Manga has inspired a generation of young readers in the United States in the last 15 years. Teenage girls especially have flocked to the genre, finding many female characters they can relate to unlike the major comic book publishers. When it comes to book banning however, Manga are the most challenged books in school libraries. including the one I'm reviewing below. enjoy!
"In a timeless village in rural Korea young Ehwa and her widowed mother live quietly together, best friends and confidantes" Kim Dong Hwa
The color of earth is a gorgeously illustrated Black and white Manga. The First in a trilogy of books about the life and loves of a mother in daughter in rural Korea. Manga as well as Comic Books are often an undiscovered country for most readers. The left to right format and translation hurdles often keep people from trying them. What I love most about manga is the variety of themes and genres that fit under the umbrella of the word "manga"
In this first volume we see Ewha on the cusp of womanhood. She is beginning to notice the change in her boy as well as boys. Her mother a widow and tavern owner encounters a travelling artist that stirs her heart. Ewha meanwhile is feeling the first blossoming of love for a young boy working at a local Buddhist temple. This series is in the American format of right to left. There are great scenes that express the landscape and spirituality of the Korean people.Kim Dong Hwa is a master storyteller and artist. He seems to be heavily influenced by the women in his life as well as his own fascination with a woman's heart.:) I would recommend this book for teenagers and adults. there is some nudity but it is handled artistically.
One thing that might be troublesome to readers is the blatant sexually suggestively and sometimes blatant verbal abuse Ehwa's mother endures running the tavern. It doesn't amount to physical abuse but it is a little disturbing,I'm sure modern day waitresses encounter similar exchanges. These scenes are limited though and don't detract from the overall beauty of the series. I'm sure these scenes contribute to the banning the book faces however I think the honest way this book approaches issues of love and sexuality are important lessons for teens and can springboard important discussions.