I.D.: Stuff that Happens to Define Us


Some things can change you forever.

This is a book about identity. Everyone remembers the life events that shaped their identity. That first love. The first all-out fight with a parent or sibling. The feeling of being let down by someone you love. Losing something or someone that matters to you. Struggling to fit in. I.D. collects 12 first-person accounts about life's pivotal moments and offers each as an incisive graphic narrative.


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Some things can change you forever.

This is a book about identity. Everyone remembers the life events that shaped their identity. That first love. The first all-out fight with a parent or sibling. The feeling of being let down by someone you love. Losing something or someone that matters to you. Struggling to fit in. I.D. collects 12 first-person accounts about life's pivotal moments and offers each as an incisive graphic narrative.

Illuminated by Peter Mitchell's bold, gritty illustrations, these true stories tackle the universal experiences from childhood and adolescence that stay with us forever. Each anecdote and accompanying reflection reveals how individual identity can be shaped by common themes.

By turns thoughtful, painful, funny and fierce, I.D. powerfully demonstrates that what defines us in youth doesn't have to confine us forever.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Debbie Wenk
How can life's events shape us? Twelve anecdotes about adolescent experiences answer the question. One boy resolves never to hit his children after a dinnertime punch in the nose from his father. Another learns to keep people at a distance as a result of his parents' divorce and their subsequent abandonment of him. One girl gains confidence in her instincts after calmly dealing with her non-custodial father's attempted kidnapping of her and her brother. Another finds refuge from her demanding, disapproving parents in her job as editor-in-chief of the school paper and realizes she can use her writing talents to free herself from her family's expectations and demands. The illustrations and first-person narratives are effective. Each story is followed by a brief Q & A that brings some clarity and closure and offers the reader more insight as to how the event changed the person. The brevity of the stories allows the reader to focus on the event, but the scope of problems addressed is a distraction. The lesson here is that our identity is shaped to a degree by the things that happen to us and how we respond to that event. Resources at the end of the book include books and websites for teens looking for more information and hotlines in the US and Canada for those who need immediate assistance. Reviewer: Debbie Wenk
Kirkus Reviews
A collection of illustrated vignettes about "...the ways we accept and define ourselves throughout our lives, and how, for better or worse, they shape who we become." Scowen, a long-time youth counselor and consultant, solicited and selected 12 true first-person accounts of defining moments from childhood or adolescence. The experiences run the gamut from kidnapping ("Drive") and family violence ("Punch") to body image ("Big Girl") and sexual identity ("Playing House"). Each hand-lettered story is illustrated in spiky pen and broad pastel strokes by Mitchell and accompanied by a Q&A section in which each author further describes the positive or negative effect the event had on their lives. While this is an adequate gateway title for identity-seeking teens in search of comfort or guidance, its broad focus and scant list of additional resources (made up of hotlines, books and websites) mean it will be of limited use for homework or projects. A purely additional purchase for libraries looking to expand their teen self-help section. (Nonfiction. 13 & up)
Canadian Literature - Gisele M. Baxter
i.d. sometimes suggests that the consequences of that defining stuff might linger; this is disturbing, but also true, and food for thought both for teens and the adults they eventually become.
Canadian Materials - Joan Marshall
The 12 short stories included in this book encapsulate some of life's most heart-wrenching moments ---- times that utterly changed people's lives... The stories are short, compelling and thoughtfully told in retrospect,... [The] amazing blend of graphics and text will resonate with all mid-teens and help them to understand that they are not alone in their angst or suffering. Although the actual stories and graphics are moving, it is the question and answer page after each one, revealing the long-term response of the protagonist, that will provoke much discussion [and] offer hope to teens who may feel that life will never bloom again for them. The final pages give detailed phone numbers in Canada and the U.S., and books and websites that teens can access for help. The Afterword encourages teens to think about how they are building their own identity and how important it is to reflect thoughtfully upon one's life. Every school library and...counsellor's office should have this book within easy reach of teens... Highly recommended.
Canadian Teacher
This is a largely serious book wrapped in fanciful illustrations and interesting print. No Times New Roman here! Sombre tales of pivotal life experiences are told from a young person's point of view, as they deal with sexuality, sizism, abuse, suicide, loss and fitting into a larger community. Each story is short, between 10 -- 15 pages, and liberally sprinkled with stylized illustrations. It is written in the first person, as if the situation could apply to you or someone sitting next to you. The stories are related with tact and sensitivity, while not shying away from the awfulness that is the experience itself. After each personal tale, there is a Question and Answer page which gives greater detail about the incident in an effort to have the reader understand and demonstrate empathy, and insight into what the writer was thinking when the act occurred. At the conclusion of the book there is an Afterword about what readers can do when seeking help for their own experiences.
Canadian Children's Book News
Rich in both content and design...should be in every high school library and would provide an excellent springboard for discussion in the classroom.
What If? Canada's Creative Teen Magazine
A very insightful read for teenagers everywhere.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554512256
  • Publisher: Annick Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 1/15/2010
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 1,530,399
  • Age range: 13 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Kate Scowen has worked with teens and families for over 20 years as a youth counselor, the manager of an inner-city youth center and a consultant. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and three daughters.

Peter Mitchell is an award-winning illustrator whose work can be found in the LA Times, the Boston Globe and The Globe and Mail. He lives with his young family in Toronto.

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