Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

Knopf/Pantheon. Jun. 2004. 160p. pap. $16. ISBN 9780375714573.
Gr 8 Up–Through eye-catching, comic book–style illustrations, this gripping memoir gives readers a primary source of perspective for what life was like for Satrapi while she was coming of age in Tehran, amid a time of political upheaval in the 1970s and ‘80s. Readers will empathize with Satrapi’s struggles to understand the political climate and the impact it has on her friends and family. Meant to represent Iran in an age of growing Islamophobia, Persepolis can be used to facilitate cross-cultural dialogue in classrooms that would otherwise not be given windows into the lives of adolescents such as Satrapi. Although it contains instances of graphic language, depiction of violence, and sexual content, it is powerful literature that explores themes of personal identity, censorship, cultural diversity, war, and revolution.
VERDICT Fans of graphic memoirs, such as Art Spiegelman’s Maus, will readily devour this. A first purchase for young adult collections.

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