Who Is Tibet’s Exiled Leader?: The 14th Dalai Lama

Penguin Workshop. (A Who HQ Graphic Novel). Apr. 2023. 64p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780593384602. pap. $7.99. ISBN 9780593384589. .
Gr 3-7–Carefully crafted text and illustrations work together seamlessly in this retelling of the 14th Dalai Lama’s escape into exile. Robeson does a thorough job of recreating the tense atmosphere in Tibet following the invasion of China’s People’s Liberation Army. Important facts such as the Tibetans’ suspicions of the Chinese or the destination of the Dalai Lama’s escape are included in the dialogue between characters rather than in lengthy exposition. Each scene also reveals details of the different groups’ clothing, the architecture, and the landscape along their escape route from Lhasa to Bomdila. The rich colors of the monks’ robes and intricate decorations of the temple complex reveal how cherished the Dalai Lama was by the people of Tibet. Pages are set aside for background information, such as the Seventeen Point Agreement with China or the importance of Tibetan oracles, maintaining the pace of the action while offering support for historical understanding. A conclusion mentions the Tibetan government set up in Dharamsala, but no events more recent than the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Dalia Lama in 1989. Back matter includes a timeline of the 14th Dalia Lama and a bibliography for further reading.
VERDICT A tale of danger and daring escape sure to intrigue middle grade readers while introducing them to an important historical figure.

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