Mullen, Diane C. Tagged, pgs. 274. Charlesbridge , 2015. $16.95 PG – Language: about 25-30 swears; Mature Content: PG13 (kids selling drugs, gun pointed at main character’s head)
I chose this book to review because I am an artist and art teacher. I wanted to learn more about graffiti art and what drives taggers. This book is about Liam, a 14 year old who lives in the JFK projects in Minneapolis with his mom and younger brothers and sister. He has always liked to draw. He was encouraged in art by his Aunt Kat, an artist, who gave him a “blackbook” which is what he calls his sketchbook. Liam writes his graffiti tag everywhere. He feels that his tag lets people, as well as himself, know he exists. He dreams of becoming a real graffiti writer and creating something beautiful and cool. Liam gets into trouble when his older brother, Kieran, an Irish Mafia gang member, coerces him to tag a shamrock over a rival gang’s symbol. A couple of Los Crooks see Liam as he is spraying the shamrock. They threaten to kill him because of his actions. This is when Liam’s mom sends him to live with his Aunt Kat in Lakeshore, Michigan. He starts learning about Pablo Picasso, Jean-Michel Bassquiat and Claes Oldenburg. His life and work expand but he still has a hard choice to make. Will he make the right decision?
MS / HS – ADVISABLE. Mary Jane Burton