Category Archives: European

Coyote Run by Gaëtan Dorémus

Coyote RunHere’s your oxymoron for the day: wordless books that convey so much.

French illustrator/author Gaëtan Dorémus pays a kid-friendly homage to the American western … with whimsy, ingenuity, and (of course!) chocolate chip cookies. Somewhere in the wild surrounded by red rocks and jaunty saguaros, Coyote watches a tiny friend flying free while he remains behind bars. The sheriff and his somnolent deputies are otherwise distracted, so Coyote grabs the keys and makes for the hills.

The sheriff gives chase, and a mesa-top face-off ensues with the hunter and huntee angrily pointing guns. But Coyote’s tiny ladybug friend appears to distract the enemies, its tiny flights of fancy inspiring foes to become friends. [Yes, getting along can be that simple: just put down the weapons, raise a toast, and roast a meal together!] Alas, peace proves short-lived … until once again, the ladybug rallies to provide quite the Coccinella septempunctata ex machina rescue.

Dorémus’ latest import, which arrives Stateside thanks to delightfully innovative indie press Enchanted Lion Books, is proof-positive that his pictures are worth thousands of words, especially when his artistry is so full of action, humor, and just plain fun (you wouldn’t expect less from someone who, according to his back flap bio, enjoys eating his green tomatoes with cinnamon, right?). Rest assured, nothing gets lost in translation here!

Readers: Children

Published: 2014 (United States)

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Fagin the Jew by Will Eisner, foreword by Brian Michael Bendis, afterword by Jeet Heer

Fagin the Jew“I am Fagin the Jew of Oliver Twist,” begins the ‘father of the graphic novel’-Will Eisner‘s 21st-century literary reclamation of the 19th-century classic. “This is my story, one that has remained untold and overlooked in the book by Charles Dickens,” a tattered old man insists. “Tarry a bit, Mister Dickens,” he speaks directly to his maker, “while ol’ Fagin here tells you, Sir, what I really was and how it all came to be!!”

The infant Moses Fagin arrived in London with his parents after surviving the pograms of Eastern Europe. While England was kinder to immigrant Jews, the more recent arrivals from Middle and Eastern Europe “were regarded as lower class.” Fagin paraphrases Dickens’ own A Tale of Two Cities-opening as he remembers his upbringing: “These were grim times, and yet the best of times for us newcomers.”

Moses learned early of life on the rough streets, but was given the chance of a promising future when he was hired as a houseboy to a wealthy Jewish merchant who soon enough came to treat him more like his own son. A single unthinking action sends Moses back to the streets, where he must use every means to survive. Again and again he’s mistreated and betrayed, unjustly accused and imprisoned. Somehow, he manages to keep some semblance of humanity and, in his later years, provides a haven-of-sorts for homeless boys, including the young Oliver Twist. The “Epilogue,” narrated by an adult Oliver – now a happily-married, well-established barrister – offers an apocryphal “turning point in Fagin’s life and his legacy” that is especially,  sigh inducing. Oh, if only!

As memorable as Fagin’s narrative is, the context in which it was written is perhaps the more enlightening story, especially as revealed in Eisner’s 2003 “Introduction to the First Edition.” In reimagining Fagin, the legendary Eisner – whose name is on the U.S. graphic industry’s highest awards – was, in essence, responding to his own stereotypical creations more than a half-century earlier. In 1940, Eisner introduced The Spirit, which featured an African American character named Ebony. By 1945, after surviving military service, Eisner became “more aware of the social implications of racial stereotypes, and [he] began to treat Ebony with greater insight.” More years passed until Eisner realized how Ebony was “feeding a racial prejudice with this stereotype image.” Eisner transferred that new awareness toward “produc[ing] graphic novels with themes of Jewish ethnicity and the prejudice Jews still face.” In the original editions of Oliver Twist, he “found unquestionable examples of visual defamation in classic literature … Combatting that became an obsessive pursuit …”

For this 10th anniversary issue, Fagin is bookended by an illuminating foreword and afterword that provides further insight in the story’s creation and aftermath. The levels of reclamation are especially intriguing – from Eisner’s distancing of his own stereotypical creations, to his rescue of Fagin from ignominy, to many-Eisner (of course!)-winning comics maker Brian Michael Bendis and culture journalist Jeet Heer‘s involvement in getting one of Eisner’s ‘minor’ titles to more and more readers.

