EL本棚紹介(67) Superman: Earth One, by Shane Davis

[Welcome to the EL Book Introductions series. These posts are all short (<180 words) introductions/reviews of books in the EL library. They focus on telling you what we think will be interesting for you, a college student and English learner, so use them to help you find the right book for you. You can also use the tags to find books about topics you might be interested in.]

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Everyone knows the name “Superman.” Maybe you have seen a movie or read a comic about him saving Earth. What makes Superman: Earth One special is that it looks at superman as an alien. A lot of people forget that he comes from outer space. In this book, Superman comes in a spaceship and is followed by aliens who attack the earth. Instead of thinking being a story about humans, (in some ways) it is more like a story about aliens.

“Superman” is a classic American superhero comic. The Earth One series uses very modern art and rewrites the classic stories in interesting ways. This book has some difficult “science fiction language” (and real science language), but you can follow the story by looking at the pictures and reading whatever you can understand. Also, there are several “flashbacks” – scenes that go back to Superman’s childhood – and scenes with different groups of characters, so there are good places to take breaks (in other words, good 区切り).

My two cents: I think the art in this kind of comic is interesting. Compare it with Japanese manga and also with the other Superman comics in the English Lounge.

EL本棚紹介(66) Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Volumes 1-3, by Bryan Lee O’Malley

[Welcome to the EL Book Introductions series. These posts are all short (<180 words) introductions/reviews of books in the EL library. They focus on telling you what we think will be interesting for you, a college student and English learner, so use them to help you find the right book for you. You can also use the tags to find books about topics you might be interested in.]

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Scott Pilgrim is a typical young Canadian. Recently graduated from college, he has no goals or ambitions. Instead, he spends his days sleeping late, practicing with his rock band, and dating. Unlike typical young Canadians, however, his life is also somehow like a video game. When he falls in love with a new girl in town, Ramona, he is challenged to fight her seven evil ex-boyfriends. When he defeats them, they leave coins and special items behind, like extra lives, and sometimes he even levels up.

This comic book is extremely popular. It has been made into a video game, card game, and a very successful movie (https://www.imdb.com/video/vi4036739097/?playlistId=tt0446029&ref_=tt_pr_ov_vi). It contains a lot of slang and popular culture, and shows how a lot of young people in Canada like to socialize. You might say, this book is more about capturing a feeling of being young than about telling a detailed story.

My two cents: These comics were written for a very young audience, so I think you can appreciate them a lot more than I did.

 

2022/10/31 Intercultural Halloween Party 国際交流ハロウィンパーティー

Join the English Lounge to practice English with:
– Games and riddles
– Candy
– Spooky videos
– International students
– Wear costumes
(optional)

 

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国際化が進む世界の中で、外国人に日本語を教える「日本語教師」という仕事があるということが、近年社会的にも認知されるようになってきました。私は日本語母語話者の日本語教師として、国内外で10年以上にわたり世界中の日本語学習者に出逢ってきました。今回は私のこれまでの経験から日本語教師の社会的意義や日本の国際化、多文化共生時代において日本語教師が果たす役割についてお話ししたいと思います。

EL本棚紹介(65) Bone, by Jeff Smith

[Welcome to the EL Book Introductions series. These posts are all short (<180 words) introductions/reviews of books in the EL library. They focus on telling you what we think will be interesting for you, a college student and English learner, so use them to help you find the right book for you. You can also use the tags to find books about topics you might be interested in.]

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Bone is an epic adventure in which the three Bone cousins, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone find themselves lost in a mysterious forest valley. The first few episodes are weird and silly: Fone Bone falls in love with a girl called Thorn, and Phoney and Smiley try to cheat the villagers in a cow race. But soon you learn that everything is not all fun and games. There’s something important about the dragon that Fone keeps seeing. Thorn has a secret past. Giant rat creatures have started to attack the village. And an ancient evil is awakening.

This book hits you hard with “next page syndrome”: you think you are finished reading for the day, but you just have to read one more page…then another…then another. You want to know the answer to the mystery. You want to see the conclusion of the adventure. You want to know if they get home safe in the end. You want to know if dragons are really real. Although the whole series is quite long, each episode is short enough to read in one sitting.

My two cents: This book is highly recommended! I have divided it into three volumes to make it easier to borrow.

EL本棚紹介(62) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, by Akira Himekawa

[Welcome to the EL Book Introductions series. These posts are all short (<180 words) introductions/reviews of books in the EL library. They focus on telling you what we think will be interesting for you, a college student and English learner, so use them to help you find the right book for you. You can also use the tags to find books about topics you might be interested in.]

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One of the first video games I remember playing when I was a child was The Legend of Zelda on the NES (American Famicon). When the Nintendo 64 came out, Ocarina of Time was one of my favorite games. This book, originally a Japanese manga, tells the story of Ocarina of Time with a lot of action, humor, and heart. It is not the exact same as the game, but it is pretty close.

The story moves by very quickly, and each chapter is very short. It is very easy to read: the story is simple and the language is not very difficult. However, because this was originally a Japanese manga, the speech bubbles (吹き出し) go from right to left. You will get used to it after reading a few pages. Although there is no deep story or complicated characters, this book is probably fun for anyone who likes light fantasy novels or the Zelda video game series.

