Operatic by Kyo Maclear and Byron Eggenschwiler


(I previously posted this on Instagram)

Oh this graphic novel is such a gem. It was a book I randomly pulled off the shelf at the library while grabbing some books for the kids. 

Charlotte “Charlie” Noguchi is one of three Asian girls at her middle school. Her music teacher’s latest assignment is to choose a song for this moment of their life and to write about it. 

Charlie feels a bit lost with this assignment. As she sometimes feels unsure about what she is in school. As she thinks about the music she wants to use for the assignment, she thinks also about Luka, who’s been absent from school after he was bullied for his gender nonconformity. And also about Emile, a boy in class she’s intrigued by. 

Charlie also discovers the music of Maria Callas, an American-born Greek opera singer, who’s one of the most influential opera singers of the 20th century. I’m clueless when it comes to opera so it was interesting to learn about her background. 

This book is about being both part of a community, a group, but also being an individual. It was about being open to new ideas and about accepting others for themselves.

I really appreciate how the color scheme changes when we go to a different character such as when the focus is on Maria Callas, red is used as the main color. It makes it obvious to the reader that oh, this may be a different timeline or a different feature in this book. I say this also because a recent comic I read, ONION SKIN, was confusing because there wasn’t this clear distinction between past and present. And sometimes it meant reading a page, feeling a bit lost, then reading the next page, only to realize that oh it’s a flashback. 

This book was thoughtful and beautiful. And I’m glad it just happened to be on the library shelf that day! 

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