Hana-chan and the Shape of the World

Yen. Apr. 2021. 192p. pap. $15. ISBN 9781975319861.
Gr 4 Up–Our titular character Hana spends her days in her rural hometown, alongside both her classmates and her imagination. Each chapter offers readers a different glimpse into Hana’s daily happenings, from walking outside amidst a dangerous typhoon; visiting the mansion of someone her and her friends refer to as a cat widow; and a number of overly intense, yet therapeutic, ping pong games. The artwork, while not spectacular, is indeed serviceable, making this a good standalone effort to introduce elementary school students to the world of manga. The story moves at a leisurely pace (appropriate for a countryside story!) and is a story that doesn’t sugarcoat the real world. While some days are cheery and lively, others may be more dour and humdrum. And although the book’s chapters don’t connect enough to give readers an overarching story line, the mangaka is able to get his point across. At the heart of this rational and realistic manga is that whatever the shape of the world may be, it’s going to continue spinning no matter what.
VERDICT A tremendous work of fiction that will both entertain and teach young readers everywhere. Absolutely recommend for those looking to build a manga collection for elementary schoolers!

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