it will relate in certain kids as well. If anything, this is a good book to read that has a story line of a young girl just trying to find herself in a new family and setting that will have you rooting for this makeshift family to make it!Thank You to Lucy Knisley for this awesome book that turned me into a fan from now on!!I voluntarily reviewed this book from the Publisher!
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  • Haley Hollins
    January 1, 1970
    First off, the art is really nice and I enjoy her style, it definitely ties in perfectly with the theme and tone of the novel. This graphic novel is very endearing and has great familial development that is inspired by the author's childhood. Jen is a city girl that doesn't want to move on a farm with her mom's boyfriend, and better yet he has two daughters, Andy and Reese, that Jen is going to have to get along with. When the older daughter Andy is around, Jen never seems to get acknowledged or First off, the art is really nice and I enjoy her style, it definitely ties in perfectly with the theme and tone of the novel. This graphic novel is very endearing and has great familial development that is inspired by the author's childhood. Jen is a city girl that doesn't want to move on a farm with her mom's boyfriend, and better yet he has two daughters, Andy and Reese, that Jen is going to have to get along with. When the older daughter Andy is around, Jen never seems to get acknowledged or appreciated for the things she is good at because she is bad at things Andy is good at. So they work the farmers' market together and Andy learns to appreciate Jen's skills for art but Walter (the mom's boyfriend) still doesn't appreciate Jen. So as the sisters become closer and more like real sisters, they become a real family. This is a really nice story that would probably be relatable for a lot of children and I think it has some good lessons in it.
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  • Alissa
    January 1, 1970
    Oooooh! I can't wait for this one!!
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