Stepping Stones is a middle-grade graphic novel from national-treasure Lucy Knisley.
Those who have read Knisley’s previous work will recognize that this is semi-autobiographical from the jump. The book follows a girl named Jen as her mother and her mother’s boyfriend move to a farm in the country. Jen is a city girl and the move is a hard adjustment for her. The adjustments get even harder when her kind-of step Dad’s daughters start coming every weekend.
Stepping Stones follows a pretty recognizable arc for stories about children dealing with divorce and grappling with life changes they don’t have any ability to influence. It’s a story about growing up, dealing with change, parents being unintentional meanies, and circumstances helping nurture invaluable companionship. Even having read similar stories, Stepping Stones manages to be sad, funny, and heartwarming.
The book is beautiful illustrated. The mixture of Knisley’s art and her interspersing of Jen’s notebook sketches helps build the vibe that it’s a story being told by a pre-teen.
In the end, Stepping Stones is an “All Ages” book that can be truly enjoyed by kids and adults alike. Lucy Knisley is a gifted storyteller, whether it be her own memoirs or something like this.