Panel To Panel: Yuzu the Pet Vet by Mingo Ito
Between two libraries, I have two graphic novel book clubs but Panel to Panel at Highland Park Public Library is entirely my brainchild. I knew I wanted this book club to be a little different from the one I co-facilitate at my other library. For one thing, I wanted the age range to include kids who were slightly older and who could appreciate and understand a range of more mature discussion topics. I also wanted to include a more playful element — something that would go beyond the books to break the ice between kids of all ages, like a game or craft. I also make sure, as extra incentive to join the group, the kids all a receive a copy of our monthly book choice to keep and add to their home libraries. We are incredibly lucky to have a generous budget that allows us to do this.
I have noticed, when seeking ideas for activities and discussion questions online, there is a lack of sharing materials between librarians who run book clubs for kids. Noting this, I thought it would be nice to start including what has worked for Panel to Panel so that other youth services librarians could use these resources to launch their own graphic novel book clubs.
As I mentioned previously, the other graphic novel book club I facilitate is for a younger set — kids in 3rd through 5th grade. Panel to Panel, in contrast, is for those in 4th through 7th grade. For August, our book selection is the manga series starter Yuzu The Pet Vet by Mingo Ito. It’s our first ever manga read in the book club (and one of only a handful of manga books I have read in my life!) and centers around an eleven-year-old girl named Yuzu who has to go live with her veterinarian uncle when her mother is hospitalized for a mysterious illness. Besides dealing with her mother’s absence, Yuzu also has to deal with her own fear of animals now that she is helping out around her uncle’s vet clinic. The book’s pages are all in black and white but still have plenty of whimsy, despite sometimes sad subject matter. As is typical of manga, the book is read right to left. Here are the discussion questions I will be using for the Yuzu discussion (along with a brief description of what manga is for the uninitiated).
For this book, I decided we would do an animal origami bookmark craft that I adapted from this one. Since this is the August book club pick, I still have a while to practice and make a few on my own so that I can show our young participants how to fold them, in case they do need guidance. When I make a few, I will be sure to post pictures.