My two cents: This book is very “light.” The characters are mostly goofy and fun, so even though there are “serious” parts to the story, it never feels heavy or dark.

EL本棚紹介(64) The Best of Archie Comics, Archie Comic Publications

[Welcome to the EL Book Introductions series. These posts are all short (<180 words) introductions/reviews of books in the EL library. They focus on telling you what we think will be interesting for you, a college student and English learner, so use them to help you find the right book for you. You can also use the tags to find books about topics you might be interested in.]

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There is something special about any popular culture that continues for over 70 years. Archie Comics is one such example, and this book contains some of the most popular stories from between the 1940s to the 2010s. One reason that Archie has survived for so long is because the story is so timeless: most stories center on a group of middle class teenagers having fun and dealing with growing up. Another reason that Archie has survived so long is that the artists keep writing fun stories: sometimes the characters are little children, sometimes they are hunting dinosaurs millions of years ago, sometimes they encounter aliens or superheroes or magic, and sometimes it is a serious drama. Archie Comics also has many spin-off series, like Sabrina the Teenage Witch (about…a teenage witch) and Josie and the Pussycats (about a girl band).

Many of the stories in this collection touch on social issues of their time. In addition, the characters’ personalities, concerns, and even fashion are all connected to the years the stories were written. Of course, the art style has also evolved over the years with different artists and writers. Finally, this book is divided into decades, and the short introductions do a really good job of explaining American culture at that time in history.

My two cents: This is a good book to flip to a random page and start reading. Maybe find a decade you are interested in and start reading there.

EL本棚紹介(63) No One is Too Small to make a Difference, by Greta Thunberg

[Welcome to the EL Book Introductions series. These posts are all short (<180 words) introductions/reviews of books in the EL library. They focus on telling you what we think will be interesting for you, a college student and English learner, so use them to help you find the right book for you. You can also use the tags to find books about topics you might be interested in.]

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Greta Thunberg is a climate activist—she tries to get people to fight climate change. She began by protesting when she was just a teenager. She protested by refusing to go to school and protesting directly to her country’s government. Many other children joined her, and she became internationally-famous for her fight.

This book is a collection of speeches Greta has given to politicians, business leaders, and other high-profile groups. It is a little book, and each speech is very short. She writes in very short, simple sentences, so it is easy to read. She also uses simple metaphors to emphasize her point. For that reason, this book may be good for lower-level English readers. On the other hand, advanced learners can learn about the rhetorical style of activism from it.

My two cents: Because each speech repeats the same topic, I recommend reading just one or two instead of the whole book.

EL本棚紹介(61) Stardust, by Neil Gaiman

[Welcome to the EL Book Introductions series. These posts are all short (<180 words) introductions/reviews of books in the EL library. They focus on telling you what we think will be interesting for you, a college student and English learner, so use them to help you find the right book for you. You can also use the tags to find books about topics you might be interested in.]

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Neil Gaiman, author of Stardust, Coraline, and Dream Hunters (all on the English Lounge bookshelf), is one of the most celebrated fantasy writers in the world today. This book, like Coraline, is very much a fairy tale. There are witches, a unicorn, magic, flying through the sky, goblins, etc. But it is also creative, charming, and quite unique.

Stardust is the story of a Star who has fallen from the sky in a fantasy world. The Star is being chased by several princes (who need her to become king), some witches (who want to eat her heart), and a young man from England (who promised to bring a fallen star to a girl he is in love with). There are many surprises and twists and turns in the story, which keeps it interesting. The language is also not especially difficult.

Stardust was also made into a movie. You can see the trailer here: https://www.imdb.com/video/vi4018471193/?playlistId=tt0486655&ref_=tt_pr_ov_vi

My two cents: The movie and the book are quite different. You can learn about Hollywood values by seeing what was changed…but for English practice, I recommend watching the movie first and reading the book second.

EL本棚紹介(60) Zits: Screentime, by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman

[Welcome to the EL Book Introductions series. These posts are all short (<180 words) introductions/reviews of books in the EL library. They focus on telling you what we think will be interesting for you, a college student and English learner, so use them to help you find the right book for you. You can also use the tags to find books about topics you might be interested in.]

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This is a comic about being a typical teenage boy in the US. Many of the jokes connect with stereotypes about teenage life. For example, the main character Jeremy sleeps late, hates school, eats a huge amount of food, thinks his parents are really boring, likes cool cars, is obsessed with his girlfriend, and has really big feet. Maybe you can relate to some of these stereotypes? Maybe they seem weird or surprising to you?

Zits, like Pearls Before Swine, is a comic that has been running in newspapers for a long time—since 1997, in fact. Unlike the Pearls volume in the English Lounge, this book of Zits is very recent, from 2020. Where Pearls’ humor is often dark and mean, Zits is light-hearted and kind. Where the former is notorious (famous, in a bad way) for its simple, ugly art style, the latter has gorgeous and complicated pictures inspired in part by Calvin and Hobbes (also in the English Lounge). These two books are interesting to compare.

My two cents: You might be surprised to see one or two political strips in this book. Even though comics are fun for both children and adults in the US, the artists sometimes include serious messages, too.