Emma, a graphic novel, by Kaoru Mori

As I thumbed through the shelf of graphic novels at my local library, they mostly seemed to be about super heroes or fighting. Then I found Emma. Kaoru Mori, the author, is fascinated by Victorian England. She went to great trouble to try to be historically accurate in her drawings of the scenes, even though the language is not too accurate perhaps. This was the first book I have read in the Japanese style, which seems backwards to an American. (Flip the book over, and read from the “back forward.”

In contrast to american comic books, there are more panels where a pause is indicated with no dialog. It seems to be a convention to show what looks like a tear or maybe bead of perspiration on the character’s face when he or she is feeling strong emotions. I am used to seeing tweens drawing in this style with the really big eyes. I have always wondered why Japanese authors find this style of the rounded eyes so intriguing and attractive. Why don’t they make their characters look more Japanese? I also liked that the author brings more emotion into her book. American comic books like the Spider Man I read recently seem to voice some emotions, such as when Peter’s uncle is killed, but one doesn’t seem to feel them as much or care as much as in Mori’s book.

This is the first volume and the story left me wanting to read Volume 2 to see what happens to Emma and the “young master.” With it being a graphic novel, I read it in a couple hours. It seems like a good way to get young people reading who might not read that much as a rule.

ISBN 1-4012-1132-1, 183 pages.


About KLevenson

I am Teacher Librarian at Piedmont High School in the San Francisco East Bay. I am a part time reference Librarian I for the San Francisco Public Library. I have a Masters in Library and Information Sciences from San Jose State and a Teacher Librarian credential in addition to my teaching credential in Science. My first MA was from Harvard in Archaeology. My students teach me something new every time I am with them!
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