Yo, Miss: A Graphic Look At High School
by Kaycee Eckhardt Foreword and Lisa Wilde Author
Yo, Miss: A Graphic Look at High School takes the reader inside Wildcat Academy, a second chance high school in New York City where all the students are considered at-risk. Through strong and revealing black and white images, Wilde tells the story of "eight students who are trying to get that ticket to the middle class—a high school diploma." Whether they succeed or not has as much to do with what happens outside the classroom as in, and the value of perseverance is matched by the power of a second chance. It is a story that shows these teens in all their beauty, intelligence, suffering, humor, and humanity (and also when they are really pains in the behind.) A view from the trenches of public education, Yo, Miss challenges preconceptions about who these kids are, and what is needed to help them graduate.
Read an interview with author Lisa Wilde on our blog.
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Comments & Reviews
"...funny, heartfelt and refreshingly honest."
“Praised by Alison Bechdel, this visually inventive graphic novel follows eight students (composites based on real lives) as they struggle toward graduation. Their journeys—moving, unexpected, and sometimes hilarious—are lovingly drawn by the teacher they've nicknamed "Wild" or "Snowflake," an Ulster County weekender.”
"Wilde skips the "teacher-as-savior" cliches and draws her students with a compassionate and realistic eye."
“I have just read the completed Yo, Miss and I am crying. How beautiful. Everything about it is right... Mostly I feel as if you have totally nailed the lives of these kids and the joy and frustration of dealing with them. I will use this book when teaching teachers.”
“…I would agree completely with Alison FUN HOME Bechdel’s quote on the front cover: ‘It’s riveting’.”
"A spotlight pick."
“Struggling students will recognize the scenarios, burned out teachers will find their passion rekindled for trying just one more time with that difficult student, and both sets of readers will be refreshed by Wilde’s conclusion to the story with a graduation ceremony that is filled with hope that realistically transcends the grim reality her characters must overcome. VERDICT When it comes to portraying life in an alternative high school setting, Yo Miss is a direct hit.”
“It’s breathtaking!...This often-harrowing account is one of the most compelling things I’ve read in quite awhile.”
“The book is a graphic memoir -- in the tradition of Alison Bechdel, who calls the story "riveting" -- but it doesn't tell the stories of specific students, and instead creates composites from the many teens Wilde has instructed in her classroom... Wilde relates the anecdote in just a few, compelling pages -- and does so again and again throughout this frank, gripping story.”
"a staggeringly realistic look at inner-city education in beautiful, comics form."
Benn Ray - Largehearted Boy
" the kids’ personalities and brightness of spirit—not their problems—come to the forefront...exciting for its out-of-the-box perspective. We learn as we read on that Wilde changed careers in mid-life to answer a calling—which gives her something in common with her students, she writes, who all end up at Wildcat for a reason. Her artwork and lettering, which have a sweetly self-taught look, seem to highlight the scrappiness of her story: She doesn’t have a savior complex, and she gets real about the stresses and rewards of the job."
"I like the clarity of the pages I've seen and the ambitious nature of the project as a whole."
"Inspiring and heartbreaking"
"[Wilde] makes the reader root for these kids as desperately as she does, hoping for them to make the right decisions and somehow win."
“Reading your graphic novel was a transformative experience for me…It was at once completely true - a realistic portrayal of the challenges and day-today experiences of teaching, and also a work of art, in that it took the truth and made it universal and beautiful and painful and somehow more true than the day-to-day ever could be…”
“I’ve read and been incredibly moved by your chapters – thank you. The story re. Oedipus is so powerful that I’ve been telling it to others.”
“I just looked at a bunch of Yo, Miss, and it's riveting!...This is such an amazing project—I'm not sure how you have the energy to teach all day and do all this writing and drawing, but keep it up!”
Razorcake Friday, 6/13
"For anyone who has ever had demanding experiences working in education Yo, Miss might trigger violent flashbacks... Ms. Wilde is determined, but the addition of true accounts serve as a reminder of the uphill battles educators confront day in, day out, and the unfathomable obstacles these students encounter on a daily basis. Oh, the humanity. Get it and get educated."
Sean Arenas - Razorcake
"The rough aesthetic also lends a sense of realism too often lacking in Hollywood portraits of inner-city high schools. And while, for obvious reason, each issue opens with a disclaimer proclaiming that the work contain therein is a work of fiction, there's little doubt the majority of what is found inside is steeped in the author's own experience. "Yo, Miss" is far from perfect, but it's a brave and fascinating look at the workplace realities, and it's the sort of thing I'd love to see a lot more of in the mini-comics community, where memoir, more often than not, seems to involve trips to comic conventions and books signings."
"Succeeds at revealing the anxiety and the hope underlying her work at the school without soliciting cheap empathy for her or her students fighting against the odds. Most importantly, the students are characterized respectfully — acknowledging underprivileged circumstances, but also criticizing behaviours that exacerbate those circumstances. While she holds them accountable in the classroom, she is also their advocate in this zine. I’d recommend this zine on its merits as a comic and as a snapshot of inner city American education. "
"Yo, Miss, is a startling graphic novel that rips the steel doors off of the too often hidden world of inner city high school students who have been kicked out of one school after another. Yo, Miss is the insiders’ look at those educators who work against extraordinary odds to help them reach that very ordinary goal—graduating from high school. For these students who are in and out of jail, who are pregnant at 15 or 16, who are homeless, have family members who were murdered or who live otherwise marginalized lives that’s no mean feat.
Lisa Wilde’s black and white drawings explode with complexity, layered metaphors and gorgeous perspective. Every educator in America will gobble this book and I predict it won’t be long before it’s mandatory reading in classrooms and boardrooms."