Much like Jean Rhys gave Jane Eyre‘s ‘madwoman in the attic’ a voice in Wide Sargasso Sea, and Tom Stoppard offered Hamlet‘s schoolfriends a play of their own in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Eisner literally gives life to Fagin: “This book,” he rightfully insists, “… is not an adaptation of Oliver Twist! It is the story of Fagin the Jew.”

Readers: Young Adult, Adult

Published: 2003, 2013 (10th anniversary edition)

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Filed under ..Adult Readers, ..Young Adult Readers, .Fiction, .Graphic Novel/Manga/Manwha, British, European, Jewish

The Incredible Adventures of Dog Mendonça and PizzaBoy (I and II: Apocalypse) by Filipe Melo, art by Juan Cava, colors by Santiago Villa, translated by Raylene Lowe (I) and Philip R. Simon (II)

Incredible Adventures of Dog Mendonca and Pizzaboy 1.2

While watching evening TV that’s been interrupted by a special bulletin about the unending “wave of child abductions in Lisbon,” Eurico nods off, only to be jarred awake by the ringing telephone. He’s late again to his pizza delivery job, where his boss thinks he’s “a half-wit,” his best (only?) friend Vasco mops floors, and he dreams about asking out the love of his life Ana.

Finally out on delivery, Eurico gets his scooter stolen. When the police laugh off his sketch of the hooded culprit, Eurico seeks the help of “occult detective” Dog Mendonça who works with a chain-smoking little girl named Pazuul (who’s really a 6,000 year demon kicked out hell for not being “bad enough”). Eurico doesn’t exactly get his scooter back, but he does get the thief – at least the guilty gargoyle’s head whose missing body doesn’t deter his chatterbox tendencies.

Then child-like Pazuul – remember those kiddie kidnappings? – disappears and Dog, Eurico, and Gargoyle head for the sewers, where they end up having to save the rest of the city while they’re looking for their girlish demon buddy. Who needs a night job when you’re suddenly a superhero?

Alas, hero-ing apparently doesn’t pay the bills because five years later in Volume II, Eurico is stuck at a desk providing technical support. Dog and Pazuul reappear to rescue him from boredom, collect Gargoyle after severing his loquacious head yet again from the rest of his regrown body, and visit a bookstore (they’ll be needing a certain holy book). Thus begins their battle to save the world, this time taking on the Apocalypse (you did notice the subtitle, right?) in an epic battle of biblical proportions (couldn’t resist!). The volume ends with a bonus prequel, The Untold Tales of Dog Mendonça and PizzaBoy, which reveals how the original gruesome twosome (Dog and Demon) came to be – via family circus, immigration, ‘the code,’ and even the Loch Ness Monster.

So you could read these ‘incredible adventures’ – the two volumes are 2/3 of a trilogy – for the sheer guffaw-inducing, over-the-top entertaining stories that they are, splendiferously enhanced with eye-popping, jaw-dropping art … and be utterly satisfied. But, of course, these saturated pages hold so much more. Take, for example, who wrote the forewords: Volume I by John Landis (think Animal House, Thriller, An American Werewolf in Paris) and Volume II by George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead and the zombie genre that never died). Those are major hints to some deeper references and meanings.

Then you have multi-levels of sly humor: that first German scream on p. 67 in Volume I roughly translates to “If you read this, then you understand German!” which actually has nothing to do with the action on the page; the type in the dialogue bubbles is printed upside down when the speakers are thusly hanging; in Volume II the would-be saviors choose a cuddly cutesie kiddie Bible because it’s not $30 and it “looks much better”; and I can only barely mention the whole religious (or not) meta-narrative going on. Oh, be still my ongoing giggles!

“[H]ow long do we have to wait for the next one?” Landis asks in Volume I; with II+just out, the question begs asking again. Our answer: Volume III: Requiem hits shelves November 10, 2014. Click here for the sneak-peek trailer, but before you hit play, be warned – you’ll be wanting more, more, more. Patience certainly isn’t my virtue!

Readers: Young Adult, Adult

Published: 2012 and 2013 (United States)

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Filed under ..Adult Readers, ..Young Adult Readers, .Fiction, .Graphic Novel/Manga/Manwha, .Translation, European

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar ChildrenWhenever I hear that a book is about to be transformed into celluloid, I get into a little panic to read the original, oftentimes titles I ironically wouldn’t have opened otherwise. Occasionally, I’m pleasantly rewarded, Miss Peregrine among those few that fill me with literary gratitude. And truth be told, I might actually go see the film as the surreal Tim Burton is set to direct; IMDB lists a July 31, 2015 release date.

