*I received this book (in exchange for an honest review) from Gabrielle Gantz who is with Penguin.
If you haven’t yet checked out the manga biographies from Penguin, I would really encourage you to do so, particularly if you teach or have reluctant readers. This book is the first of three I received from Gabrielle, and I have really enjoyed each one.
The 14th Dalai Lama is a biography of, none other than, the 14th Dalai Lama, from his childhood all the way to 2009, demonstrating his loyalty to his people and to non-violence. It also details the strife China has caused Tibet. The only real introduction to Tibetan culture or the Dalai Lama I have had was when Seven Years in Tibet came out, so I was really interested in this bio.
Tetsu Saiwai’s illustrations are really nice, as is the cover, which I think is simply fantastic. I love the colors, the black and white image of the Dalai Lama, and the typeface. Sometimes in comics, I have trouble keeping track of the characters because they look similar. Saiwai does an excellent job of distinguishing each. One funny aside: the characters all seem to sweat a lot. I believe the artist was drawing attention to the stress in the Tibetan’s struggles, but it was kind of humorous. Also, there were some typos, which made me twitch a bit.
However, I really love the idea behind these books and am adding them to my ESL library because I think they will really engage my students, many of whom dislike reading.
Read this: if you’ve been hesitant to pick up a graphic novel but are interested in history. Also, recommended for use in the classroom.