The Color of Earth by Kim, Dong Hwa
New York : First Second, 2009
The Color of Earth is not a book that I would have picked up on my own accord, despite being a graphic novel, a genre that I know and love. However, I'm glad this was included in my readings for my Young Adult Literature class. The artwork is a combination of classical Korean landscapes and modern Japanese anime and is quite lovely, though not a style I generally seek out. The story is of a young girl, Ehwa, living with her widowed mother in timeless rural Korea, and follows her as she begins her journey towards womanhood, discovers love and begins to recognize her mother as an individual with her own wants and needs.
The main focus of this story is the relationship between Ehwa and her mother, and it is a beautiful thing. The story does not shy away from sex and sexuality, but instead addresses it in a very honest, yet, poetic manner. The imagery used is lovely and approachable, and the lack of shame and negative feelings makes me think that this would be an excellent book for young women approaching menarche. I also believe that this is a good book for the parents of young girls to read, as it gives a good example how to approach a young woman's sexuality with grace, not fear.
I give this book four stars only because I probably won't read it again. Though there is little real action the story is engaging (I read it in under 3 hours) and keeps you turning the pages. This book is very much geared toward women and most men, with the possible exception of fathers, will probably find it difficult to relate to the characters. However, it is a fantastic look into the sexual development of young women from a perspective lacking in much of Western literature.
(Originally posted on Scintillating Bibliophile)