Thursday, July 11, 2013

Take What You Can Carry by Kevin C. Pyle

Graphic novelist Kevin Pyle follows the lives of two teenage boys in Take What You Can Carry. Alternating between suburban Chicago in 1978 and the internment of Japanese American citizens in 1942-1944, the storylines eventually intersect.

The two time periods are visually distinct. The WWII-era scenes have a Zen wordlessness. They are sepia-toned and the brush strokes are washed in an Oriental style. Pyle's ink lines are crisp in the blue-toned panels set in Chicago. The font used for the text has the appearance of neat hand-lettering.

I love how perfectly the title suits the story. The Japanese families are forced to leave their homes with only small bags of their things. In Chicago, Kyle shoplifts for kicks, taking things he doesn't even want. The concluding message is that we all carry the consequences of our actions, and that forgiveness is not only possible, but crucial.

A quiet and moving graphic novel suitable for Grade 7 - adult.

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