by Kyo Maclear
  • courage-self-esteem
  • diversity
  • graphic-novel
  • theatrical

A middle-grade graphic novel that tells the story of “Charlie” Charlotte Noguchi.

Charlie has a music-class assignment to find the one song that perfectly expresses who she is as a person – the problem is, Charlie doesn’t really know who she is yet. She’s also distracted by first crushes and the mysterious disappearance of a boy named Luka, who hasn’t been to school in weeks – not since outing himself at a school concert.

Then, Charlie’s music class learns about opera, and she 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.

Ultimately, Operatic is a poignant coming-of-age story about loneliness, identity, sexuality, and the power of self-expression through music.


Kyo Maclear, author

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.

Byron Eggenschwiler, illustrator

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.


  • “Kyo Maclear’s debut middle-grade graphic novel is every bit as witty, charming and deliciously subtle as her award-winning picture books. [...] A riveting story about the power of music, friendship and discovering what makes us all different. [...] Maclear tackles difficult subjects – peer pressure, bullying, LGBTQ relationships – in this beautifully understated story, made even more powerful by Eggenschwiler’s evocative pencil drawings.” - Globe & Mail Link to review
  • "Spectacular... Combining enchanting art, mellifluous music and just the right words, Maclear and Eggenschwiler provide a marvelous composition guaranteed to resonate.” - Shelf Awareness Link to review
  • “Brimming with raw emotion, music references, and gorgeous art, this memorable and relatable graphic novel will linger with readers.” - School Library Journal, starred review
  • "Operatic offers a deft look at adolescence, rich but subtle, accessible but beautifully complex. […] This book will delight not only young people and graphic-novel aficionados but anyone who believes that art – especially opera – is a powerful force in the world.” - Quill & Quire, starred review Link to review
  • “Swirling, artful visuals and a thoughtful approach to middle-school emotions… 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 Link to review

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: Groundwood Books

email: rights@groundwoodbooks.com

website: https://www.groundwoodbooks.com

rights sold: World French (La Pastèque); Italian (Edizioni BD)

rights available: World excl: North America

Additional Information

age range: 140-14

publication date: 04/01/2019

Original language of pub: english

Materials Available: finished book