Groundwood Books


Written by Kyo Maclear • Illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler

For readers 10 - 14 years old | Published April 01, 2019 | ISBN 9781554989720
JUVENILE FICTION / Comics & Graphic Novels / General

Cover of Operatic

Regular price $21.95 CAD

160 pages | 9 in × 6.5 in
Print Format

Also Available as an Ebook

About this book


Kyo Maclear • Byron Eggenschwiler

Somewhere in the universe, there is the perfect tune for you.

It’s almost the end of middle school, and Charlie has to find her perfect song for a music class assignment. The class learns about a different style of music each day, from hip-hop to metal to disco, but it’s hard for Charlie to concentrate when she can’t stop noticing her classmate Emile, or wondering about Luka, who hasn’t been to school in weeks. On top of everything, she has been talked into participating in an end-of-year performance with her best friends.

Then, the class learns about opera, and Charlie discovers the music of Maria Callas. The more she learns about Maria’s life, the more Charlie admires her passion for singing and her ability to express herself fully through her music. Can Charlie follow the example of the ultimate diva, Maria Callas, when it comes to her own life?

This evocatively illustrated graphic novel brilliantly captures the high drama of middle school by focusing on the desire of its finely drawn characters to sing and be heard.

About the Creators

Kyo Maclear

Kyo Maclear is a beloved author of books for children and adults. Her recent children’s books include Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli, illustrated by Julie Morstad, Yak and Dove, illustrated by Esmé Shapiro, and The Liszts, illustrated by Júlia Sardà. She lives in Toronto with her two sons, two cats and a singer.

Byron Eggenschwiler

Byron Eggenschwiler is a graduate of the Alberta College of Art and Design. He is an award-winning illustrator whose many clients include the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, GQ, the National Post, O, The Oprah Magazine, the Walrus and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. He has also illustrated Coyote Tales by Thomas King. He lives in Calgary.

Awards and Praise

Praise for Kyo Maclear, Byron Eggenschwiler and Operatic:

Quill & Quire Books of the Year for Kids, 2019
Finalist, Cybils Award for Elementary/ Middle Grade Graphic Novels, 2019
Nominee, Black-Eyed Susan Book Award — Graphic Novels, Grades 6-9, 2020

"Operatic displays a beautiful, poetic and subtle interplay between text and image. A sensitively written, and knowing portrayal of early teen life, highlighting the formative and identity-forming role that music plays in those years. The illustrations are loose and lovely, pairing quiet, realistic portrayals of the awkwardness of everyday life in high school, with metaphoric, imaginative images of inner worlds.” — Julie Morstad, award-winning illustrator of Bloom; Julia, Child; and This Is Sadie

“Maclear and Eggenschwiler cleverly weave together story, visual art, andmusic. . . . Clever and contemplative, with music history readers might find unexpectedly fun.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Opera is an unusual but pitch-perfect match for that swell of overwhelming feeling, and Maclear and Eggenschwiler fold it into the story perfectly. A poignant, pithy, and arrestingly illustrated story.” — Booklist, starred review

Operatic reveals an optimism that I find generally missing from comics. I loved Byron Eggenschwiler’s flowing, layered illustrations and I was hit in the gut by Kyo Maclear’s story about the magic and frustration of art and adolescence. Like all of Kyo’s work, this book is not only an invitation to read, but to create.” — Matthew Forsythe, two-time Eisner Award–nominated illustrator and Emmy Award-winning designer of Adventure Time

Operatic is a sweet read. Maclear’s charming, understated writing and Eggenschwiler’s inventive cartooning are a perfect match.” — Hope Larson, Eisner Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling creator of A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel

Operatic is stunning; reading through it reminded me why I love comics. The atmosphere is tantalizing and rich, and the story is not one I will soon forget.” — Tillie Walden, two-time Eisner Award nominee and Ignatz Award–winning creator of the graphic novels Spinning, On a Sunbeam, and Are You Listening?

Praise for Bloom by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Julie Morstad:

“An exuberant fictionalized rendering of designer Elsa Schiaparelli’s early life.… Not only a gorgeous portrayal of this 20th-century creative genius, but an empowering tale encouraging readers to ‘dare to be different.’” — Kirkus, starred review

“It’s a dramatic tribute worthy of its audacious subject.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

Praise for Yak and Dove by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Esmé Shapiro

“Odd-couple friendships are nothing new in children’s literature, but seldom is one portrayed with the grace and sly humor Maclear and Shapiro bring to thiosts story.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Author Kyo Maclear and illustrator Esmé Shapiro … make a dynamite, inventive pair and they infuse the tried-and-true odd-couple premise of Yak and Dove with bursts of irresistibly sweet weirdness.” — Quill and Quire, starred review

“A much-needed favor to humanity in reminding us of what it takes to find, keep and take good care of true friends.” — Peter Reynolds, New York Times

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