March 20, 2018

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Buddha: An Enlightened Life by Kieron Moore | SLJ Review

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redstarMOORE, Kieron. Buddha: An Enlightened Life. illus. by Rajesh Nagulakonda. 160p. Campfire. Jul. 2017. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9789381182291.

Gr 8 Up –This phantasmagoric and dreamy graphic novel follows the life of Siddhartha Gautama and the spread of Buddhism, from the ancient city of Kapilavastu to all over the world. As the powerful rulers King Suddhodana and Queen Maya welcome a son into the world, the wisest elder predicts he will be one of two things: a mighty king or a great spiritual leader. Determined that his son become a Chakravarti, a “King of Kings,” Suddhodana ruthlessly shelters Siddhartha from the outside world, and the boy grows up with no concept of sickness or poverty. Eventually Siddhartha learns the truth and leaves a world of luxury in pursuit of enlightenment. By the end of his life, he has transformed the lives of thousands and amassed followers who are destined to carry his message throughout history. The linear narrative is easy to follow, simplifying complex religious and philosophical concepts. The exquisite art complements this otherworldly tale. Nagulakonda’s intricate linework and masterly use of color are delightful. VERDICT A unique origin story of Buddhism and its creator. Highly recommended for any graphic novel collection and for those interested in spirituality or history.–Michael Marie Jacobs, Darlington School, GA

This review was published in the School Library Journal August 2017 issue.

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