As faultless as narrator Jesse Bernstein is in creating the memorable aural incarnation, you’ll need to keep the printed book nearby (libraries rule!): if a picture is worth a thousand words, then the full splendor of this debut novel by writer/filmmaker Ransom Riggs is only possible in conjunction with the ‘peculiar’ photographs interwoven throughout the text.

Take, for instance, this cover … look closely – no ordinary little girl, she! So young Jacob Portman, too, learns when his beloved grandfather dies in his arms, his final words a mystery for the 16-year-old to solve: “‘Find the bird. In the loop. On the other side of the old man’s grave. September third, 1940.’”

As Jacob slowly emerges from the shock Grandpa Portman’s murder, he finally becomes aware that not all of Grandpa’s “unfathomably exotic” life adventures he told Jacob growing up were figments of the old man’s imagination. In search of truth, Jacob manages to convince his parents to allow him to spend the summer on a small island off Wales where Grandpa once lived many decades ago.

A Holocaust survivor, Grandpa grew up in the titular Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, from whence many of his fantastical stories originated. When Jacob arrives on the remote island, and begins to explore, he discovers the orphanage is mostly in ruins. Until, one day, it isn’t and Jacob finds himself facing the impossible.

In a feat of whimsical collage, Riggs essentially combined “authentic, vintage found photographs” with his own speculations about their subjects. Riggs explains in an interview at book’s end, “… among the photos I found, the strangest and most intriguing ones were always of children. I began to wonder who some of these strange-looking children had been – what their stories were – but the photos were old and anonymous and there was no way to know. So I thought: If I can’t know their real stories, I’ll make them up.” Working his own brand of ‘peculiar’ magic, Riggs’ visionary endeavor proves ingenious and extraordinary; so inspiring and plentiful are his found photos, that the peculiar adventures continue in just-released sequel, Hollow City. Riggs admits he has “tons” more great photographs, as yet unused … which begs the question, of course, how many peculiar books might we dare hope for?

Readers: Young Adult, Adult

Published: 2011

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Filed under ..Adult Readers, ..Young Adult Readers, .Audio, .Fiction, European, Nonethnic-specific

Schroder by Amity Gaige

SchroederThis is an immigration story. But not the sort of immigration I’ve become accustomed to … only a select few could make the sort of metamorphosis that being white and male affords Erik Schroder who, at 14, reinvents himself at a summer camp as Eric Kennedy. While an immigrant from, say, Asia or Africa, could make a similar change in nomenclature, he would be hard-pressed to carry off the new identity without at least a raised eyebrow. When Erik dons his storied moniker, just by virtue of his being an attractive white male, assumptions are made and eagerly accepted; he never denies those too ready to imbue him with Kennedy connections.

And yet Erik Schröder was born in East Germany. He lost his mother during his flight with his father across their divided homeland from East to West, then both father and son misplaced the umlauted-ö upon arrival in the new country. The pair eventually settled not too far from Boston, and given his youth, Erik was willfully able to shed his foreign accent. His carefully chosen moniker was inspired by that mythic American Berliner himself, a reference to JFK’s famed 1963 “Ich bin ein Berliner”-speech (while grammatically accurate, the “I’m a jelly donut”-translation in this context is urban legend).

[Allow me a momentary logistical rant: if you're casting for a reader for a book about a German immigrant, wouldn't you find a narrator who might speak a little German?! Although Will Collyer is more than adequate as long as he reads in English, his German, alas, barely improves over the seven hours stuck in the ears.]

By the time Eric Kennedy has graduated high school, then college, married, and become a father to his own child, he’s grown accustomed to his self-annointed American identity. But a life built on lies is fragile at best: what was once a happy, nuclear family begins to implode. Suddenly, Eric is living alone, and relying on lawyers to get him access to his beloved 6-year-old daughter Meadow. In a fit of frustrated desperation, Eric takes Meadow too far – literally.

And so Amity Gaige‘s latest novel begins. Held in custody, Eric refuses to speak; instead he writes page after page, explaining how he ended up a wanted felon. It’s a love letter to his estranged wife, a tome of devotion to their daughter, a plea for sympathy of his jailers, and a desperate treatise attempting to confirm his own sanity. As readers, we get to play judge: to believe or not believe … that will be the ultimate question.

