Graphic Novel Review: My Beijing
Posted on January 10, 2019 at 4:24 pm by Gene Ambaum
My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder by Nie Jun. Translated by Edward Gauvin. Lerner / Graphic Universe, 2018. 9781541526426. 128pp including sketches in the back.
These amusing stories of Yu’er and her loving grandfather are filled with quiet magic. When she wants to train to swim in the Special Olympics, she’s not allowed in the pool, but her grandfather rigs up a harness and a rope and teaches her to swim in the trees. When neighborhood bullies injur a butterfly, Yu’Er makes a new friend who takes it to Bug Paradise, an empty lot full of flowers and plants where Yu’Er listens to an impromptu natural concert.
I don’t want to be more specific as the way the stories reveal themselves is beautiful. I think I can add that one reminded me of my favorite part of Peter Pan, and two involve a very gentle, dreamlike form of time travel. Nie Jun’s love for Beijing’s hutongs (the narrow lanes and alleys formed by courtyard houses) comes through in the stories and in his colorful, watercolor-style art. This is a beautiful, sweet graphic novel that will make grade school librarians and students very happy.