Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

April 11, 2012

First Second’s Kim Dong Hwa Books On Challenged List

imageBrigid Alverson caught that First Second's English-language translation of Kim Dong Hwa Color Of Earth series, which they released as The Color Of Earth, The Color Of Water and The Color Of Heaven, has ended up the only graphic novel on this year's most challenged list released by the ALA. (They are also known collectively as The Color Trilogy.)

These are coming of age stories set in rural Korea during the 19th Century. They certainly contain an element of sexuality in their depiction of the young protagonist's relationship with her changing body, various people her own age experiencing same and, via observation and I believe very occasional conversation, her mother. I can actually imagine it being disconcerting for some folks to encounter that element of these books for their frequency, potency and the relative, slightly ridiculous absence of similar material in a lot of books aimed at depicting an adolescent's experiences. That said, there's nothing salacious to them the way that most rational folks think of that term and it's hard for me to imagine a young person with an interest in reading these rather stately books that couldn't handle a discussion of the ideas presented within them, and how they're presented. That there's an expectation people bring to encountering books that might lead them to challenge something, just to use that framework for engaging material, seems sad to me.
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