Readers: Adult

Published: 2013

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Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loïc Dauvillier, illustrated by Marc Lizano, color by Greg Salsedo, translated by Alexis Siegel

HiddenPreorder this title now and you can stop reading here … you won’t, you can’t, you will not be disappointed.

Oh, fine. If you’re still with me, let me tell you about Elsa, a little girl who just can’t seem to fall asleep. She tiptoes out of her room and finds her grandmother wide awake. Noticing her sadness, Elsa reassures her grandmother, “You know, when I have a nightmare, I tell Mommy about it and that makes me feel better. You want to tell me?” Hesitant at first, her grandmother begins, “It was a long time ago. Grandma was still a little girl …”

Dounia Cohen, long before she was Elsa’s grandmother, “didn’t care who had won or lost” the war: In spite of France’s defeat by Germany in 1940, “My daddy had come home alive, and that was all the victory I needed.” Returning home unusually early one day, he suggests,”Some people suggested that we become a family of sheriffs.” Her mother sews the required yellow star onto Dounia’s coat: “Being a sheriff … is more of a boy’s job,” Dounia thinks. “But I don’t mind,” as she looks at her proud reflection in the mirror.

By the next morning, that Star of David has marked young Dounia not with privilege, but made her a target of abuse. “What had I done,” she asks in bewilderment. As a young Jewish child in occupied Paris, Dounia is shunned, isolated, hated without reason. When her parents are violently taken away from their own home, she is sheltered by Mrs. Péricard, the downstairs neighbor. Fearful of the returning police, Mr. Péricard devises a plan to help Dounia escape to safety; in the process, he gravely risks his own safety.

Dounia becomes Simone Pierret, a Catholic child who arrives on Germain’s farm with her “Mama” – Mrs. Péricard who has also given up her Paris life to care for the young girl. The war continues, but Dounia’s new identity – and the unlimited kindness of strangers – keeps her safe until reunion, at least in part, becomes possible …

Like Lola Rein‘s The Hidden Girl and Maryann Macdonald‘s more recent Odette’s SecretsHidden represents not only the 84% of Jewish children in France who escaped the Holocaust – the highest rate of survival for children in Europe – but also the 11,400 French children who were murdered during WWII. While Hidden bears witness to tragic history, the ultimate message is one of hope and redemption, that humanity can and will be effectively used against racism and hatred. Narratively and graphically, the French creative team proves spectacularly adept in balancing the nightmare with moments of innocent humor (“pink shoes”), unexpected laughter (“‘Does Grandpa know you were in love with another boy?’”), and joyful discovery (“‘I did it! I did it!’”). While some nightmares never quite fade, here’s hope that triumphant resolve will have longer staying power.

Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult

Published: 2012, 2014 (United States)

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Filed under ...Absolute Favorites, ..Middle Grade Readers, ..Young Adult Readers, .Fiction, .Graphic Novel/Manga/Manwha, .Translation, European, Jewish

A Well-Tempered Heart by Jan-Philipp Sendker, translated by Kevin Wiliarty

Well-Tempered HeartEvery once in a while, only the very best schmaltz will do. Earnest and endearing, this just-arriving-in-translation sequel to the international mega-bestseller, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, is a through-the-night read that will leave you sighing and swooning.

Okay, so we’re not talking Nobel-quality: “‘I speak of a love that brings sight to the blind.’” We’re not particularly surprised by the cold shrink who thinks mind-altering drugs are the only cure, or the wise sage that has no use for colorful pills. We’re so sure that true love is going to happen that we’ll guess the ending long before the final page. But that’s all okay, because whatever their not-quite flaws, German journalist Jan-Philipp Sendker‘s novels somehow manage to provide a rare, cleansing catharsis. Besides, what’s a little loss of sleep when you can float through the rest of the day?

When Julia left her older brother U Ba in their father’s small village in Burma, she promised she would see him again “within a few months.” But almost a decades passes, and suddenly Julia finds herself unable to give an important presentation at her law office: an insistent voice in her head sends her running out of the meeting, the building, and soon enough, her high-powered city life. Her ties to Manhattan are virtually none: her engagement is broken, she’s estranged from her mother and brother, and her single best friend is not enough to tether her.

She arrives unannounced in Kalaw, where U Ba is ready with open arms. Only he fully understands about the voice, the black boots, the terror, the warnings. And together they begin a journey of discovery that will lead them to a woman and her two sons, and eventually towards forgiveness and redemption.

