Sunday, December 6, 2009

For Manga and Comic Lovers!

Can’t get enough Manga or Comics? Then you must read The Name of the Flower by Ken Saito. Chouko Mizushima’s parents died from a car accident during her freshman year of high school. After the death of her parents, Chouko suffered from aphasia and no one could relate to her. She was passed from relative to relative until her father’s cousin, Kei Mizushima took her in.

Kei is a famous writer who won the Naoki Prize and he has many fans. He even has a stalker fan in the novel. At first, Kei was mean to Chouko because he is an introvert, but along the way, he has learned to appreciate her. Through their odd relationship Kei has loosened up and Chouko slowly begins to speak again. Chouko learned to cope with the loss of her parents through tending Kei’s garden. Before there was nothing in the garden, but now there are all sorts of beautiful flowers.

This is just the first book of the four volume series. If you want to find out what happens with Chouko and Kei, you must read on!

If a teacher was to teach this book to students, he/she must first teach the students how to read Manga. The teacher must remind the students to read from right to left, instead of left to right. That was one of the hardest parts of reading this book for me. I kept trying to read the way I usually do. There were also times where the comic parts were jumbled together, so I had a hard time figuring out which lines were meant to be read first. This particular book would be more suitable for junior high and early high school students because it doesn’t have much substance and it is very repetitive. This book could be useful in teaching art classes.

I think this book would be useful for teaching during a unit about other countries, backgrounds, and cultures. There is a lot about the Japanese culture that students could learn about just from reading this book. I know many students are very passionate about Manga now and there are Manga clubs at some schools. This book would definitely appeal to those students. The one thing that confused/bothered me while reading this novel is that Chouko and Kei are developing a romantic relationship. I found that very odd because they are second cousins! I know in other cultures that is not very odd, but that part of the story was very hard for me to get over.


Andra said...

T. Arnold,

I LOVE that this book is written from right to left! I think it is great when teachers introduce students to different styles of writing. It is important for our students to know that books are not just words written together, separated by chapters and then bound. There are lots of ways to express stories!

You mentioned that sometimes it was hard to figure out which part to read next. I found that with American Born Chinese. Even though it was left to right, there were times where I wasn't sure which part came after which part. At times, I was definitely confused!

I also agree that you could use this novel with an art class. Students could learn about Japanese art, read the book outside of class and then create their own Manga book. What a great way to incorporate multiple subjects!


Krystal Tanami said...

I am not a fan of manga the whole right to left things screws me up. That being said this does sound like a good story and I will recommend it to my manga loving niece. Thanks for reviewing it.