Monday, January 10, 2011
BioGraphic Novel Series: The 14th Dalai Lama by Tetsu Saiwai
"Children are our most precious treasure. If well-informed and educated, they can preserve Tibetan culture and further develop it for a hopeful future."
The 14th Dalai Lama is exactly the type of book which inspired me to specialize, as a librarian, in literature for young people, and the type of book which continues to keep me inspired in this field. Who could not be thrilled with the opportunity to introduce the world's future generations to such a visionary world figure, presented in such an artistic and engaging manner?
The 14th Dalai Lama is a product of an independent Japanese manga studio called Emotional Content, which is producing a series of high-quality manga biographies about people the founder considers to be the true superheros of our world, people such as Ghandi, Mother Teresa, and Che Guevara. Emotional Content's founder, Eiji Han Shimizu, believes that "we can learn the value of compassion, history and philosophy through manga", and considers Emotional Content's manga biographies to be one of Japan's contributions to global political and philosophical discourse.
This book focuses on the Dalai Lama's early years, from his early childhood until his mid-twenties. These were the primary years of his training in the philosophies of Tibetan Buddhism, and were also the years of China's invasion of Tibet, with all of its attendant political ramifications. We see the beginning of the Dalai Lama's steadfast maintenance of a philosophy of non-violence, even under extreme political duress. We also see the passionate love for his country and culture that he has also maintained, even in exile. This extraordinary childhood and young adulthood is shown vividly and dramatically, and is sure to fascinate young readers interested in peace, spirituality, world politics, or the lives of great men.