Julia’s first journey to Burma revealed her father’s left-behind past and bonded her to a half-brother she never knew she had. Just as her father followed his heart home, Julia is called back by a desperate stranger with impossible questions from the other side of the world. “Who are you? … Why do you live alone?  … What are you afraid of?” the disconnected voice relentlessly probes. But before Julia can answer, she must learn in her own heart “what is important” … might I add, surely a life lesson for us all.

Readers: Adult

Published: 2012, 2014 (United States)

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Filed under ..Adult Readers, .Fiction, .Translation, Burmese, Burmese American, European, Hapa, Southeast Asian

Yokohama Yankee: My Family’s Five Generations as Outsiders in Japan by Leslie Helm

Yokohama Yankee‘Sprawling’ barely begins to describe journalist/editor Leslie Helm‘s ambitious family history that spans nearly a century-and-a-half, three continents, and the titular five generations of a German Japanese American family with current branches spread throughout the rest of the world. Prompted by the death of his difficult father in 1991, and further spurred by the imminent adoption of two children soon thereafter, Leslie embarks on a personal quest to discover the complicated layers of his mixed-race heritage.

In 1868, Julius Helm, then 28, left his father’s 400-acre farm in Rosow, Germany, for a new American life only to find his options were limited to being a common laborer in Minnesota. One year later, the transcontinental railroad took him to San Francisco, where he narrowly missed his intended ship to China and landed instead in Yokohama in 1869.

Barely a decade earlier, Japan had been opened to foreign trade, and Yokohama was a primary entry point into the still-insular country. Julius’ arrival was fortuitously-timed: after moving from various minor jobs and apprenticeships, working for the German consul, and training Japanese soldiers, Julius eventually established himself – and his future generations – as an important merchant presence in Yokohama. Five of his nine siblings followed him to Japan. And his Japanese wife and their four hapa children insured the Helm family’s lasting Japanese ties.

Japanese ancestors, Japanese spouses, Japanese births left most of the Helm generations conflicted over the next 140 years: ‘The Helm relatives I knew were people caught between cultures,” Leslie observes. “… Most had lived on three continents and spoke four languages, yet they never felt at home in any one country.” Caught between a belief of superiority over the Japanese and too often a shameful insecurity over mixed blood, each generation of Helms battled doubts about their identity. Four generations removed from Julius, Leslie is the first to explore, explicate, and accept his challenging relationship with the country of his birth. Ironically, the fifth and latest Helm generation returns the family (at least Leslie’s branch) to Japanese ethnic ‘purity’ as both Leslie and his older brother adopted Japanese children; the children’s American upbringing, however, guarantees the Helms’ cultural hybridity.

Working with unpublished memoirs and diaries (including Julius’ biography “[r]e-written from his personal notes, by his brother Karl”), aging photographs, letters, articles, public records and registries, interviews, and memories, Leslie admirably attempts to corral an unwieldy cast of characters into a single historical narrative. His presentation is not always smooth: sections lag, skip, overlap (Leslie’s father Don’s life story, interwoven throughout, is often jarring to the story’s flow), while certain repetitions are unrelenting (too many of the Helms’ self-loathing doubts and denials). That said, the pages continue turning and fascinating details keep the narrative moving; the book’s latter chapters about the rediscovery of a distant, elderly Japanese cousin and the newly established bond with extended Japanese relatives of Julius’ Japanese wife’s family are particularly memorable.

Whatever its narrative pitfalls, this memoir is an undeniable visual success, exquisitely designed with fascinating photographs, historic documents, maps, handwritten notes and passages, travel stamps, and family crests. The mementos add a vibrant intimacy that overshadows any literary missteps. The family that emerges from these pages, with deep roots in Japan yet constantly in flux between wars, migrations and returns, economic opportunities – not to mention languages and cultures – proves to be a resilient force of inspiration, tenacity, and discovery.

