The Color of Earth (by Kim Dong Hwa) c.2009

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[Teen Fiction]

This English-translated graphic novel presents a serene and spiritual view of the life of young Ehwa. Over the course of three novels, Ehwa grows from a small child to an adult woman in early 20th century Korea. The first book focuses on her childhood, her development, and her relationship with her mother. On a side note, the story of Ehwa is based on the life of the author’s mother growing up in Korea.

Ehwa is a well-developed character, and readers will appreciate her innocence and confusion at many things that are widely-known and taught nowadays. Perhaps the most endearing aspect of the novel is Ehwa’s relationship with her mother, a widow. Her mother guides her and helps her when she has trouble or confusion.

The book is beautifully illustrated, with many panels having a softness often lost in graphic novels. The balance between the story and the illustrations is skillfully done.

All in all, this graphic novel provides an interesting perspective of a lost time. Readers that enjoy this book should read the sequels, The Color of Water and The Color of Heaven. Also, try American Born Chinese and Maus: A Survivor’s Tale.

For something different, try:

Feed by M.T. Anderson

Review by Carlen


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