Readers: Adult

Published: 2013

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Filed under ..Adult Readers, .Memoir, .Nonfiction, European, Hapa, Japanese, Japanese American

Line 135 by Germano Zullo, illustrated by Albertine

Line 135Clearly this image is not doing justice to the book’s spirited cover with its bright lime green train and fluorescent orange doors. To appreciate its vibrancy is reason enough to go find the real book! See that jauntily ponytailed, smiling little girl? She’s definitely inviting you to join her whimsical, thoughtful adventure …

“There are two places I belong in the world,” the girl explains – her house in the city and her grandmother’s home in the country. Her mother has helped her board the train to visit her grandmother who lives “practically on the other side of the world.” Savvy traveler that she already is, someday, the little girl is going to go “everywhere” and “know the entire world.” Her mother and grandmother warn that’s “impossible … it’s difficult enough to know yourself.” But the tenacious child rightfully insists, “when I am big, I will make sure that life moves with me.”

Contrary? Courageous? “I will go everywhere,” she asserts. She doesn’t need to wait to be “big” to know her future: “I will go here. I will go there. I will go this way and I will go that way. I will know the entire world.” With youthful exuberance, she affirms, “it is possible.” She’ll make you believe …

Beyond author Germano Zullo’s encouraging, inspiring prose, Line 135 is a visually enchanting delight. The titular ‘line’ travels directly across every page, each double spread enhanced with black-and-white, pen-drawn, exquisitely detailed views of changing landscapes as the technicolor train journeys from city to country. That the ’135′ is made up of three prime numbers in sequence – 1, 3, 5 – seems to be a nod to the indivisible connectedness of family (mother and grandmother literally ground both ends of the line from start to finish) in the midst of going here and there and everywhere.

“When you move between two places, it’s called traveling,” the wise young girl explains, as illustrator Albertine felicitously complies with beckoning scenes of stretched skyscrapers, mod shopping districts, stacked apartments, busy factories, overcrowded superhighways … that soon give way to gracious homes, wildflowered fields, uniquely rotund animals, and a few chimerical places that just might be out of this world. Echoing a child’s endless imagination, words and pictures work intricately together to remind us to never let limits keep us from going forth … onward ho, indeed!

Readers: Children

Published: 2013 (United States)

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Filed under ..Children/Picture Books, .Fiction, .Translation, European

Blue Is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh, translated by Ivanka Hahnenberger

Blue Is the Warmest ColorFrom the very first page, you’ll learn that one lover is dead, while the other survives: “My love, when you read these words I will have left this world.” Emma is in transit to Clementine’s childhood home to retrieve Emma’s diaries: “I asked my mother to leave you what is most precious to me on my desk: my diaries. I want you to be the one to keep them. All of my adolescent memories are in the blue one. … Blue has become the warmest color.”

By the fourth page, we’re back in 1994, when Clementine has just turned 15, and she begins her blue “Dear Diary,” a birthday gift from her grandmother. She’s a junior in high school, in the throes of adolescent discovery; she gets noticed by a charming boy, she dates, she goes out with friends, she tries to fit in. But at night, her dreams are something else, of a stranger she happened to pass in the middle of the street – a young woman with blue hair and just the hint of a smile that was enough to cause Clementine to look back and wonder. And so the slightly older Emma enters her life and their love story unfolds …

First published in 2010 in French by a Belgium publisher, Blue deservedly won various important awards in the international comic industry. Mostly presented in shades of grey, black, and white, creator Julie Maroh makes effective, intimate, haunting use of various degrees of the color blue. Her story about first (and last) love is wrenching – honest and open, revealing and extraordinary; I couldn’t recommend it more … but …

Yes, that but … So Blue arrived on my desk as a children’s book submission [technically, that category ranges from the most basic board books to lengthy novels aimed at savvy high school students]. In speaking with a few colleagues who are librarians, one commented that if Blue were a prose novel, she would have no problems placing it on the shelves in the high school library. But as it is a graphic novel, she knows the title will incite protests from adults – parents, administrators, or both; that said, she’s willing to take the risk.

If the title is at all familiar to you, that could be because the recent film adaptation won the coveted Palme d’Or at the 2013 Festival de Cannes. As of this week, Blue is up for a 2014 Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film, undoubtedly with many other important nominations to follow. The film is playing in theaters across the country right now. Out on celluloid, Blue is rated NC-17.

The bottom line, of course, is that parents will need to decide what they deem to be age-appropriate for their own children. But (that but, again!) just a final thought: while the word ‘graphic’ is especially fitting here in describing the love scenes, I must add, so too, the word ‘love’ deserves significant consideration, as well.

Readers: Young Adult, Adult

Published: 2010, 2013 (United States)

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Filed under ..Adult Readers, ..Young Adult Readers, .Fiction, .Graphic Novel/Manga/Manwha, .Translation, European